Head-To-Head Review: Plug Power (PLUG) and Ballard Power Systems (BLDP)

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

Valuation & Earnings

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

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Plug Power $103.26 million 4.16 -$127.08 million ($0.60) -3.13
Ballard Power Systems $121.30 million 5.20 -$8.04 million ($0.03) -118.00

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.

Volatility and Risk

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

Institutional & Insider Ownership

26.6% of Plug Power shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 4.2% of Ballard Power Systems shares are held by institutional investors. 5.1% of Plug Power shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

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

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent ratings and recommmendations for Plug Power and Ballard Power Systems, as provided by MarketBeat.

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

Plug Power currently has a consensus target price of $3.60, suggesting a potential upside of 91.49%. Ballard Power Systems has a consensus target price of $5.00, suggesting a potential upside of 41.24%. Given Plug Power’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Plug Power is more favorable than Ballard Power Systems.

Summary

Ballard Power Systems beats Plug Power on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

Plug Power Company Profile

Plug Power Inc., an alternative energy technology provider, engages in the design, development, commercialization, and manufacture of hydrogen and fuel cell systems for the material handling and stationary power markets primarily in North America and Europe. It focuses on proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell and fuel processing technologies, fuel cell/battery hybrid technologies, and related hydrogen storage and dispensing infrastructure. The company offers GenDrive, a hydrogen fueled PEM fuel cell system that provides power to material handling electric vehicles; GenFuel, a hydrogen fueling delivery, generation, storage, and dispensing systems; GenCare, which is an ongoing maintenance program for GenDrive fuel cells, GenSure products, GenFuel products, and ProGen engines; and GenSure, a stationary fuel cell solution that provides scalable modular PEM fuel cell power to support the backup and grid-support power requirements of the telecommunications, transportation, and utility sectors. It also provides GenKey, a turn-key solution for transitioning to fuel cell power; ProGen, a fuel cell stack and engine technology that is used in mobility and stationary fuel cell systems, and as engines in electric delivery vans; and GenFund, which offers financing solutions to customers. The company offers its products to distribution and manufacturing businesses, and government agencies through direct product sales force, original equipment manufacturers, and dealer networks. Plug Power Inc. was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Latham, New York.

Ballard Power Systems Company Profile

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.

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