Plug Power reports increased revenue for ’07

Hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power had increased year-over-year fourth quarter revenues and

Hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power had increased year-over-year fourth quarter revenues and year-ending revenues in 2007 but also posted greater net losses, according to regulatory documents filed this week.

Plug Power had $5.1 million in revenues in the fourth quarter, up from just $1 million in fourth quarter 2006. For all of 2007, Plug Power posted a total of $16.3 million in revenues, up from $7.8 million in 2006. Company officials credited the revenue increases in part to increasing sales of Plug Power’s GenCore and GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Fuel cells produce electricity with only water vapor as a by-product. Plug Power markets its GenCore system as a reliable backup power supply system for the telecommunications industry and is marketing its GenDrive system as a replacement power supply for lithium ion batteries used to power electric lift trucks used in warehouses.

Even with increasing sales, Plug Power fell short of its goal of installing 400 GenCore systems in 2007. Plug Power installed 51 GenCores in the fourth quarter of 2007 and 208 for the year. Total shipments of Plug Power products totaled 235 units for 2007, up from 152 shipments in 2006.

Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $17.5 million, compared with $13.3 million a year earlier. For the full year, Plug Power’s net loss was $60.6 million, up from $50.3 million in 2006.

Plug Power President and Chief Executive Officer Roger Saillant called 2007 a mixed year. He said most of the increase in net loss for the company can be attributed to the expense of two Canadian firms the company acquired in 2007, Cellex Power Products and General Hydrogen Corp. He said Plug Power has achieved “operational integration” with the two foreign firms.

“This was no small task. In less than six months we consolidated all staff in British Columbia into one facility, brought GenDrive manufacturing online at our ‘lean’ facility in Latham … and have shipped units to customers,” he said during a conference call Tuesday.

Plug Power achieved three of its 2007 milestones, including reducing the cost of supporting its GenCore systems by 50 percent, expanding the company’s fuel cell applications by acquisitions, and containing cash used in operations to $50 million to $55 million. The company failed to achieve its goal of reducing GenCore manufacturing costs by 25 percent, but did reduce them by 20 percent.

Saillant has announced he will retire on April 7, his 65th birthday. George McNamee, the chairman of Plug Power’s board of directors, said the company will likely chose a successor for Saillant from a group of finalists determined before the end of the month.

“For the last three months, we’ve been conducting a national search. Our consultants interviewed over 300 people to develop a manageable group for our [CEO search] committee to interview,” McNamee said. “We’ve seen a very positive response from the population of prospects. We’ve been very pleased with the caliber of the candidates.”

McNamee said Plug Power will hold off on issuing public milestones for 2008 until it has hired a new CEO.

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