April 22 (Bloomberg) -- Acta SpA may make its first pretax profit next year as sales of hydrogen generators for the fuel-cell industry and diesel enrichment products for trucks increase, Chief Financial Officer Paul Barritt said.
Profit of 2 million euros ($2.7 million) is “realistic” on higher revenue for the clean-energy products company, Barritt said today in an interview alongside Chief Executive Officer Paolo Bert. Acta is based outside Pisa, Italy.
Acta’s shares today surged 38 percent in London after the company said in a statement that it successfully tested a device that enriches diesel fuel in trucks with hydrogen, enabling them to save 17 percent of consumption. Certification for the product will likely come in the fall, and 20 to 30 companies have expressed interest in the product, Bert said.
“This has immense potential wherever diesel engines are used,” Denis Gross, a London-based analyst at Equity Development, said in a telephone interview. “Their hydrogen product line is getting traction. They’re in a very exciting place.” Gross doesn’t have a recommendation on the stock.
Acta is also working with Fedi Impianti Srl to build solar parks in Italy, incorporating hydrogen generators that can tap into excess power during the day to produce hydrogen, which can then be used to generate electricity at night. The company is in talks with other potential partners to develop further solar parks and aims to have 7 megawatts of installed generating capacity by year-end, Barritt also said.
“There’s a rush to get projects completed this year” because feed-in tariffs, guaranteeing a price for electricity, are coming down, Barritt said.
The hydrogen produced by Acta’s generators can be used with fuel cells to power boats, scooters, cars and lawnmowers.
Barritt said the company expects to be selling hundreds of generators a month by year-end. Bert said interest in particular stems from boatmakers. “We have more orders than we’re making at the moment,” he said.
Distributors in Italy of trucks made by Daimler AG’s Mercedes, Volvo AB and Fiat SpA’s Iveco have expressed an interest in testing the enrichment systems, according to Bert.
The diesel enrichment technology is initially targeted as retrofits for trucks at a cost of about 3,000 euros, according to Barritt. For a typical long-haul truck, that would be recouped in six months on fuel savings, he said.
“We could sell hundreds of units this year and certainly thousands next year, and really potentially tens of thousands,” Barritt said.
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