LATHAM, N.Y., March 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq:PLUG), a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions, today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and year-end 2012. Plug Power is pleased to announce that for the full year 2012, expansion of our customer base in North America continued with new, first-time orders from Stihl, Mercedes Benz, Lowe's, Carter's and Ace Hardware. The Company also received additional orders for existing customers including Walmart, P&G, Coca-Cola, Sysco Foods, Wegmans, Kroger and BMW. Product shipments also increased reaching 1,391 units, a 35% growth from the previous year shipments. Another 2012 success for Plug Power was completing the introduction of the new product platforms in the third quarter. The new platforms reduced material cost, a key driver for product margins, by an average of 30%. As announced in the third quarter, the Company experienced a number of quality issues in 2012, which negatively impacted its financial performance. The quality issues have been technically addressed, and a majority of the changes have been implemented as of the end of the fourth quarter. As previously discussed, we believe the quality issues have caused our sales to be delayed by six to nine months, though the Company has been successful in maintaining customer loyalty. Increased costs and delayed sales forced the Company to adopt a restructuring plan in the fourth quarter to improve organizational efficiency and conserve working capital needed to support the growth of its GenDrive business. Additionally, to continue to support our stakeholders, by the direction of the board of directors, the Company continues to consider all strategic options to provide funding for the business plan. The options include raising additional capital, asset sales, strategic partnerships and a sale of the Company. In 2012, the Company engaged Stephens, its long-time investment banking firm, to assist with exploring and implementing these options.