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CA Micro-Turbine Maker Strikes It Big In IPO

CA Micro-Turbine Maker Strikes It Big In IPO

With transmission grids struggling with each new summer heat wave, an aspiring California-based company pushing off-grid microturbines, Capstone Turbine Corp., launched a successful initial public offering (IPO) Thursday, raising $130 million, and closing the first day of trading, June 29, at almost $48/share, three times the initial asking price of $16. Friday's close was $45.06 after hitting a high for the day of $49-plus.

The Woodland Hills, CA-based firm was founded in 1988 to create cleaner motor vehicles and has yet to show a profit, having lost $29 million last year, but it has a commercially available microturbine that runs on everything from natural gas to sour gas in petroleum production fields. Capstone generated revenues of $6.69 million last year while withstanding its biggest loss ever.

The company plans to use the IPO proceeds for capital tooling and manufacturing equipment, expanding its sales/marketing efforts, continuing product development and payment to one of its major backers, New Zealand-based Fletcher Challenge Limited, "as part of a buyback of marketing rights and for general corporate purposes," Capstone said in its IPO filing of March 22.

Richard Nemec, Los Angeles

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