After adding about 25% to its share price over the past five trading days, Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) pulled the plug on its rising stock price by announcing a secondary offering of 38 million shares priced at $22.25 per share after markets closed Monday. The price reflected a 9% discount to Monday’s closing price of $25.00.
In February, Plug Power’s share price rose above $5.00 a share for the first time in more than five years. The company had just acquired two smaller firms in the hydrogen energy sector and investors liked what they heard. Since the beginning of the year, Plug Power’s stock was up nearly 700% as of Monday’s close.
When the company reported third-quarter earnings on November 9, gross billings had doubled year over year to $125.6 million, their highest level in the firm’s 22-year history. Sequentially, gross billings increased by nearly 74%. Plug Power deployed 4,100 of its hydrogen fuel cell systems during the third quarter, another record high and an increase of 130% year over year.
About the only surprise in Plug Power’s secondary offering is that it took so long to occur. The company’s share price had doubled by late June and had tripled just a week later. By early August shares had quadrupled, and by early October were up by a factor of more than five.
Plug Power has big plans. By the middle of next year, the company plans to be operating a 1.5-gigawatt capacity plant to produce its fuel cells. It recently hired a managing director in Europe where hydrogen fuel cell technology is expected to command €65 billion in new investment by 2030.
Perhaps the company is just cautious. In its guidance for 2020, it raised its gross billing forecast from $310 million to a new range of $325 million to $330 million. The company expects annual gross billings to reach $450 million next year.
The company’s adjusted EBITDA margin in the third quarter was 19%, just shy of the forecast calling for a margin of 20% in 2024. And the annualized rate of new deployments based on third-quarter results represents nearly 65% of the company’s forecast for new deployments in 2024.
Plug Power’s challenge is making all this happen with as few hiccups as possible. The kind of growth the company is experiencing is based largely on expected rising demand for clean energy over the next decade or more. If Plug Power can demonstrate in the next year or two that it can keep up, the sky may be the limit.
Tuesday morning, Plug Power shares traded down about 8% to $23.02, after posting a new 52-week high of $25.49 on Monday. The stock’s 52-week low is $2.53, and the price target is $22.56.
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