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I was surprised when Lime Energy (NASDAQ:LIME) announced that it was selling a million shares to Richard Kiphart, one of its own directors and its largest shareholder. Last year, CEO John O' Rourke had told me that Lime expected to reach profitability without having to raise additional capital.

What happened in the meantime? lime-logo[1].png

It was the best of Limes, it was the worst of Limes

Two things had happened: one bad, one good.

The bad was that Lime's C&I business turned in a particularly weak first quarter, cutting expected profits by a little over $1 million. Cash reserves are always seasonally low at the end of the first quarter after the slow winter season, so liquidity was a bit tighter than usual.

I thought the earnings miss would bring a good opportunity to buy the stock, especially given that the company’s new strategy of focusing on utility contracts is paying off. That's the good thing that happened: Four utility contracts were awarded in the first quarter. That’s a total of seven, up from just one a year earlier.

Because of these contracts, analyst Graig Irwin at Wedbush Securities was quoted in a Charlotte Business Journal article saying he expects the company to end the year in the black, despite the first quarter loss.

Kiphart's investment

To make Lime's targets, the company will need to ramp up the new utility contracts quickly, and that takes cash. Director Richard Kiphart, who already owned 9.6 million shares, 40% of the company worth $24.5 million, stepped up to the plate for another $2.55 million for another million shares at the current market price.

Lime, not lemon

The market's currently treating this Lime like a lemon. I look at this citrus and see green. Apparently Kiphart, who knows as much as anyone can about Lime's prospects, sees green, too.

This article was first published on the author's Forbes.com blog, Green Stocks.

Disclosure: I am long LIME.

Disclaimer: Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results. This article contains the current opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change without notice. This article has been distributed for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

Source: Lime Energy Gets $2.5 Million To Fund Growth Of Utility Business