Bruno Forget of Air Liquide gave one of the most insightful presentation at the Plug Power ($PLUG) Analyst Conference held on December 4th in Albany, NY.
He described the fuell cell hydrogen business as being a research experiment for most of the nineties until about 2009. Back then, there was no commercial opportunities to extend a single project into a viable recurring commercial opportunity.
He proclaimed that it was Plug Power that cracked the commercial fuel cell opportunity when it won a deal to implement its Gen-Drive solution at a new Wal-Mart ($WMT) distribution center in Canada.
Then he said:
$WMT is about data and return on investment. It measures everything.
Forget knew then that this was a big deal that was about to change the whole business dynamics. He was so excited about it that he thought that Air Liquide should invest in this company. He got rejected from the get-go. Air Liquide is a big company. It does not move that quickly.
$WMT added the $PLUG solution to an existing facility in Balzac, Ontario. It replaced its existing lead battery solution with $PLUG's GenDrive solution.
Then $PLUG proceeded to win more $WMT distribution centers business in the USA. Then it won a bunch of business from the like of Kroger ($KR), FedEx ($FDX), BMW, Mercedes Benz and so forth. You can find the more comprehensive list here. Forget grew more excited than ever and he kept on pushing.
That lead Forget to conclude:
$PLUG IS THE LEADING HYDROGEN SYSTEM INTEGRATOR IN THE WORLD. NO ONE COMES CLOSE
That is when I almost fell of my chair listening to Forget.
Now you know why Air Liquide decided to invest when the company faced liquidity issues in early 2013, after a botched financing attempt during which shortsellers front ran the stock.
Consider this: Who will get a big chunk of this $20 billion opportunity in the USA alone? That is just forklift and it does not include all the adjacent markets....tuggers, TRUS, range extenders, and so forth.
Disclaimer: Bigger Capital, LLC, Bigger Capital Fund, LP, Bachelier, LLC and the Bigger family hold millions of shares of Plug Power. We intend to increase our position if the company's results track our benchmark.
Plug Power is a highly distressed situation and it is not suitable for the majority of investors. The likely outcome of an investment is a loss of principal.