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Bloom Energy still expects profits ... eventually

May 20, 2013: 10:24 AM ET

bloom_energyFuel-cell maker Bloom had a tough first quarter.

FORTUNE -- Last week we reported that fuel cell maker Bloom Energy Corp. had raised $130 million in new private equity funding led by an undisclosed investor. I still don't know who the investor is, but do now have a better idea of what he/she/it was buying into.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company posted $42 million of pro forma revenue and negative $61 million of pro forma operating income for Q1 2013, according to documents obtained by Fortune. Those figures are lower than Bloom results for both Q3 and Q4 2012.

Bloom also reports negative $1.03 billion in retained earnings, compared to a negative $873 million mark through Q3 2012. To date, it has raised more than $1.1 billion in venture capital funding, including past investments from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, Advanced Equities, DAG Ventures and Goldman Sachs (GS).

On the upside, Bloom also tells investors that remains "on track" to become profitable in the second half of 2013, and expects to return to positive gross margin in Q2. It also has signed a term sheet for a Japanese JV with Softbank.

Bloom declined to comment for this story, but here is what company CFO Bill Kurtz told us last November:

"Bloom Energy is pleased with the substantial progress we have made in 2012. On a pro-forma basis Bloom has become gross margin positive in 2012 and is on track with our goal to be profitable in 2013.  Bloom is operating with a fully funded business plan.  Bloom has experienced strong new and repeat customer orders as evidenced by recent announcements from AT&T, eBay and others."

So it's still sticking to that profitability plan, and Kurtz never actually promised that there wouldn't be a future gross margin hiccup. On the other hand, it's hard to understand why a company with a "fully-funded business plan" needed to raise another $130 million in outside capital...

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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