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23. August 2021 | 13:18 CET

Plug Power, Enapter, Ballard Power - What is the future of hydrogen?

  • Hydrogen
Photo credits:

In the passenger car sector, the battle for hydrogen fuel cells seems lost, as the entire automotive industry is focusing on the production of e-cars. In the commercial vehicle sector, there is still hope for the hydrogen industry. The prerequisite for this, however, is inexpensive hydrogen, and this is not yet available. Promises of subsidies due to climate protection for the hydrogen sector should give a boost, but the extreme overvaluation built up in shares from the hydrogen sector up to the end of January has not yet been completely eroded in some cases. After the FED indicated in its latest minutes that it would abandon its loose monetary policy, uncertainty is spreading among many North American hydrogen companies. Today, we take a look at three hydrogen companies.

time to read: 3 minutes by Armin Schulz
ISIN: PLUG POWER INC. DL-_01 | US72919P2020 , ENAPTER AG INH O.N. | DE000A255G02 , BALLARD PWR SYS | CA0585861085

Jim Payne, CEO, dynaCERT Inc.
"[...] We are committed to stay as the number one Canadian and global leader in the Hydrogen-On-Demand diesel technology [...]" Jim Payne, CEO, dynaCERT Inc.

Full interview



Armin Schulz

Born in Mönchengladbach, he studied business administration in the Netherlands. In the course of his studies he came into contact with the stock exchange for the first time. He has more than 25 years of experience in stock market business.

About the author

Plug Power - Split into divisions

In January, Goldman Sachs warned that Plug Power's valuation was too high, as its enterprise value to sales ratio was 47. From a ratio of 20, investors should carefully consider an investment in these shares, as there is often a high potential for setbacks in the long term in these cases. Plug Power's stock declined from USD 75.49 at the end of January to USD 18.47 as of May 11. That still leaves the current market capitalization at a price of USD 24.23, just over USD 13.2 billion.

On August 5, the Company presented its second quarterly figures, and they were mixed. Revenue increased to just over USD 123 million, but losses were over USD 99 million. On August 19, the Company announced that it was splitting its business into four divisions. Each of these divisions will have its own manager, effective immediately. The divisions will be Material Handling Solutions, Energy Solutions, Electrolyzer and Stationary Power divisions. By splitting them up, growth in the various divisions is expected to progress more quickly.

Plug Power is targeting profitable results in 2024. If the figures are achieved as planned, this will result in a price-earnings ratio (P/E) of 198. The stock was unable to hold the minor uptrend formed and has fallen back into a downtrend. A test of the low of USD 18.47 from May seems possible. The chart would brighten up if the share managed a closing price above USD 30.25. Currently, interested investors should wait until the downward trend can be left.

Enapter - Sales are growing rapidly

Enapter is a German-based company founded in 2004 that manufactures anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzers. These can be used to produce green hydrogen from renewable energy and water. The technology is very advanced, and as a result, it has won several awards. In June alone, the Company received the NRW.Global Business Award and was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

On July 20, the Company announced its half-year figures, which came as quite a positive surprise. Sales increased from EUR 600,000 to EUR 2 million, and orders for EUR 6.1 million have already been received. Thus, the annual forecast of EUR 9.2 million should be very well achievable. The year-end EBITDA is expected at EUR -7.5 million. The balance sheet has been significantly strengthened compared to the end of 2020. EUR 22 million in subsidies from various funding pots has been secured, and EUR 18 million was raised from a capital increase.

The Company is currently expanding its production facilities, developing the AEM Multicore product to market maturity and expanding international sales. By 2023, Enapter wants to have already crossed the break-even point. Currently, 23.1 million shares are outstanding, which means a current market capitalization of EUR 586 million. If the raised targets for 2022 of EUR 44.8 million and an almost unchanged loss of EUR 8.7 million are achieved, the share price should enter new spheres. At the moment, the share is moving sideways between EUR 19 and 29.

Ballard Power - With weak figures

Ballard Power was founded in Canada back in 1979 and has been listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange since 1995. The main focus is on producing hydrogen fuel cells for buses, trucks, trains and ships. The Company does not rely on pure hydrogen propulsion but combines hydrogen with batteries. The fuel cells generate electricity from hydrogen, which is then fed to the batteries.

On August 5, the Company released its second-quarter numbers, and they were once again weak. Revenue was down USD 800,000 year-on-year to USD 25 million, and losses jumped over 100% from USD -10.7 million in 2020 to USD -21.9 million in the quarter just ended. That translates to a net loss of USD 0.07 per share. A positive overall result for the group is not expected until 2024 at the earliest.

Currently, there are just over 297.6 million shares, which corresponds to a current valuation of USD 4.43 billion. Despite all the fantasy about the potential size of the hydrogen market, this market capitalization is ambitious. Jumping to 2024 and assuming the Company's expected earnings, we get a P/E ratio of 1,698. One Amazon share is 76. Despite the weak numbers, the stock has not marked any new lows but has formed a double bottom at USD 14.44. If this holds, the share can test the highs at USD 17.38.

After a considerable hype, the hydrogen market has received a significant damper. If the promised subsidies flow, the downward trend in hydrogen companies could be stopped for the time being. At Ballard and Plug Power, the company valuations are still very high, although sales are hardly increasing or even decreasing. Enapter is a real exception at the moment, as its sales growth is accelerating and it has just started to build up international sales. There could be potential here. As an investor, you should always keep an eye on the valuation.


Armin Schulz

Born in Mönchengladbach, he studied business administration in the Netherlands. In the course of his studies he came into contact with the stock exchange for the first time. He has more than 25 years of experience in stock market business.

About the author

Conflict of interest & risk note

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Related comments:

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  • Hydrogen

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  • Hydrogen

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  • Hydrogen

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