A peek behind the curtain into Bloom Energy’s financials

Fortune’s Dan Primack has another important scoop this week for the cleantech world: one of the first looks at Bloom Energy’s private quarterly earnings that they report to their investors (earlier this week his other scoop was that Advanced Equities was going to shut down). And the exposed Bloom’s earnings aren’t exactly stellar, though probably what you’d expect if you’ve been watching their capital intensive business closely.

Bloom Energy is an 11-year-old company that has raised almost $1 billion in venture capital funding, to make fuel cells, which take fuel (natural gas or biogas) and combine it with oxygen and other chemicals to create an electrochemical reaction that produces electricity. Bloom Energy Bloom Boxes can deliver distributed power on site at a building, which can have a lower carbon footprint and potentially more electrical reliability than grid power.

Problem is, the Boxes cost a lot of money to make and deploy. According to Fortune Bloom’s third quarter earnings were as follows:

  • Bloom generated $101 million in pro forma Q3 revenue.
  • Bloom’s pro forma cost of goods was nearly $106 million, plus another $26 million in operating expenses.
  • So the Q3 pro forma loss was about $32 million, which expands to more than $42 million on a GAAP basis.
  • Bloom has a net cash loss of about $80 million for Q3, leaving it with around $113 million.
  • On the other hand, the article also says Bloom has been able to cut its pro forma operating cash burn by 56 percent between Q2 and Q3 2012, and expects to cut it by more than half again in Q4.
  • Bloom is also seeing a 26 percent quarter-over-quarter revenue increase, and was able to book 87 new commercial customers in Q3.
  • Bloom’s CFO Bill Kurtz tells Fortune that “Bloom has become gross margin positive in 2012 and is on track with our goal to be profitable in 2013.”

Bloom’s financials have always sounded worrisome — from the day they launched. Their model has long been banking on getting the costs of making and operating their fuel cells down. But Bloom is actually in a major growth phase right now, so the question is how long will it take them to turn the corner to actually breaking even. Will it be 2013 like Kurtz says? Or will it take substantially longer, and force Bloom to raise more money?