You could hardly get on board the Plug Power (PLUG) ride in 2020. The stock zoomed ahead at a fast pace as investors’ thirst for new energy plays knew no bounds. 2021 has proven to be an all together different beast. But while many growth stocks have suffered, often due to more broader macro elements rather than company specifics, the same cannot be said of PLUG.
The shares have come under additional pressure after an audit found non-cash related errors while the company was getting its 10-K filing ready. As a result, it will need to refile its fiscal 2018–2019 financial results alongside several recent quarterly statements.
The saga is about to come to an end. On Monday, PLUG indicated its restatement would be done in the next week. At the same time, the company provided a business update.
PLUG expects 1Q21 gross billings to be over $70 million and net revenue higher than $67 million, compared to the Street’s call for $76.8 million and $74.8 million, respectively. Gross billings and net revenues for 2Q21 are also expected to come in lower than the consensus estimates of $106.4 million and $102.5 million – at over $105 million and more than $102 million, respectively.
The “weaker-than-expected” 1Q21 targets are a non-issue to Evercore analyst James West, who says he is not valuing PLUG on 1Q21 anyway. Of more importance to the analyst is the clarity around the 10-K filing.
“This update certainly helps to dissipate the shroud of uncertainty hanging over PLUG shares since it announced it would restate its previously issued financial statements this past March,” West said. “It is not a panacea but we believe it is incrementally positive news, which comes on the heels of a bruising sell off for clean energy sector equities.”
West rates PLUG shares an Outperform (i.e. Buy) and has a $42 price target for the shares. Investors could be sitting on gains of 109%, should West’ forecast play out over the coming months. (To watch West’s track record, click here)
The hydrogen fuel-cell specialist also gets full support from Oppenheimer’s Colin Rusch. The 5-star analyst notes that the company remains on track to deliver to Chart Industrial two 15T/day liquefaction plants by the end of 2022 and thinks the company is poised to benefit from the changing energy landscape.
“Despite logistics and supply chain headwinds, PLUG is navigating the details of its revenue ramp well and positioning itself to be the global leader in green hydrogen production,” Rusch noted. “We are encouraged that its fuel cell and hydrogen capacity expansions are on track, and we believe demand remains strong supported by commitments by ~1900 companies with ~$25T in market cap to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 in additional to government’s support.”
Rusch’s price target is even more optimistic that West’s – at $62, the figure is set to provide one-year upside of 209%. Needless to say, Rusch’s rating stays an Outperform. (To watch Rusch’s track record, click here)
According to the rest of the Street, the severe drawdown in PLUG shares represents opportunity. The $52.79 average price target could yield returns of 163% in the year ahead. All in all, the analyst consensus rates the stock a Moderate Buy based on 9 Buys, 5 Holds and 1 Sell. (See PLUG stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.