Thought I'd give you all a quick update from what I saw at the annual meeting. The CEO, Doug Milner, ran through the annual meeting business quickly, and then gave a presentation on the results for 2012 and the plan going forward. It was all pretty standard stuff, along the lines of what we've heard on the conference calls. A few of us shareholders were there (it was mostly Active Power officers and Board members along with some legal types), and we asked a few questions at the end. Most interesting to me was the progress on the new higher capacity 750 kVA products. They are getting a lot of quotes on these now, and due to their higher power density (3 times the previous products), these are very cost effective for the large data centers, who have always worked in 750 kVA building blocks anyway.
They have established a distributor relationship with China's largest supplier of (and contractor as well I think) for data center power solutions. They said this distributor already has all the relationships in place with the large companies building data centers and is the leader in the market. If this new distributor is really serious about using Active Power's products, I would expect we should see serious results in the next few to several quarters.
Most interesting to me was what I saw coming in to the parking lot. Active Power has one building in a complex of several buildings in an industrial park in Austin. In the past, there were plenty of parking spaces, but this time, I had to go all the way to the back and park somewhat illegally as the entire lot was packed! Not only that, away from Active Power's building and closer to another building were more than a dozen very large, shipping container-sized units, in various states of completion. Some were obviously complete and awaiting shipping to a customer, while others were just the shell or looked to be huge fan units for air conditioning units. Running out of allowable characters...more in reply
Closer to the building, employees were working on 3 containers. All of these are obviously for their Powerhouse products or infrastructure products (which include more than just their equipment, but also A/C units or even racks for data center computers).
The area they were working in was at the end of the building, that they had previously sublet out to another company, but had recently taken back and were using as factory space. They also had a funky looking crane (for lack of a better word) that used to be used for moving boats, but is now used for moving these containerized solutions (which are about the size of an 18-wheeler trailer) around. One of the engineers there got trained on driving this thing and now they don't have to rent a crane every time they need to move them around.
Bottom line: they looked very busy, and combined with their enthusiasm for their new product in large data center applications, I decided to continue holding on to the shares I have left.
Neil, thanks for posting. I remember you from way back. I was at the meeting a year ago and saw you but we did not speak. I couldn't attend, so thanks for the observations. Investors need to remember that there is a real story here, with a really great product and a complete company from creation to sales to service in a very important and growing area. We are all waiting to see if the company can make it's operations financially viable. Also worried about the Chinese business intentions, but it would be a drop in the bucket for them to buy out the company, and own all the rights associated with it.
Thanks for the update. I was there almost exactly a year ago on a day I wanted to get out of the city. At that time production was rather well below capacity but they seemed enthusiastic about the bigger wheel because it took relatively little more space for the increased capacity. That project has come through just about on the schedule they told me. (I've been holding because of it.) If the big wheel goes, we could see this thing turn around. I still think that Chinese company is going to eat us.