Plug Power Squeezes Even More Out of Walmart

24/7 Wall St.

The roller coaster ride also known as Plug Power Inc. (PLUG) got another lift Tuesday following the company's announcement that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) has added 286 fuel-cell powered units to the 1,783 in the company's original purchase order placed in February. Walmart has added a seventh location to the six in the original contract.

Plug Power said it deployed nearly 300 of its GenKey-powered forklifts in Walmart's Pottsville, Pa., distribution center in the second quarter, the first of the six sites to receive the units.

Plug Power's stock is up nearly 140% since the beginning of the year and more than 1,300% in the past 12 months. Another fuel-cell maker, FuelCell Energy Inc. (FCEL) is up about 65% year-to-date and 95% in the past 12 months. FuelCell Energy said Monday that it will install a fuel cell power plant to generate 2.8 megawatts of electricity in New Haven, Conn., for a subsidiary of UIL Holdings Corp. (UIL). The unit will supply electricity to a substation owned by the UIL subsidiary that will then be distributed to customers. A second 2.8 megawatt unit will also be installed in Bridgeport.

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The consensus second-quarter revenue estimate for Plug Power is $73.8 million, and analysts expect an earnings per share loss of $0.04, a third less than its $0.06 per share loss in the first quarter. The company also issued 22.6 million new shares of stock in April, which will make the quarterly loss look a little better than it probably is. Shares have had a tough time staying above that $5.50 per share secondary offering price ever since it was made, and the price has never again touched $6.00.

The addition of another site to the Walmart purchase order could be enough to push Plug Power to a breakeven third quarter, given that the consensus estimate for the quarter calls for a loss of just one cent. Who knows how the share price will react to that.

Plug Power's stock traded up 5.25% in the early afternoon at $5.81 on heavy volume. The stock's 52-week range is $0.36 to $11.72.

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