Bloom reveals $157M loss in '17 (Karl Baker)
The indicated loss of $157M is on income from operations in 2017, as reported in the income statement included in the S-1 registration statement for an initial public offering (IPO) that has been filed with the SEC. The net loss attributable to shareholders was $262M, with the principal difference between the two figures being interest expense.
As for workforce numbers, it’s reported that “the company on March 31 had 277 full-time workers at its Newark production facility, down from 302 last fall,” and that “the company has accumulated a deficit of $2.3 billion since it was founded in 2003."
Representatives from Bloom are barred from comment during the pendency of the IPO process, but the story says companies go public for various reasons beyond the obvious goal of raising additional capital for operations. Among these are enhancing a company’s public image and “providing early investors with an opportunity to cash out.”
According to IPO investment analyst Kathleen Smith (a principal at Renaissance Capital), Bloom’s timing is impeccable. 83 other companies have gone public so far this year, raising $25 billion, the most (for the comparable period of other years?) since 2014. And “although most of the newly public companies, like Bloom, are not profitable,” it’s reported, “their shares have climbed nearly 12 percent this year on average.” Moreover, “technology IPOs have by far been the best performing sector.”
David Stevenson of the Caesar Rodney Institute reportedly warns that Bloom’s anemic cash flows may lead to bankruptcy. “They’ve been losing money since day 1,” he said. “This is their last ditch effort, in my opinion, to raise money to cover their losses.”
The article goes on to reprise the history and results to date of the “qualified fuel cell provider” tariff that has been reflected on the bills of Delmarva Power ratepayers since two power generation facilities using Bloom Energy fuel cells (total capacity of 30 megawatts) were started up.
Critics complain about the cost being born by ratepayers ($166M as of late 2017), while defenders argue that it contributed to meeting the state’s goal of having 25% of its electric power come from renewable energy sources by 2025. [Bloom fuel cells are run by oxidizing natural gas, so they only represent “renewable energy” – if the fuel cells are produced in Delaware – by virtue of amendments to Delaware’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act that were enacted in 2011.] Granted that the goal could have been met by out-of-state wind or solar power, that wouldn’t have created Delaware jobs. And although Bloom has fallen far short of its jobs goal of 900 workers thus far, company officials are reportedly now saying this goal may be attained by 2020.