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Plug Power gains momentum
Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 ( #681 ) - Latham, NY, United States
News Story
GenDrive fuel cell technology
Energy solutions specialist Plug Power Inc shipped 687 GenDrive fuel cell units during the second quarter ended 30 June, a significant rise on the 246 delivered the same time last year.

"We had a record USD17.3 million in (sales) revenue in the second quarter," reports Andrew Marsh, president and chief executive officer. "This is a threefold increase (on) the first quarter of 2014. Plug Power recorded a positive 17% gross margin for our GenDrive units. This is a result of scale production of our business."

Customers receiving recent shipments include retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc of Bentonville, Arkansas; consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble Co of Cincinnati, Ohio; and co-operative Central Grocers Inc of Joliet, Illinois.

Under an extensive February agreement with Wal-Mart, Plug Power installed its first complete GenKey site at a distribution centre in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and began working to deploy a system in Johnstown, New York. Another GenKey installation is slated for a Wal-Mart centre in Sterling, Illinois. A GenKey package includes GenDrive fuel cells, six years of GenCare service and GenFuel hydrogen fueling infrastructure for materials handling applications.

In Europe, Plug Power is beginning to ramp up its sales force in anticipation of accelerated growth.

The US was the physical location of all Plug Power sales during 2013, 2012 and 2011.

"The European market opportunity is larger than that seen in the US, and we're focused on rapidly building our market position there," Marsh says.

"In Asia, we're continuing to partner with Hyundai Hysco" of Ulsan, South Korea. The initial focus involves commercial sales in high labour cost countries such as South Korea with another goal to study the market in China.

Plug Power and Hyundai Hysco have a working relationship, although it is unlikely to become a formal joint venture soon. "We believe that they'll develop into one in the future," he notes. "Both companies remain committed to being successful in the Asian market together." In April, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint venture that would develop, manufacture and sell hydrogen fuel throughout Asia using Hyundai’s advanced stack plate technology.

Referring to power failures that occurred with some older liquid-cooled GenDrive units, Marsh says Plug Power and its supplier share in the blame.

Newer low-power GenDrive units for Class 3 equipment use an air-cooled stack which " have worked so much better than the older units", Marsh says.

Publicly traded Latham-based Plug Power reports profit of USD3.8 million on the quarter’s sales of USD17.3 million versus the 2013 period’s loss of USD9.3 million on sales of USD7.5 million. The bottom-line disparity for the 2014 second quarter included USD9.6 million of non-operating income related to the change in fair value of common stock warrants and USD1 million in non-cash income related to negative goodwill from the relevant acquisition. Excluding these items, the adjusted net loss for the 2014 second quarter was USD5.8 million.

As of 30 June, Plug Power had a backlog of 2,659 unit orders with a projected value of USD36.6 million.

On 2 April, Plug Power acquired the assets of ReliOn Inc of Spokane, Washington, a developer of stationary back-up hydrogen fuel cell stack technology and fuel cell systems, for approximately USD4 million in Plug Power common stock. Plug Power plans to integrate ReliOn technology and products into several models of its GenDrive fuel cell systems.
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