FuelCell Energy Sales Boom Seen After Second-Quarter Miss

FuelCell Energy Inc., a manufacturer of fuel-cell power plants, said new and existing orders will boost revenue to more than $100 million in the second half after an unexpected sales decline in the last quarter.

Sales in the next two quarters will average $50 million to $60 million each, exceeding the $38.3 million in the second quarter, according to Chief Executive Officer Chip Bottone.

“Our second quarter was not as high in revenue as we would have liked,” Bottone said today on a conference call. His team is negotiating for sales contracts that could lead to orders of 300 megawatts of power plants in the U.S. and Europe. “We are actively bidding on multimegawatt utility projects that we were not in a position to pursue in the past.”

With new orders of higher-margin power plant sales and service agreements, the company expects to reach a break-even level this year for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Bottone said.

FuelCell is currently producing 70 megawatts of fuel cells annually at its factory in Torrington, Connecticut, and said it will be able to report its first net income when that volume increases to more than 80 megawatts.

For the quarter ended April 30, FuelCell’s net loss widened to $15.8 million, or 7 cents a share, from $7.4 million, or 4 cents, a year earlier. Excluding some items, the company had a 4 cent loss, the Danbury, Connecticut-based company said yesterday in a statement.

Gross margin in the second quarter was 4.2 percent, down from 5.5 percent a year ago. Product sales in the quarter were mainly fuel cell kits and fuel cell modules compared with a year earlier when the company reported higher margins from the 14.9-megawatt Bridgeport fuel cell park project, the company said.

FuelCell declined 7.6 percent to $2.19 a share at the close in New York. They have gained 55 percent this year.

FuelCell’s systems produce electricity from natural gas or methane through a chemical reaction.

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