PowerSecure posts record fourth quarter revenue

PowerSecure International, the Wake Forest energy services company, reported record fourth-quarter revenue Wednesday, salvaging the company’s only profitable quarter from last year.

Even as PowerSecure is coming off a difficult year financially, the company said Wednesday it has a record backlog of $368 million in anticipated future revenue. PowerSecure investors look to the backlog amount as a gauge of the company’s financial health.

“Clearly we had a difficult start in 2014, but we have turned it around,” CEO Sidney Hinton told analysts and investors in a conference call. “We believe we’re in the strongest position in the company’s history.”

Hinton, who has focused on paying top dollar to superstar sales reps, described his sales strategy as recruiting “professional elephant hunters.” He predicted PowerSecure will have a record year this year.

The company posted $551,000 in net income in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of $1.9 million a year earlier. Fourth quarter revenue was $81.7 million, up 11 percent from $73.6 million a year earlier.

But it wasn’t enough to offset a $7 million net loss in 2014, PowerSecure’s first annual loss in more than a decade. The previous year total sales were $4.2 million.

On an annual basis, last year’s revenue dropped 5 percent to $256.7 million.

PowerSecure provides a range of services, from utility work crews, equipment maintenance, backup emergency generators and energy efficiency consulting.

Last fall, PowerSecure bought a Florida data center business for $13 million and Hinton said Wednesday the company has barely tapped the potential of that energy-hungry market.

“My equivalent would be, we need a cup of ice and we just pulled up to a glacier and chipped off a cup of ice,” Hinton said. “That’s about our dent in the market today.”

PowerSecure employs more than 750 people, including about 250 at three North Carolina locations: Wake Forest, Raleigh and Morrisville.

PowerSecure announced its fourth-quarter earnings after close of market trading. The company’s stock closed at $10.95, down 21 cents a share, and has declined 52 percent in the past year.

Murawski: 919-829-8932