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Could This High-Growth Stock Fund Your Early Retirement?

Karen Thomas

As investors, we all have different goals and reasons for investing. But in the end, it usually all comes down to one thing: investing for our retirement. Whether we just want to secure a basic, financially stress-free retirement life, or we are going for early retirement or a luxury retirement, it is our biggest worry.

And if you are one of those investors who are dreaming of that highly elusive early retirement, what would you say if I told you that it might be easier than you think?

Look at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). If you?d invested a mere $5,000 in Apple?s stock back in 1998, you would have owned 10,000 shares, as they were trading at a mere $0.50 per share. That would be worth $1,700,000 today, 20 years later.

To be sure, investments that pay dividends that allow you to benefit from compounding have their place in your portfolio, but growth stocks do as well and are the key to game-changing returns.

It just takes one Apple to do it, so which company will be the one?

Could Ballard Power Systems Inc. (TSX:BLDP)(NASDAQ:BLDP) be the game changer today?

Ballard is attempting to be the global leader in fuel cell technology in response to the global push towards cleaner energy.

With Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) touting the benefits of fuel cells, and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) turning to fuel cells to power its server farms, these are but two of the companies that recognize the benefits of this disruptive technology.

Ballard?s results and strategic partnership are showing the same enthusiasm. The industry is getting a lot of attention, and the fuel cell market continues to build momentum, as clean air becomes an increasingly important goal for countries across the world.

From China to Europe to California, governments are showing increasing interest and activity in fuel cell vehicles, and Ballard has been involved through partnerships and joint ventures and is seeing its FCveloCity engines being used to power buses in cities around the world.

From buses to trains to cars, the fuel cell is quickly gaining traction.

In 2016, revenue increased 51% to $85 million. And in the first nine months of 2017, revenue increased 48% (54% in the third quarter), and the gross margin was 36% versus 27% in 2016. In 2015, the gross margin was 18%.

We can see that gross margins have been improving dramatically, as the company has been working costs down, benefitting from scale, volume, and increasing revenue from its higher-margin businesses.

According to management, we can expect this trend to continue as they do more of the same in 2018, continuing to drive down costs and focus on higher-margin business.

So far in 2017, the company reported a backlog of $237 million, with a 12-month backlog of $82 million. This compares to first nine months of 2017 revenue of $81 million.

In summary, I am betting that the world is finally ready for Ballard?s disruptive technology, and that this will translate into big returns for shareholders.

The stock has been weak lately after doubling from early 2017 to a high of $7.44 and is now trading below $6 ? a perfect chance to buy on weakness.

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Fool contributor Karen Thomas owns shares of Ballard Power. David Gardner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple.