Bloom Energy Climbs in Trading Debut After $270 Million IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Bloom Energy Corp., the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers-backed maker of fuel-cell power systems, climbed on its first day of trading after pricing a rare alternative-energy IPO.

The shares rose 47 percent to $22.10 at 2:09 p.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of about $2.34 billion. Bloom Energy sold 18 million shares for $15 apiece Tuesday after marketing the stock at a range of $13 to $15 in the first alternative energy IPO in the U.S. since October 2016.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company makes what it calls energy servers, or systems comprised of many fuel cells that allow customers including Morgan Stanley and AT&T Inc. to generate clean electricity onsite even when the utility grid goes dark. Bloom plans to use the proceeds for general purposes including research and development and sales and marketing, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Its listing comes just months after the U.S. reinstated an investment tax credit for fuel cells as part of a tax overhaul bill, making the systems more affordable to develop in its biggest market. Chief Executive Officer KR Sridar said that while the lapse in the tax credits were one reason he postponed an IPO two years ago, he was prepared to move forward with the sale this year even if they weren’t restated.

“We didn’t need it, but Congress corrected a gross error,” Sridar said in an interview in New York. “We now have a fair playing field.”

Bloom’s revenue rose last year, but the company expects to remain unprofitable for the foreseeable future, according to the filing. It has an accumulated a deficit of $2.3 billion based on cash reserves, debt and convertible preferred stock. Bloom’s fuel cells produce electricity from natural gas in a chemical reaction that emits fewer greenhouse gases than combustion and a little bit of water.

Bloom’s largest stakeholder is venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, which owns 16 percent of the company, according to fillings. Kuwait Investment Authority -- its second largest stakeholder - - owns 11 percent.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley led the offering. The stock is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BE.

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