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Plug Power Drops as Analysts Split on Accounting-Error Impact

Plug Power, having disclosed accounting errors, is downgraded by one analyst while others see a buying opportunity.
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Plug Power  (PLUG) - Get Plug Power Inc. Report tumbled Wednesday as analysts reacted to the fuel-cell company's report that it would restate its financial results going back to 2018.

Shares of the Latham, N.Y., company at last check were off 14% at $36.88.

Plug Power said it would restate its financial statements for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and its quarterly filings for 2019 and 2020, which will be disclosed in its Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2020.

The company and its accounting firm, KPMG, identified the issues, which Plug Power said did not “result from any override of controls or misconduct.”

Truist analyst Tristan Richardson downgraded the stock to hold from buy and cut his price target to $42 a share from $50.

"We have been generally constructive the company’s fundamental outlook long-term," Richardson said in an investors note. But "following these disclosures we expect limited opportunity for outperformance in the near-term."

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While Plug Power reiterated long-term targets and the accounting issues appear transitory in nature, the analyst said, he sees "limited upside until resolution, particularly amidst a broader rerate in alternative-energy-oriented equities."

Analysts at Cowen, on the other hand, said shares of Plug Power looked “oversold” on the news, and the share-price decline offered a “unique buying opportunity."

Jed Dorsheimer, analyst at Canaccord Genuity, held a similar view, maintaining his buy rating and $69 price target. He noted that the adjustments are related largely to the balance sheet.

"We held a subsequent call with PLUG management to clarify potential implications of restatements to existing contracts and, according to the team, the historical adjustments will have no impact on current commitments (or trigger walkaway rights)," Dorsheimer said.

As such, the analyst continued, "we are not adjusting our estimates."

B. Riley Securities analyst Christopher Souther said he saw the selloff as a buying opportunity and the news did not change the historical or future growth trajectory of Plug Power. 

Souther, who reiterated his buy rating and $70 price target, said this is "another piece of accounting noise that has created an additional buying opportunity in the stock."