Hoku Scientific stock jumps to all-time high
Hoku Scientific Inc., the best-performing local stock in 2007, jumped 10.2 percent yesterday to an all-time high ahead of its first-quarter earnings report and conference call.
The Kapolei-based company went public August 2005 at $6 as a developer of fuel-cell technology, and saw its shares more than double within months. But the stock sold off thereafter, and languished in the $2 range until after its mid-2006 entry into the polysilicon production business. Polysilicon is the material that is used to make solar panels.
Yesterday the stock rose $1.22 to $13.23 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. A total of 11.6 million shares exchanged hands -- more than eight times its average daily volume over the past year.
Hoku, which does not comment on its stock price, is scheduled to release earnings after the stock market closes on July 24.
Hoku's shares are up nearly 407 percent this year, which it began at $2.61, and have more than tripled in the last two months. The gains came after signing deals with solar-cell makers that pushed the value of Hoku's contracts to more than $1 billion for polysilicon from a new plant that Hoku is building in Pocatello, Idaho.
The Pocatello plant, which will produce up to 3,000 metric tons of polysilicon per year, is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2008 and begin deliveries of polysilicon in the first half of 2009.
Analyst Jesse Pichel, who covers Hoku for New York-based Piper Jaffray & Co., said last month that Hoku's next biggest hurdle will be acquiring the additional financing necessary to complete the plant, which will cost in excess of $260 million.
The company announced last month it was dropping plans to enter solar-panel manufacturing business but would provide solar-panel installation in Hawaii by purch- asing modules from third-party suppliers.