Hoku's income in first quarter down 8 percent
Even as it announced progress in fulfilling fuel cell contracts with major customers, Hoku Scientific Inc. reported yesterday that its first quarter earnings declined eight percent compared with the same quarter a year ago.
The fledgling, Kapolei-based maker of components for hydrogen fuel cells reported net income of $313,000, or two cents per share, on revenue of $1.2 million for the quarter ended June 30. That compared with net income of $341,000, or three cents per share, on revenue of $1.1 million during the same quarter in 2005.
A darling of Hawaii's high-tech community whose initial public offering last year was celebrated as an example of Hawaii's ability to launch promising tech start-ups, Hoku has given investors a roller coaster ride over the past 11 months. Having peaked in October at about $13 per share, Hoku has slid to the $3 range.
Shares closed yesterday up 6 cents at $3.01.
Although Hoku has said it has relationships with roughly a dozen companies, much of its revenue comes from just a few key customers. Hoku said yesterday that it expects fluctuations in quarterly revenue to continue in future earnings periods because of "uncertainty regarding the level and timing of revenue from customer contracts, the achievement of contract milestones and increases in product orders."
Hoku said it expects fluctuations to mean good news for next quarter's revenue, which the company said should be around $1.8 million to $2 million, or as much as 65 percent higher than revenue in the recent quarter. But the company said net income for the second quarter is likely to range from a loss to a slight profit because of increased costs.
Although hardly soaring, Hoku appears to be plodding diligently forward. Nissan Motor Co. has repeatedly renewed contracts under which Hoku is developing fuel cell components for Nissan cars and trucks. Nissan paid Hoku $2.7 million in March and is obligated to pay another $240,000 this month, Hoku reported.
In another major project, Hoku and joint-venture partner IdaTech LLC are making 11 stationary fuel-cell powered electrical "power plants" for the Navy. And that project is moving forward. Hoku also has a contract with the electronics giant Sanyo Electric Co., which is testing Hoku fuel cell components.
Beyond fuel cells, Hoku has announced plans to establish a solar energy unit, but the company reported yesterday that the venture remains in its infancy.