After accounting problems, Plug Power fires KPMG


COLONIE – Roughly a year after disclosing that it had made unintentional errors on its financial filings with federal regulators over a period of several years, fuel cell maker Plug Power has fired its accounting firm KPMG.

Plug Power’s audit committee, a sub-group of its board of directors, voted to dismiss KPMG on March 16 in light of the accounting issues, which at the time they were announced caused Plug Power’s stock to tumble. Shareholders also sued the company as well over the issue.

Plug Power, which is seeking to become a leader in hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles, as well as producing hydrogen through non-carbon methods, had told investors that the problems with its financial accounting was due to a lack of “trained, knowledgeable” people to understand the complex renewable energy market that the company is involved in. It was not clear that that meant its own employees or those of its accounting firm, or both.

Plug Power was forced to restate its financial results over several years, a major black eye for any publicly-trade firm (PLUG: Nasdaq) whose shares are traded on the stock market, which operate under the theory that investors in stocks are given reliable information on the companies they trade in.

The issues were entirely on paper, Plug Power said, and resulted in the company under-reporting its revenues slightly. The issues were more related to how the company’s finances were presented to investors, including inventory, operating expenses and how it calculated fuel billings.

Plug Power makes hydrogen fuel cells that are used in fork lift trucks that move inventory in warehouses of companies like Amazon and Walmart, although it has set its sights on trucks and even airplanes for the technology.

Plug Power has since fixed the accounting issues and has not reported any additional problems.

The company has since hired Deloitte & Touche as its new accounting firm after vetting a number of firms for the job.



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