Eco Investor Update
A Weekly News Update for Environmental Investors
March 2013 - No 119
Sims Metal Management
Ord said it was encouraged by the results so far from GWAs recent restructuring and expected modest rebound in activity, but believed this is already factored into the share price.
It points out that revenue contracted by 8 per cent despite including three months contributions of $6 million from API.
December half trading earnings (EBIT) declined 22 per cent, which it said was due to a decline in margin cost due entirely to GWAs relatively high fixed cost base. Trading EBIT for the Heating & Cooling segment declined 36.2 per cent due to a fall in rebates, Bathrooms & Kitchens declined by 14.6 per cent due to weak volumes, and Doors & Access declined 22.9 per cent on performance issues in Gliderol.
We retain a Hold given our view that the current share price approximates fair value. While it is reasonable to expect GWA Group to trade at a premium to the market given its current trough cycle earnings and exposure to a recovery in building activity, the extent of this recovery remains uncertain, it said. (ASX: GWA)
However, the shares fell away by around 10 cents after the results release, despite a record first half with revenue up 32 per cent and net profit up 19 per cent. On a statutory basis, revenue was up 52 per cent and profit after tax up 323 per cent. Qube said it had strong growth across both its Ports & Bulk and Logistics divisions.
The fully franked interim dividend is 2.2 cents per share, up 10 per cent. The payout ratio is 54 per cent of Qubes underlying earnings per share.
Managing director Maurice James said The demand for Qubes port rail services continued to increase, with Qubes rail business benefiting from the availability of the locomotives and wagons acquired in the previous financial year. Qube has secured several new rail contracts and expects to acquire further rolling stock during the second half of FY 2013.
Qubes development at Victoria Dock to provide additional hardstand capacity is well progressed and should be completed around the end of the current financial year.
The properties in the Strategic Assets division continued to generate an attractive yield, and underlying revenue rose to $12.9 million, reflecting Qubes Moorebank investment being consolidated for the entire period whereas Qubes 30 per cent interest was equity accounted in the prior period.
Qube is continuing to
actively engage with key stakeholders to gain the necessary approvals
to progress the development of an inland terminal and related logistics
activities on its site at
Planning is underway for the long term use of the Minto site, said Mr James.
Director Yutaka Nakagawa has resigned, and Alan Miles, who was an alternate director, is the new director. (ASX: QUB)
Tox Free Solutions
The growth was assisted by acquisitions, including DoloMatrix International, and the commencement of hazardous waste services in Tasmania.
As is normal, there is no interim dividend.
The company has sold Entech International including Entech China, which were part of DoloMatrix and had been making losses, to focus on Australia.
Tox Free said its tender book is at an all time high with a number of tender's submitted pending award. It has given more resources to its business development team to focus on organic growth.
The first half of financial year 2013 has started well and the Company is confident we can continue this performance into the remainder of financial year 2013, said managing director, Steve Gostlow. (ASX: TOX)
Some of the recent movements may be associated with short selling as Citigroup became a substantial shareholder on 15 February and ceased being a substantial shareholder on 21 February. (ASX: EAX)
Broker Ord Minnett said it retains a Buy recommendation and an increased target price of $2.70 which reflects a change in our discount rate, a solid cashflow result and circa 23 cents per share for the gas business which implicitly underpins the valuation. (ASX: EPW)
The company has maintained its 22 per cent increase in share price and market capitalization since January. (ASX: GAP)
The interim dividend is the same at 21 cents fully franked.
Sales were impacted by the challenging trading conditions in the building and construction industry in both Australia and New Zealand, said the company, prompting it to continue to manage costs tightly. The current economic conditions are expected to continue well into 2013.
Reece opened 10 new outlets during the first half, including the acquisition of an independent plumbing business with two branches. It now has 456 outlets in Australia and 7 in New Zealand. It also refurbished some trade and showroom outlets.
Net assets $16 million to $722 million through retained profits.
The company said Customer satisfaction remains the number one business priority with focus on improving service levels and product offerings to our customers. The Company has implemented further enhancements to the on line offering and continued to introduce new products. (ASX: REH)
Tag Pacific reported a net loss of $1.5 million on revenue of $30.6 million for the December half. This compares with revenue of $38 million and a profit of $4.8 million in the December 2011 half.
The company said the outlook for the second half of the 2013 financial year is more positive, and if it returns to profitability and pays a final dividend, Eco Investor will look at upgrading the stock.
The major contributor to the loss was a 20 per cent fall in revenue compared to the December 2011, based on the downturn in the residential rooftop solar market and general economic conditions that hampered sales of MPowers core distribution products.
The company also said the timing difference between the completion of existing contracts and the start of the next series of specialized projects was significant in limiting profitability and generating.
Integration costs of $0.5 million also contributed to the loss.
Although the residential rooftop solar market has been volatile, commercial and off grid solar appear to have healthier prospects, said Tag. The sophistication that the wider MPower group can bring to remote stand alone systems; hybrid diesel/ solar integration; grid stability and power storage are competitive advantages that significantly advance the companys prospects.
The company remains confident of its future and anticipates continued growth, it said. (ASX: TAG)
Interest Rate Securities
Transpacific SPS Trust
Unlisted Share Funds
Australian Ethical Smaller
She is a former Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and has assisted clients with advice and assurance for financial statement audit opinions, accounting and regulatory developments, capital raisings, accounting complex transactions, due diligence, valuations, compliance, risk management, organizational structure and the operation of controls.
Australian Ethical Investment manages the Australian Ethical Smaller Companies Trust, Climate Advocacy Fund and Australian Ethical International Equities Trust.
Climate Advocacy Fund
A relaunch is consistent with the recent significant changes in the Funds strategy, such as no longer being an index fund and instead using an ethically screened active investment style.
Unlisted Property Funds
Aspen Parks Property Fund
Aspen holds an 8.7 per cent equity interest in APPF. The fund paid Aspen $4 million for management services in the half, down $0.3 million on the comparable 2011-12 period due to lower non recurring performance fees.
The Funds focus is further investment in its portfolio. Aspen said to date $19.6 million of capital expenditure has been approved and is underway across six parks. The strategy is to increase accommodation capacity at a number of parks and improve amenity for residents and visitors.
The Funds gearing fell to 26 per cent at December from 31 per cent at June 2012.
Fund operations for the first six months have seen a change in the mix of income, with many of the tourism properties performing above budget, offset by a softening in revenue from mining accommodation, said Aspen.
Energy World Corporation
The company expects to complete the 60MW gas turbine expansion at the Sengkang Power Plant in Indonesia this month.
It expects to complete the construction and installation of the first train of the Sengkang LNG Project by the end of first quarter 2014.
It envisages it will complete the construction of the Philippines LNG Hub and associated works around the end of 2013. (ASX: EWC)
Transpacific Industries Group
Broker Ord Minnett said Transpacific Industries remains a business with significant financial leverage, exposed to domestic production activity and, as such, at the current share price, we would look for signs of a recovery in industry volumes before revisiting the investment case. It has a Hold recommendation. (ASX: TPI)
Net tangible assets per share were 19 cents, up from 15 cents in December 2011.
Carbon Conscious director Andrew McBain has indirectly acquired 50,000 shares at 5 cents each. (ASX: CCF)
The sale of solar projects in Italy and the US, equity close on the Taralga Wind Farm with partner, Banco Santander, and a return to profitability by subsidiaries Parmac and Captech were the main contributors to the improvement.
There was also significant cost cutting in the Australian solar business. Further solar announcements will be made in coming weeks, said executive chairman, Gerry McGowan.
Our operations now span Asia, Europe, the US and Australia and winning projects in all these markets has not only returned the company to profitability but established a significant pipeline of forward work. Additionally all subsidiaries are performing to plan, he said on the turnaround.
Liquidity is an issue and among initiatives is a share purchase plan in coming months before the planned NASDAQ listing.
This would allow all shareholders to benefit from what CBD considers to be an undervalued share price and provide the company the necessary funding to carry on the good performance achieved in the first half, he said. (ASX: CBD)
Clean TeQ Holdings
We are in advanced discussions with a major global engineering services company which could result in the opening of a global market for our proprietary water technology platform, he said.
Our resource recovery initiative in light metals continues to provide very encouraging results which should lead to a commercial outcome over the next year.
Revenue fell to $3.8 million from $4.4 million the previous December half.
The net loss was due to unsatisfactory margins on some projects in the Air Division based on delivery issues and subsequent cost overruns.
The company remains optimistic about the results for the full year provided the Licence Fee associated with the Japan joint venture is released prior to June and we remain successful in submitted projects. At 31 December 2012 the Company had $0.578 million in cash and a further $0.366 million held on deposit, he said. (ASX: CLQ)
Half year revenue fell from $132 million to $98.8 million.
The result reflect CMAs ongoing restructuring which over the past four months has included the sale of some non core assets and further reductions in global headcount, said the company. In these four months, asset sales raised more than $2.6 million with the proceeds used to repay bank debt.
Managing director, John Pedersen, said the current program to lower operating costs and focus on core assets will build on the restructuring measures implemented due to the global market downturn.
The improved focus on managing working capital on a site by site basis is already evident and the closure of unprofitable yards will allow CMA to trade more profitably as a group and deliver positive cash flows, he said.
The two major shareholders have also provided a letter of support to assist with ongoing trading in the next 12 months. (ASX: CMV)
The period was one of considerable change and the result from continuing operations bears much of the cost of these changes, said chairman Louis Niederer.
Revenue fell from $16.9 million to $11.7 million, due to the absence of revenue of EGL Management Services Pty Ltd, which was placed into liquidation in August last year, and reduced revenues from Mine Assist due to the reduction in activity in the coal industry.
Mr Niederer said the standout performer was Total Air Pollution Control Pty Ltd (TAPC), which reported a profit before tax for the half of $1.3 million on revenue of $6.4 million. During the half year, the Gas and Vapour business was integrated into the TAPC business.
The combination creates a complete offering for TAPC in its area of expertise, he said. Vapour was a significant business for EGL prior to the GFC and a sales manager has been appointed to reinvigorate the business.
Gas & Vapour was awarded a $1 million contract to design and build a gas scrubbing system for the Nui Phao project in Vietnam. Also in the half, TAPC completed a complex fabric filter system for Dulux paints in Brisbane and completed a major rebuild of an electrostatic precipitator at BHP Billitons Olympic Dam project. (ASX: EGL)
Novarise Renewable Resources
Sales revenue was up slightly to $82.4 million from $80.3 million, and total revenue was up 5 per cent to $87.3 million.
The company said sales in recycled PP yarn and PP webbing products grew due to continued growth of market acceptance of its products. During 2012 the company began marketing finished products such as notebook bags, shopping bags, hotel slippers and work clothing.
In 2012, the company won a silver award for environmentally friendly computer bags, hotel slippers and its renewable polypropylene fibre spinning process at an innovations exhibition in Fuzhou.
It obtained nine utility model patent certificates from China for backpack, satchel, storage box, waist pack, computer bag, work cloths, slippers, shopping bags, and mountaineering bags.
The completed Nanan production facility will be capable of producing 200,000 tonnes of PP products per year. The first production line was commissioned last October. Another four production lines are now being installed, with two scheduled to be in production in April and the other two scheduled for commissioning in June. Another three production lines are scheduled to be installed in May and to be brought online in October.
The company said a loan of RMB 263,400,000 ($40,293,713) to a Xiamen based company, Leiqiang Company, will be repaid in full in June. (ASX: NOE)
The statutory profit was $387,000 against a December 2011 loss of $1.8 million.
Revenue from continuing operations was up to $23.1 million from $21 million.
The Environmental Services Division saw a recent improvement in sales activity and the Group expects its results to improve in the second half. (ASX: QTM)
Chairman David Richardson said the Australian solar PV market continued to contract in the six months to December.
Structural challenges to the sector globally, (i.e. global manufacturing over supply, domestic wholesale/ retail servicing over supply), continue to have a negative impact on Solcos net profit, primarily in the form of declining turnover levels and stock value write downs relating to our wholesale operations, he said.
In light of this continued market contraction the Board has taken the prudent position to write down items relating to goodwill carried forward from the Choice Electric acquisition, and to de-recognize our deferred tax assets from the published accounts.
Positive results from our operational improvements introduced since June 2012 saw a fourfold increase in our gross profit on the same period last year. Particularly pleasing were the gross margin improvements coming as a result of our focus on the lower volume, but higher margin, Solar Pumping and Off-Grid sectors in the wholesale business, with reduced outgoings in corporate expenses.
Solar pumping has grown to 30 per cent of product sales.
The company is looking for suitable merger and acquisition partners. (ASX: SOO)
Ceramic Fuel Cells
The company recorded a loss of $12.6 million for the December half year, similar to the loss of $12.4 million for the December 2011 half.
The company saw a fall in revenue to $2.5 million from $3.3 million in the half to 31 December 2011, although sales volumes were up by 34 per cent to 90 units. Chief executive, Bob Kennett, said Total revenue was down due to a reduction in the selling price of the units to drive sales volumes. This is part of a longer term pricing strategy to increase sales volume.
Total cumulative orders received to the end of December were 661 units - 394 BlueGen units and 267 integrated mCHP units. Of these, orders for 329 units have been fulfilled and the remaining open orders of 332 units are expected to be supplied in 2013.
The company is expanding sales forces in response to the growing opportunities in Germany and UK. (ASX: CFU)
Galaxy Resources has settled the second tranche of a $20 million funding facility with Deutsche Bank following the recommencement of operations at the Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate Plant in China. Galaxy received $10 million under the two tranche financing arrangement with Deutsche Bank. The first $10 million settled in 17 December last year.
The raising comprised an equity placement and call option transactions. The placement consisted of 48 million new shares at 41.67 cents per share. (ASX: GXY)
Micro Cap Companies
Sales revenue for the six months fell slightly to $2.1 million. Sales fell in all the geographies except Asia. (ASX: CNN)
The company said the result reflects the final phase of its transition in the last 18 months and the restructure of its business model to incorporate the three sustainability divisions of water, energy and food.
The result includes Green Invests start up costs for its Green Plumbers operations in the US, the online Green Building Store in Australia, preliminary transaction costs for the funding proposal announced in December, and the settlement of a legacy legal issue which cost the company about $300,000, said chairman, Peter McCoy.
In December 2012, Green Invest signed a term sheet for a $5.8 million funding proposal of debt, equity and a convertible debenture to acquire aquaculture assets from Ecofish International Pty Ltd and RAD Aqua so it can launch its food division and to pursue growth in South East Asia, and in particular Singapore.
The company has raised $52,000 in a placement to sophisticated investors at 5.2 cents per share. (ASX: GNV)
Intermoco has December half revenue of $1.5 million and a loss of $1.1 million.
It also said that Copulos Groups extended convertible notes are for $300,000 not $410,000 as previously advised. (ASX: INT)
Orbital will make a profit of US$1.5 million on the sale and increase its cash to $10 million. The cash will fund growth.
Orbital made a half year profit of $147,000 compared with $103,000 in the December 2011 half. Revenue was static at $13 million. Little revenue growth is expected in the alternative fuels business in the second half. (ASX: OEC)
The company said it was its best ever six months performance.
In recent times the company has restructured to increase focus on business development. Its current Practices that have a Practice Leader driving business development are: Air Quality, Carbon and Climate, Acoustics, Toxicology, Ambient Monitoring, Emission Monitoring, and Technologies. (ASX: PEH)
Phoslock Water Solutions
The company said revenue was affected by a number of orders being delayed from October December 2012 to the first half of 2013. Sales orders received from 1 January to late February total $450,000.
Phoslock and its licensees are currently working on 64 projects, of which six are over $1 million in value, 30 have a value of $100,000 to $1 million, and 28 are in the $20,000 to $100,000 range. (ASX: PHK)
However, the total loss fell considerably to $1.7 million from $6.1 million.
Bruce Brown received 397,849 shares and Howard Stack 522,560 shares in lieu of directors fees. (ASX: RFX)
The 15 per cent revenue growth was due to additional marketing across the whole company.
Refresh said all four operating segments are profitable and the growth trend is anticipated to continue.
Capital expenditure is necessary for the Company to improve its productivity. $127k was spent to upgrade existing plant and equipment and acquire new assets, it said. (ASX: RGP)
The improvement was mainly due to lower operating costs from ongoing rationalization of operations and more streamlined processes.
In November Vmoto dual listed on the UKs AIM market, and paid one off costs to its advisors.
The company said 2013 will be another extremely busy year. With PowerEagle production ramping up, the companys focus is to ensure those orders are met. (ASX: VMT)
The company had a very strong jump in revenue in the December half to $6.3 million from $3.8 million in the December 2011 half year.
However, it made a loss of $5.6 million.
The companys focus in 2013 is to increase gas production from the Meridian SeamGas gas fields through the commissioning of recently drilled wells, work overs of existing producing wells and new enhancement methods. (ASX: WCL)
Lynas said it has been working through early stage production issues that are typical for a start up plant, and is focusing on increasing throughput. The target for the Phase 1 nameplate production capacity of 11,000 tonnes per annum of REO is the second quarter.
Broker Ord Minnett says the predominant risk for Lynas is weak rare earths prices. (ASX: LYC)
Micro Cap Companies
BluGlass has demonstrated its p GaN films grown at low temperature have electrical properties equivalent to films grown using the industry standard high temperature MOCVD process. The electrical properties have been independently verified by The Australian National University, a leading university in semiconductor physics.
BluGlass says it is now in a position to commence experiments targeting improved LED device efficiency using RPCVD grown p GaN layers to demonstrate the commercial value of a low temperature technology.
The breakthrough follows the companys proof of concept milestone late last year.
Chief executive Giles Bourne said The technology team is making increasingly rapid progress in the development of our platform technology and technical milestones to prove the competitive advantages of the low temperature RPCVD technology.
With a lower growth temperature than MOCVD, the RPCVD technology has the potential to allow LED manufacturers to create higher performing devices by reducing the multiquantum well or active regions exposure to high temperatures which leads to a performance loss.
The next goal is to demonstrate improved LED light output (lumens per watt) by creating devices using the BluGlass low temperature p GaN layer.
Chief technology officer Dr Ian Mann said The next steps will see the technology focus on demonstrating that a low temperature p GaN layer can improve an LEDs efficiency over existing commercial devices. We aim to do this by making a test LED device using RPCVD to grow p GaN on top of an MOCVD grown partial LED structure and to subsequently measure the light output of the device. (ASX: BLG)
Carnegie Wave Energy
The funding is for the design and construction of a $2.5million Desalination Plant to produce fresh water, and which will be powered by hydraulic energy from an offshore CETO system.
The aim is to demonstrate that Carnegies wave energy driven technology has the potential to reduce the amounts of electricity consumed and greenhouse gas emissions produced compared to current seawater desalination processes.
The Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, said This world first process has the potential to reduce the electricity consumption of traditional desalination plants by up to 90 per cent.
Carnegie's chief operating officer, Greg Allen said the ability of CETO to produce both clean power and water is a significant advantage of the technology, and the project is planned to be integrated into the Perth Wave Energy Project.
The Perth Wave Energy Project is due to begin construction shortly with power production to commence in early 2014. The construction of the desalination pilot will follow power production.
Carnegies licence agreement with the Australian Department of Defence allows for the production and supply of fresh water to the HMAS Stirling navy base on Garden Island.
The grant, under the Clean Technology Innovation Program, is subject to conditions including a funding agreement, an AusIndustry review of the budget, and the delivery of the Perth Wave Energy Project. (ASX: CWE)
During an initial six month exclusivity period, Dyesol and Tasnee will discuss a further investment up to a total of $20 million, partnership and investment possibilities around R&D collaboration, large scale production share, and potential demonstration projects in the Middle East.
Dyesol is to hold a share purchase plan at 16.6 cents per share to raise another $2 million and enable shareholders to invest alongside Tasnee.
Tasnee is a $5 billion diversified industrials company on the Saudi Arabian Stock Exchange and the world's second largest producer of titanium dioxide. It owns several titanium mines in Australia, mainly through its acquisition of Bemax Resources. Its subsidiary, Cristal, has been working with Dyesol UK since 2009 to develop nano titania for use in Dyesol's steel project with Tata Steel Europe. Nano titania is a semi conductor and a key material in the manufacture of DSC photovoltaic solar cells.
Tasnee will have the right to invest up to $20 million during the exclusivity period at 18 cents per share. Shareholder approval will be needed if the holding goes beyond 20 per cent.
Dr Talal Bin Ali Al Shair, Cristal's chairman and chief executive, said We are so passionate about titanium from mining to pigments to specialty chemicals and beyond. Titanium is at the heart of all we do, and this strategic investment in Dyesol marks our commitment to pioneering innovation, constant product and process improvement, and our leading role in contributing to creating a brighter and cleaner world.
Dyesol executive chairman Richard Caldwell said Tasnee has demonstrated great commitment to the successful commercialization of our Dye Solar Cell technology, both through participation in long term R&D programs and now through its expression of intent by investment in a convertible note. Tasnee has a very strong balance sheet and interest to diversify its activities into renewable energy. Dyesol looks forward to exploring mutually beneficial opportunities. (ASX: DYE)
Earth Heat Resources
Chairman Dr Raymond Shaw told the companys annual general meeting that a corporate review identified a need for a sweeping change in portfolio assets and that these will be in the conventional and unconventional oil and gas sector.
The companys geothermal energy strategy is too hard to implement due to funding issues.
Mr Shaw said that 2012 had been a very tough year and Argentinas political situation weighed heavily on finding project funding. The near complete lack of interest in the sector in Australia and overseas coupled with significant challenges in general capital markets contributed to a lack of ability to fund the project, he said.
Without an equity funding portion, the debt instruments announced by the company cannot close. Yet no change to those underlying issues can be sensibly viewed as occurring over the next 12 months, he said.
Earth Heat is in discussions with its joint venture partner to divest or withdraw from the project.
Earth Heat will try to extract value out of its existing geothermal assets. However, this is clearly a third activity after its first preference for oil and second preference for gas, and the company will rename itself to better recognize its new plans. (ASX: EHR)
During the year Enerji raised a total of $3,804,561 through the issue of securities.
On 1 March the company said it had raised another $570,000 at 0.6 cents per share. It also issued attaching listed options exerciseable at 3 cents each by 30 June 2015. (ASX: ERJ)
In a presentation to shareholders, K2 said it is targeting its first commercial licensing agreement in 2013, with royalty based payments to commence in 2014-15.
The company is focused on the commercialization phase of its MST CMOS technology, with 95 per cent in the chip industry.
A new management team with considerable semiconductor industry experience was engaged in 2012, and evaluation of MST is underway with some of the worlds leading semiconductor manufacturing companies, it said. (ASX: KTE)
Liquefied Natural Gas
In other news, the Office of Fossil Energy in the US Department of Energy (DOE) has authorized LNG subsidiary Magnolia LNG, LLC to export up to 4 million tonnes per annum of LNG from its proposed LNG project site at the Port of Lake Charles in Louisiana.
The authorization is valid for LNG sales to commence within 10 years and is for a period of 25 years from the first LNG sales.
The Magnolia LNG Project will utilize LNGs OSMRR LNG process technology. (ASX: LNG)
The companys shares and market capitalization have been declining for the past year and on 1 March reached an all time low of 9.1 cents. (ASX: MEL)
MAP Capital will provide an independent strategic view of Papyrus and its opportunities to better exploit its intellectual property for converting waste banana tree trunks to timber products. It will assist with discussions and negotiations with existing joint venture partners and those introduced by MAP Capital in Australia and overseas. It will also advise on short and medium term capital raising approaches to improve shareholder value.
Papyrus continues to support the Papyrus Egypt project for the development of a factory and financing for the purchase of its machinery. However, it said that the potential investors in Egypt are challenged by the fact that this is a first project and the financial institutions are presently influenced by the fact that Papyrus Egypt does not have a track record for production and that the Egyptian economic and political situation is not stable.
So Papyrus will not release the machinery until the joint venture partner, EBFC, pays for it. Negotiations have been very protracted but continue, said Papyrus.
The Board continues to review the decision to establish the first commercial operating banana fibre factory in Egypt, especially in the light of more recent civil unrest in Egypt. (ASX: PPY)
Eco Investor Update
Search Eco Investor