US hydrogen firm warns it could go bust in 12 months

US hydrogen firm Plug Power has warned it could run out of cash within 12 months and that plans to boost its liquidity position may not be enough to prevent it from folding.

Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said the company had experienced a difficult quarter (Image credit: Tom Williams via Getty Images)

The integrated hydrogen production and delivery company is actively seeking new funding to cover capital expenditure and operating requirements.

But in a November filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it warned that “these plans do not alleviate substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

The firm’s existing cash and equity will not be enough to see it through 2024, it said. It told the SEC: “In light of the company’s projected capital expenditure and operating requirements under its current business plan, the company is projecting that its existing cash and available for sale and equity securities will not be sufficient to fund its operations through the next twelve months”. 

Share-price crash

The company’s financial limitations were compounded after the announcement on 9 November, when its stock plunged from $5.93 to $3.53.

The company’s stock had been declining throughout the year, from $17.89 a year ago. 

Financing options

Plug Power said potential financing solutions included a Department of Energy loan, on which there was “a good chance to announce progress by the end of the year”. 

A memorandum of understanding could also see hydrogen firm Fortescue taking a 40% equity stake in Plug Power’s Texas hydrogen plant, while Plug Power would hold 25% equity in Fortescue’s Phoenix hydrogen plant. The company also signalled a rethink on partnerships “to lower capital expenditure needs”. 

In its SEC statement, the company said 2023 financial performance had been affected by “unprecedented supply challenges in the hydrogen network in North America. 

‘Demand outstripped supply’

Andy Marsh, chief executive of Plug Power, said it had been a “Difficult quarter driven primarily by the availability of hydrogen. There has been enormous challenges… primarily due to down time including in Plug Power’s Tennessee facility.” He said there had been “outages across the entire hydrogen network and for many days demand outstripped supply,” leaving California refuelling stations “often without supply or with very limited supplies”. 

Plug Power claimed the supply problems were “transitory”. Marsh said the company expected its Georgia and Tennessee facilities to be producing at full capacity by year-end, but that timelines for full production at new plants had been pushed into 2025. 

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