* Preliminary Q4 revenue $21.1 mln, up 28 pct
* Fuel cell shipments climb 103 pct in quarter
* Sees 2011 revenue of $65 mln, up 39 pct
* Shares rise 18.6 pct to C$1.98 on TSX (In U.S. dollars unless noted)
OTTAWA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Ballard Power Systems Inc BLD.TO BLPD.O shares rose nearly 19 percent to a five-month high on Wednesday after the fuel cell maker reported preliminary quarterly results and forecast higher sales in 2011.
Ballard, whose hydrogen-powered fuel cells were once touted as an environmentally friendly replacement for the gasoline engine, said late on Tuesday that fourth-quarter revenue rose 28 percent to $21.1 million as shipments increased by 103 percent. Analysts had expected revenue of $20 million, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which plans to announce audited results in early March, said it reduced its loss on the basis of adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, by 52 percent to $3.1 million.
"These results also appear to be better than our forecasts, although we would need full financial results to be certain to what extent," BMO Capital Markets analyst Brian Piccioni said.
For the full year, revenue rose 39 percent to $65 million as the adjusted loss declined 33 percent to $26 million. Product shipments grew 104 percent, Ballard said.
The Vancouver-based company said that it expects 2011 revenue to climb more than 30 percent and that it sees a more than 40 percent increase to adjusted earnings.
Ballard manufactures and sells fuel cells and related products used in forklifts, residential cogeneration, backup power and transportation. Fuel cells produce electrical power through a chemical reaction, rather than combustion.
In recent years, Ballard has abandoned the fuel cell Holy Grail of hydrogen-powered vehicles to focus on more marketable products as it cut costs and sought to strengthen liquidity.
Ballard stock rose 31 Canadian cents, or 18.6 percent, to C$1.98 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning and gained 33 cents to $2.01 on Nasdaq.
"Ballard delivered strong results in 2010, with 39 percent revenue growth and major progress towards profitability, while maintaining a solid liquidity position with cash reserves of $74.4 million," Ballard Chief Executive John Sheridan said in a statement.
$1=$0.99 Canadian Reporting by Susan Taylor; editing by Peter Galloway