At the dawn of the new millennium, the shares of fuel cell companies had gone through the roof. Fuel cells were thought of as the next big breakthrough technology, and it seemed as if large, new growth markets were just waiting to be exploited. But shareholders were mistaken, celebrating too early. The industry’s leading businesses stumbled over the immense cost to develop and introduce new technologies. Likewise, a lot of them were spread too thin, trying to serve too many markets with too many products at once. Instead of concentrating research on a few promising segments, some allocated resources to several – regardless of their potential.
As the then market leader, Ballard Power (Nasdaq: BLDP) determined soon after taking up its fuel cell activities that there was no way it could compete in the transportation sector. The upfront investment that such a move required was just too great. A decision was made to outsource these activities to AFCC, a Daimler-Ford joint venture
FuelCell Energy’s shares have experienced a sharp drop for seemingly no reason. It may have been a tactic intended to push down the price, for example, to profit via short sale in anticipation of the fall and convert warrants later. That is pure speculation, of course, but people say these things have happened before. In any case, the most recent investment decisions seem to be an unmistakable sign that institutional investors believe in the company’s prospects and its technology.
Plug Power’s third-quarter results proved disappointing. The company said that the figures didn’t have any influence on its great prospects, considering a customer base which includes corporations as large as Walmart and Amazon. Their bookings are expected to top USD 600 million in the coming years. During the reporting period, Plug delivered 2,753 GenDrive systems for forklift retrofits, which generated USD 61.4 million in revenue. Current production capacity is at 15,000 systems per year, with 95 percent of them manufactured in-house. Ballard’s contribution has been reduced to a minimum.
The dust has settled on a rally to the top and a share price that nearly tripled temporarily. Stock market experts like to call it chart consolidation and profit taking. ITM (London: ITM) was successful in raising EUR 120 million in fresh capital. Now, the British manufacturer’s market capitalization is above long-term expectations despite its bright outlook. I think investors should put this one on the watchlist, but look for other, more promising options in the meantime.
Tesla’s third-quarter figures didn’t merely point to poor performance – the USD 671 million loss in particular was way more than anything most analysts had predicted. Based on non-GAAP accounting, including adjustments, shares lost USD 2.92 each. GAAP, which has the more relevant figures in my opinion, showed minus USD 3.70 per share at a revenue of USD 2.98 billion, which includes SolarCity’s.
Last November, H-Tec Education, based in Lübeck, Germany, was put under new management. Parent company GP Joule elevated Thorsten Schmidt to head of the teaching materials division. Åke Johnsen, who had worked for H-Tec’s marketing department since 2001 before becoming part of the board in 2016 after the exit of company founder Uwe Küter, left the subsidiary to join its parent company, where he could lead the hydrogen business at both GP Joule and H-Tec to new levels of success.
Proponents of hydrogen and fuel cell solutions had something to look forward to at COP23, the 23rd UN climate conference, which took place in Bonn, Germany, Nov. 6 through 17 last year. Until the beginning of December, the Deutsches Museum featured a special exhibition on “Hydrogen – The unlimited energy source,” supported by the Hydrogeit Verlag publishing house. Additionally, some of the buses transporting attendees around the grounds during the summit were CleanShuttle battery, hydrogen and hybrid versions from all over Germany.
On Sept. 1, 2017, Jörg Nikutta became responsible for Alstom’s operations in Austria and Germany. The same day, he was also appointed spokesman for the board of management at Alstom Transport Deutschland. Nikutta used to work at Deutsche Bahn and now follows in the footsteps of Didier Pfleger, who has since been in charge of Alstom’s Middle East business.
Last November, Thomas Melczer and Achim Loecher were appointed CEOs at newly founded FCP – Fuel Cell Powertrain, a joint venture between Melczer’s PTT Power Train Technology based in the German state of Saxony and Dewei Group Holdings from Beijing. They share the role with Professor Thomas von Unwerth, director of the Advanced Powertrains department at Chemnitz University of Technology, which works in close partnership with FCP.