Perpetual loser

Ballard fuel cells has been a perpetual loser.

Fuel cell have been like fusion energy, just 15 years more.

There have been some significant advances in materials science in the last year.

Ballard will be marketing a completly platinum free fuel cell in December. This should reduce the cost of the cell by 15 percent.

I mention all of this because I saw where they have a 50 percent rise in revenue.

I would like a to do a deep dive.

Can someone give me an outline. I have seen great examples, but method, just a sketch really would be nice.


1 Like

I used to use this when I was more active and had time. There are many better templates. We should post some on Google Docs someday.

Saul’s Template from KB
Here is a template derived from Saul’s KB#9939. I found it useful for forcing good research and providing good data for the community.
PuddinHead’s Instructions:

  1. copy/paste into Word then replace “*” with “<” to allow the formatting commands to work when you paste into the message board. (Make your own permanent Word template!)
  2. Do the research and fill in the blanks. (I recommend doing all work in Word before pasting into the message board, this could take days!)
  3. Consider starting the answers to most questions with your opinion of Pass/Fail, then add the backup. The community can help and correct you.
  4. I use this”//” to delimit comments or instructions, you should delete those items to reduce clutter.

//first check the community spreadsheets. Someone may have done some work to show this is worth looking at, or has a horrible 1YPEG.
//second, don’t “trust” yahoo, but do a quick check of earnings and earnings estimates there, that could tell you it is not worth getting the real data from the Quarterly reports.

||================== Cambrex (CBM) ======================||

Saul Analysis: (see KB#9939)
look for companies that are growing fast, have recurring income, insider ownership, some kind of moat, reasonable PE, etc, and hope to find most of these qualities in stocks I’m investing in. So…

Company Web Site:
Brief Overview: //probably from the web site or yahoo profile.

look for companies that are easy to follow (e.g. already a pick by MF)

Don’t need to understand the technology/industry (just the growth financials)

want a company with rapidly growing earnings

look for recurring revenue (e.g. Razor blade model)

look for substantial insider ownership

look for a company with rapidly growing revenue. (at least 25% per year)

Get the information yourself. (Not yahoo, etc)

look for a company that has a long way to grow long runway. One that ideally can grow almost forever

Not too big to grow/double/triple (e.g Sketchers not Nike)

want a company that does something special,

want management to be interested in making a profit.

Stocks Saul likes to avoid:
China, Mining/Drilling, Restaurants

//this is where the real work comes in. You might even want to make it a second post from the above data.
Addition research ideas for evaluating a new company.

tidbits from last quarterly report
//you should read the Q report, let us know if there is anything interesting

tidbits from the last Conference Call:
//you should read the Conf Call, let us know if there is anything interesting.
//You should be able to find it on Seeking Alpha “Zillow Q1 2015 Transcript” should get it.
// (Yep, I put it in on Seeking Alpha and it came right up.)

two years of revenues:
// first check the community spreadsheets to see if someone has done the work!
//Go back through at least two years of quarterly reports and pull off at least adjusted earnings and
//revenue. Make a table for each. Let’s look at stock ABC. Here’s what their Revenues looked like:

Year	Q1	Q2	Q3	Q4	Year	% change
2012	20	25	30	35	110	 
2013	40	45	50	60	195	77%
2014	70	90	100	120	380	95%

//PuddinHead likes to use Excel to create the table and do the calcs, then paste into Word like above.
//You may not get enough data to do % calcs, but it would be interesting.
//You could fill in the missing data with estimates from Yahoo, but then you must tell us which are est.
//For both earnings and revs, PuddinHead recommends getting estimates from Yahoo and building table similar to the above and below.

two years of adjusted earnings

//same format as revenues above.

12 month trailing earnings:

12 2012: 22
03 2013: 28
06 2013: 34
09 2013: 48
12 2013: 59
03 2014: 70
// Saul says:  You should graph this on a piece of log paper. 
//PuddinHead says it might be interesting to draw out the future TTM in pencil and then see how actuals matchup with future TTM derived from estimates.  Estimates are just guesses, but they might help visualize something interesting.

//This could be part 3 of a post if you have the energy…

Here’s another a nice way to evaluate companies for investment.

Good Free Cash Flow?
//Using this method, the first step is to look at Cash Flow.
//You want to make sure the company is self-sustaining, producing positive Free Cash Flow, and not eating away at its Cash Balance.
//You’d also like to see Free Cash Flow as a percent of Revenue (Free Cash Flow Margin.) grow from year to year.

Operating Margins increasing? (Revenue growth faster than operating expenses growth)

Is share count increasing too fast? (Provide summary and link)
// link us to the stock at this site it has a data table and nice visuals
//The WPRT examples shows lots of dilution – bad!

Is P/FCF less than 30-ish? ( Price to Free Cash Flow ratio?)
//you can cheat here:
// you might copy paste the statement from the link below (substitute your ticker symbol)
//it annoyingly tries to get you to join, but you can get the data.

low debt levels?
//you can cheat here:

good cash levels?
//See FinViz

tidbits on competitors and risk: (see the 10K)
//PuddinHead says Yahoo Finance shows a list of competitors

Other useful links
//(investor presentations, interesting new links, charts from FinViz and/or


What I’m wondering is - where are the makers of silver-zinc (silver oxide) rechargeable batteries? Like lithium, they have high energy density, but unlike lithium, there’s no danger of overheating. And much of the silver can be recovered from a spent battery.

I’m thinking this is something to keep an eye out for, with the vast and growing demand for rechargeable batteries.

1 Like

Ballard fuel cells has been a perpetual loser.

“Don’t invest in longshots.”
– Peter Lynch

Denny Schlesinger



But. . .

It’s different this time :slight_smile:

There has been a break through in materials science that changes the manufacturing numbers on fuel cells. This changes the economics.

What go me interested is the 50 percent increase in revenue. Now I need to see where it comes from and if it is cash and if it is a trend or one off thing.

If nothing else, doing the exercise will be profitable for me.



If nothing else, doing the exercise will be profitable for me.

That’s for sure! It’s putting money on the line that is risky. The price of stocks follows the company’s intrinsic value over time but in the short run it follows investor sentiment or folly. :wink:

A long term chart of BLDP:

You can see that there was investor euphoria in 2006 and 2014 (I didn’t check the drivers). If Ballard has something revolutionary, disruptive, one can wait for curve in the hockey stick to put money at risk. If you’ve done your homework, like you plan to do, so much the better.

Denny Schlesinger

2006 was when I converted mutual funds to cash and started my journey investing into individual stocks without the expense drip. Unfortunately that was before a found the fool, bought some ballard shares…had them converted eventually to pennies… then we canadians got rid of the penny! Oh well, price paid on education.

Thanks for the memory jog.

Thanks for the memory jog.

Stock market tuition tends to be very expensive. I speak from experience. :frowning:

Denny Schlesinger


but unlike lithium, there’s no danger of overheating

Here we see a very short video where the battery is heat until it explodes.

Here is one that is set on fire by short-circuiting.

and a puncture

Now here is the Science Friday Podcast with the inventor of a lithium battery that will not explode…

A battery is made of three primary components: a positive and negative electrode, known as the cathode and anode, which are separated by a chemical barrier called the electrolyte. The electrolyte is like a highway for ions, explains Zimmerman—it allows them to flow between the anode and cathode.

According to Zimmerman, researchers have been experimenting with two types of solids to replace the liquid electrolyte: ceramics and plastics. He found that ceramics were brittle and difficult to make on a large scale, while previous plastic prototypes could conduct ions, but only at very high temperatures.

Zimmerman’s team at Ionic Materials developed a plastic polymer electrolyte that could permit the flow of ions at room temperature. It functions in the same manner as the liquid electrolyte, Zimmerman explains, but the plastic is flame-retardant, so there’s no possibility that the battery will explode.

The battery that Pogue whittled down still worked because it has a high energy density, thanks to the incorporation of a lithium metal anode. Batteries made with lithium metal can store twice as much energy per volume than lithium-ion batteries, according to Zimmerman, but they’d be much more dangerous if used with a liquid electrolyte. Plastic eliminates the problem

“If we’re able to use our plastic and put in higher-energy anodes, the phone could last two or three times longer before you have to charge it up again.”

Pogue demonstrated its safety by chopping up one of the plastic batteries—which, in this case, was very thin—with a pair of scissors while it was powering a panel of LED lights.

Zimmerman hopes that we’ll see devices supported by Ionic Materials’ plastic battery in two or three years.

And you made me jump down the rabbit hole on a Sunday night!