Head-To-Head Analysis: Ballard Power Systems (BLDP) versus Plug Power (PLUG)

Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP) and Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) are both small-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, profitability, dividends, risk, valuation, earnings and institutional ownership.

Risk and Volatility

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Ballard Power Systems has a beta of 1.98, meaning that its stock price is 98% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Plug Power has a beta of 1.49, meaning that its stock price is 49% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Ballard Power Systems and Plug Power’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ballard Power Systems -6.61% -4.29% -2.87%
Plug Power -96.94% -93.76% -30.37%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

4.2% of Ballard Power Systems shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 26.6% of Plug Power shares are held by institutional investors. 4.9% of Plug Power shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Ballard Power Systems and Plug Power’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ballard Power Systems $121.30 million 5.01 -$8.04 million ($0.03) -113.67
Plug Power $103.26 million 3.98 -$127.08 million ($0.60) -3.00

Ballard Power Systems has higher revenue and earnings than Plug Power. Ballard Power Systems is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Plug Power, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Ballard Power Systems and Plug Power, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ballard Power Systems 0 2 3 0 2.60
Plug Power 1 0 7 0 2.75

Ballard Power Systems presently has a consensus target price of $5.00, suggesting a potential upside of 46.63%. Plug Power has a consensus target price of $3.60, suggesting a potential upside of 100.00%. Given Plug Power’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Plug Power is more favorable than Ballard Power Systems.

Summary

Ballard Power Systems beats Plug Power on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Ballard Power Systems

Ballard Power Systems Inc. engages in the design, development, manufacture, sale, and service of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell products worldwide. The company provides motive power products, including FCveloCity-9SSL and FCveloCity-1020ACS fuel cell stacks, as well as FCveloCity modules for material handling, bus, commercial vehicle, and light rail applications. It also offers stationary power products, such as FCgen-1020ACS and FCgen-H2PM fuel cell stacks for backup power system applications; and ClearGen for distributed generation system applications. In addition, the company provides unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) power products comprising FCair-600 and FCair-1200 fuel cell products for UAVs power system applications. Further, it offers portable power products, including SPM-622 and VPM-402 for power management applications; and adaptive battery chargers for portable battery charging applications. Additionally, the company provides technology solutions comprising engineering services, technology transfer, and license and sale of its intellectual property portfolio for various fuel cell applications. Ballard Power Systems Inc. was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Burnaby, Canada.

About Plug Power

Plug Power Inc. is a provider of alternative energy technology focused on the design, development, commercialization and manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell systems used for the industrial off-road market and the stationary power market. The Company’s product line includes GenKey, GenDrive, GenFuel, GenCare and ReliOn. GenKey offers solutions to customers transitioning their material handling vehicles to fuel cell power. GenDrive is a hydrogen fueled proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system. It provides power to material handling vehicles. GenFuel is a hydrogen fueling delivery system. It is designed to allow customers to refuel its GenDrive units for productivity. GenCare is an ongoing maintenance program for both the GenDrive fuel cells and GenFuel products. ReliOn is a stationary fuel cell solution. It provides scalable, modular PEM fuel cell power to support the backup and grid-support power requirements of the telecommunications, transportation and utility sectors.

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