Newport Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. on Thursday reported mixed third-quarter earnings.
The country’s largest developer and operator of natural-gas stations posted sales of $86.3 million in the recently ended quarter, down 5.6% from a year ago and missing Wall Street expectations of $87.4 million.
Investors seized upon the miss, sending shares down nearly 4% in afterhours trading to a market value of about $1 billion.
The company reported a net loss of $14.6 million, compared to net loss of $16.7 million a year ago and above analyst estimates of about $18.7 million.
Clean Energy said it delivered 56.4 million gallons of compressed, liquefied and renewable natural gas in the recently ended quarter, up 10.8% from a year ago.
The company has delivered 158.9 million gallons through the first nine months of the year, up 10.9% from the same period last year.
Clean Energy has struggled for years to become profitable due to a minimal number of stations offering natural gas, slow commercial adoption and cheaper fuel alternatives.
It hopes to change that by building what it dubs “America’s Natural Gas Highway,” which calls for the construction of some 150 liquid natural-gas fueling stations across the U.S.
Last month Clean Energy signed a deal with GE Capital’s transportation finance arm to accelerate the conversion of heavy-duty trucks from diesel to natural gas.
Under the deal, truck fleet operators will work with Clean Energy to develop natural gas fueling contracts, and will be able to apply for loans and leases from GE Capital to acquire trucks from manufacturers that run on commercial natural gas. Clean Energy will help offset the monthly cost of these if the customer makes a fuel commitment.
Natural gas costs about $1.50 less per gallon than diesel or gasoline, depending on local prices.
Legendary oilman and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens cofounded Clean Energy as a tiny part of his Dallas-based Mesa Petroleum about 25 years ago.
He split it off in the late 1990s.