The highs and lows of hydrogen and fuel cell stocks in recent weeks can be best described as a bumpy ride following a significant and rapid increase in prices. It seems to me that the market has entered a major consolidation phase. Yet this is no reason to lose faith, especially as the wild fluctuations that have been raging since early December 2020 – with some stocks climbing more than 50 percent inside a month – begged a correction. A process which is now in full swing. At the end of the day, it’s the future of the industry that counts and so here I stand by the old stock market maxim: The trend is your friend.
There has been a stark rise in the valuation of the business from around USD 100 million to now over USD 9 billion, with the stock price increasing from USD 1 – USD 2 to USD 29. I would go so far as to call it totally excessive. I got early wind of FuelCell Energy [Nasdaq: FCEL] as a turnaround after a management consultancy had “cleaned it up” and after the company had undergone a period of refinancing and restructuring and happily onboarded Orion Energy Partners as a key investor.
There are two sides to every story. And that’s very much the case with the planned cooperation with General Motors, GM, and the cancellation of 2,500 battery electric refuse trucks for Republic Services which turned out to be rather fortuitous in retrospect. In the GM scenario, Nikola would itself have had to spend over USD 700 million on tools, among other things. The participation of GM with USD 2 billion as a “valuable consideration” would have resulted in a dilution of the number of issued stocks.
Plug Power [Nasdaq: PLUG] has undergone one financing round after another, with a third bought deal sandwiched in between, this time to the tune of more than USD 1.7 billion. What’s more, the South Korean SK Group has promised to put up USD 1.6 billion in return for a 9.9 percent ownership stake in the company, an investment that will also form a basis for a joint venture between the two corporations. And if that’s not enough, Plug, which is headquartered in the U.S., intends to fit out delivery vehicles for France’s Renault Group. Plus, the company has been busy buying in top talent for its management team. That’s the good news.
That was fast. First, Plug Power [Nasdaq: PLUG] raises around USD 840 million issuing new shares at USD 22.25 apiece. A felt five minutes later, the company is offered a USD 1 billion bought deal, perfectly exploiting the stock surge to collect massive capital. Plug must now have over USD 1.7 billion in the bank, thanks to the company’s growth prospects targeting hydrogen.
FuelCell Energy’s quarterly results weren’t the reason for the year-end price surge from around USD 2 to over USD 11. At times, more than 200 million trades were concluded in one day, which exceeds the total shares outstanding. I believe we’re witnessing the impact of high-frequency or day trades or swarm-like investor activity via, e.g., Robinhood. Right before the rally, Heights Capital Management reported the purchase of 19 million FuelCell shares, giving the private equity firm a 6.7 percent stake in the fuel cell business.
As third-quarter results faded in the rear-view mirror, Bloom Energy stock rebounded with a vengeance following a temporary slump. Natural disasters, including storms and floods, prevented the completion of 41 projects, pushing revenue below the anticipated USD 225 million to USD 200 million, And yet, the company’s USD 12 million in the red means Bloom [NYSE: BE] performed much better than expected. The net loss was “only” USD 0.09 per share instead of USD 0.16 and including non-recurring revenues, that loss shrank to as little as USD 0.04 a share.
Canadian producer Hydrogenics (Nasdqaq: HYGS) and British manufacturer ITM Power (London: ITM) aren’t entirely comparable, but they use similar technologies. There are some commonalities in the form of power-to-gas projects, hydrogen stations and powerful electrolyzers to generate the gas. Their market caps aren’t as far apart as I would expect based on the number and contract value of bookings. Both stocks have experienced severe price drops.
At first glance, the figures from some of the North American fuel cell companies by the end of March 2015 have proved to be disappointing. The reason that Ballard Power, Hydrogenics and Plug Power have come up with figures which failed to correspond to expectations are the high quarterly variations in relation to the accounting of orders which are complete as well as ones which are still being processed and settled. On the second glance