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Eco Investor Update

A Weekly News Update for Environmental Investors

28 February 2011 - No 22
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ASX 100

AGL Energy
AGL Energy reported a net profit after tax for the 2010-11 December half in line with guidance - $239.6 million, up 30.4 per cent on the December 2009 half year.

Underlying net profit after tax was $226.2 million compared to $234.8 million.

AGL said a much lower than expected contribution from the investment in the Loy Yang A power station brought the overall result down 3.7 per cent on that for the previous period. Managing director, Michael Fraser, said the poor contribution from Loy Yang is not expected to improve in the second half.

Underlying earnings were 49.9 cents per share, down 4.8 per cent. The interim dividend stays at 29 cents per share unfranked.

AGL said it remains on track for a full year underlying profit of between $415 million and $440 million.

Torrential rain during the period saw dam levels at Eildon and Dartmouth in Victoria increase from 31 and 30 per cent to 68 and 53 per cent respectively, and allowed the Dartmouth Power Station to be progressively re-commissioned. Its current operational capacity is 132 MW.

During the half year AGL booked its first gas reserves for its interests in the Hunter Valley in NSW. However the company continues to receive criticism over its approach to handling coal seam gas, most recently on an ABC TV Four Corners program. (ASX: AGK

APA Group
APA Group recorded a 10.4 per cent increase in net profit to $70 million for the December 2010 half year.

Although operating cash flow per security was down 2 per cent to 31 cents, the half year distribution is up 4.8 per cent to 16.5 cents.

Earnings (EBITDA) were helped with a one off $9.8 million benefit from the commissioning of the North Brown Hill Wind Farm owned by EII2, in which APA owns a 20 per cent interest.

EII2 acquired the North Brown Hill Wind Farm from AGL in October 2009. The wind farm's construction was completed ahead of schedule and all turbines were connected to the grid by December 2010. Final handover from the constructor is due in June 2011.

During the period APA spent $100 million to expand its Queensland, NSW and Victorian assets and commenced the initial stages of expanding its Mondarra Gas Storage Facility in WA.

"Natural gas remains a growing and integral part of Australia's energy mix and we expect APA's organic growth capital expenditure to continue, at least at current levels, for the foreseeable future, said managing director, Mick McCormack.

APA has updated its full year EBITDA guidance towards the upper end of the range $480 million to $490 million including the EII2 one-off equity accounted adjustment, while net interest cost is expected to remain within a range of $240 million to $245 million.

It expects total distributions will increase by at least 5 per cent for the full financial year, with these fully covered by operating cash flow. (ASX: APA)

DUET
DUET is reducing its corporate debt facility with a $45.6 million pro rata equity investment in the Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline.

Including that of its partners, the full $76 million of equity will allow Dampier to Bunbury Pipeline repay part of its $108 million subordinated debt instrument to DUET.

DUET will use the $76 million to reduce its corporate debt facility by $30.4 million. (ASX: DUE)

Origin Energy
Origin Energy has had a busy week with its Australia Pacific LNG project gaining Federal environmental approval and its first, albeit non-binding, client, while Origin itself and its half owned New Zealand subsidiary announced their half year results.

Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between Origin and ConocoPhillips. gained Federal environmental approval for its coal seam gas (CSG) to liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Queensland, but with approval conditional on a large number of environmental strategies and ongoing monitoring and reporting requirements. These are in addition to conditions required by the Queensland Government.

Australia Pacific LNG's first potential client is China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec). The two companies have signed a Heads of Agreement establishing non-binding commercial terms for the supply of up to 4.3 million tonnes per annum of LNG for 20 years.

It also covers Sinopec subscribing for a 15 per cent interest in Australia Pacific LNG, reducing ConocoPhillips' and Origin Energy's ownership interest to 42.5 per cent each.

Australia Pacific LNG and Sinopec expect to sign binding agreements in the near future. The first LNG cargo is expected in 2015.

The project involves the development of Australia Pacific LNG's CSG resources in the Surat and Bowen Basins; building a 450 kilometre transmission pipeline; and construction of a multi-train LNG facility on Curtis Island near Gladstone.

However, on another front, Origin appears to be meeting resistance from some environmental investors over its recent acquisition from the NSW government of the output of the Eraring coal fired power station.

Origin reported a loss of $136 million for the December half year. The result included $440 million of expenses that do not reflect underlying business performance, among them the impairment of Origin's investments in the Innamincka Deeps Joint Venture and Geodynamics Ltd, stamp duty and costs for Origin's acquisition of NSW Government energy assets, and changes in the fair value of financial instruments.

Underlying earnings (EBITDA) was up 16 per cent to $818 million on the prior corresponding half. "Importantly," it said, "underlying EBITDA before exploration expenses was $915 million, up 26 per cent and Group operating cash flow after tax of $794 million was up 87 per cent."

Underlying profit of $304 million for the six months to 31 December 2010 was a decrease of 14 per cent on the prior corresponding period, mainly due to increased exploration expenses and a higher effective tax rate.

Underlying earnings per share fell 15 per cent to 34.4 cents. The interim fully franked dividend remains at 25 cents per share.

Origin expects underlying EBITDA to rise by about 35 per cent in 2010-11 and underlying profit to rise by around 10 to 15 per cent, "with the range reflecting the timing of any equity raising".

In New Zealand Contact Energy's interim profit after tax was down 3.8 per cent to NZ$83.7 million.

Contact has committed to construct the 166 megawatt Te Mihi geothermal project. Two units of 83 MW each with expected net output of 159 MW will be constructed near the 52 year-old Wairakei geothermal power station, northwest of Taupo.

When completed in mid 2013, 45 megawatts of the existing Wairakei geothermal station will be decommissioned, giving a net increase in output from the combined Te Mihi and Wairakei stations of about 114 megawatts.

The total cost of the project is approximately NZ $623 million, which will be funded by debt and equity. A pro-rata renounceable rights issue will be held in the near term, and Origin Energy has said it will subscribe for its share.

Contact believes that geothermal is currently New Zealand's most cost effective new base load energy generation option.

Contact Energy has also received the draft decision regarding its proposed Hauauru ma raki wind development on the west coast of the North Island in the Waikato region.

The draft decision proposes to grant resource consents for 168 wind turbines and designation for the transmission lines. Hauauru ma raki will generate up to 504 megawatts, enough to power around 170,000 average homes. (ASX: ORG)

ASX 200

Envestra
Envestra's shares reached a two year high of 61 cents the day before it announced an interim profit after tax of $35 million, up 9 per cent on the previous half-year. Underlying profit after tax increased by 19 per cent to $37 million.

Revenue from continuing operations was up 9 per cent to $226 million. But net borrowing costs rose 16 per cent to $85.7 million, due to higher interest costs on recently refinanced debt, and higher indexation costs on capital indexed bonds.

The company will pay a 2.75 cent unfranked interim dividend.

The company has increased its previously foreshadowed full year net profit after tax of around $40 million to between $41 million and $45 million. (ASX: ENV)

Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund
Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund saw its 2010 full year net profit after tax fall 29.5 per cent to minus $37 million.

Excluding non-operating items the result was a rise in profit of 33.3 per cent to $39.9 million.

HDF said a Epic Energy put in a solid operating performance with normalised EBITDA for the year of $98.7 million, 10.4 per cent ahead of 2009. This reflected the increase in revenue from annual CPI adjustments under Epic's Take or Pay agreements across its three pipelines, as well additional non-firm flows on the South West Queensland Pipeline (SWQP) and Moomba to Adelaide Pipeline System (MAPS) due to favourable weather conditions, and the benefit of 12 months of revenue from the Karratha lateral on the Pilbara Pipeline System.

Operating cash receipts from South East Water of $24.5 million were up 14.6 per cent. During the year HDF sold its interest in SEW for £124.5 million, which translated to proceeds of $206 million with the benefit of foreign exchange hedging receipts. (ASX: HDF)

Infigen Energy
Infigen Energy's securities hit an all time low of 42 cents on the day it announced its half year results to 31 December 2010.

Infigen said the December half had been a challenging period, with adverse factors such as foreign exchange movements and depressed energy markets in Australia and the US more than offsetting improved wind conditions, improved operational performance, and contributions from recently completed assets.

The interim net loss after tax was $34.4 million compared to a loss of $18.6 million the prior corresponding period. This was mainly due to higher net financing costs associated with an early interest rate swap termination, a lower net contribution from US Institutional Equity Partnerships and low merchant electricity prices.

On the positive side operating capacity increased 2 per cent 1,726 MW, production increased 17 per cent to 2,282 GWH, and revenue rose 2 per cent to $137.8 million. Net debt fell 4 per cent to $1,149 million, and corporate costs fell by 18 per cent to $8.5 million.

The interim distribution is 1 cent per security.

Managing director, Miles George said "Improved wind conditions and better operational performance helped deliver a 17 per cent increase in production to near the top end of earlier production guidance.

"However revenue from the Australian business was affected by difficult electricity and Renewable Energy Certificate market conditions, and revenue from our US and German businesses was adversely affected by the appreciation of the Australian dollar."

Mr George said the wind resource and production has improved across the US and he expects this to continue for the rest of the year. He also expects the German portfolio to have a stronger second half.

Full year production is expected to be within the original guidance range of 4,582 GWH to 4,878 GWh.

"From a revenue perspective some recovery in electricity and REC prices is expected, but this improvement is likely to continue to be slow.

"We expect the market for off take contracts to gradually pick up momentum. As a result of the strong performance of the Australian economy compared with the US and Europe, we expect that the AUD will remain at or around the current level for the remainder of the financial year. Adjusting original revenue guidance for current FX assumptions we now expect revenue for the full year to be between $277.8 million and $295.3 million," he said. (ASX: IFN)

Transpacific Industries Group
Transpacific Industries Group reported December half net profit after tax of $24.3 million, the same as for the December 2009 half year.

Chief executive officer Kevin Campbell said "Transpacific has generated pleasing growth across many of its businesses, with the core waste operations performing satisfactorily during the first half as generally improving economic conditions flowed into increased waste volumes and revenue; however, competition for contracts remains strong.

"Offsetting performance in the core waste business was a disappointing result in Commercial Vehicle and Manufacturing, and adverse foreign currency movements affecting translation of otherwise positive New Zealand earnings."

Operating cash flow was down 10.6 per cent to $95.8 million while borrowings were reduced by $76.8 million. Undrawn facilities were $175 million.

There is no interim dividend as the focus is on reducing debt.

"The board expects incremental growth in core waste management businesses should deliver growth in EBITDA on 1H11 subject to the macro environment remaining stable. The Commercial Vehicles Group order book suggests improved EBITDA in the second half of 2011 relative to the first half, while improved activity will deliver some benefit for the manufacturing business, although margins are expected to remain below historical levels," said the company. (ASX: TPI)

ASX 300

Ceramic Fuel Cells
Shares in Ceramic Fuel Cells hit a 12 month low of 12 cents soon after the company announced its December half results. The loss was $8.4 million.

Although revenue from continuing operations fell from $1.5 million to $0.9 million, the company said that in contrast to previous periods the revenue was primarily from actual product sales. Until recently, most revenue has been one-offs earned from the company's utility partners in Germany, France and the United Kingdom for designing, developing and installing integrated mCHP products.

"The company now foresees smoother revenue streams as sales of its BlueGen product increase substantially during 2011. Accordingly in the current half-year the majority of revenue has been earned from BlueGen sales," it said.

"The company expects revenue from the integrated product to increase in the coming year, particularly as a result of the order for up to 200 units placed by EWE in December 2010."

As required by accounting standards, the company recognises revenue from BlueGen sales when the unit is installed onsite and progressively over the contracted support period. "From when the company signs the order with the customer until the unit is delivered and installed, the company has a ‘backlog' of contracted orders worth $8.8 million." This amount will be progressively recognised as the units are delivered.

Further sales are expected.

Ceramic Fuel Cells said that subject to it meeting agreed price and performance targets, E.ON UK will place a minimum order of 100,000 units from 2012-2018 in order to retain exclusivity for Ceramic Fuel Cells' mCHP products in the UK market.

In France Ceramic Fuel Cells and partner GDF SUEZ France have agreed to the next stage of the product rollout, in which Ceramic Fuel Cells and BDR Thermea will build the next iteration of product for testing by GDF SUEZ. This version will use the same core Ceramic Fuel Cells components, which BDR Thermea will integrate with a high efficiency boiler into a physically smaller unit. (ASX: CFU)

Geodynamics
Geodynamics has appointed Michel Marier as a non-executive director. This follows the May 2008 placement with Sunsuper Pty Ltd and The Sentient Group where those parties have the collective right to appoint a director.

Mr Marier replaces Pieter Britz, who has resigned as a non-executive director due to increased responsibilities within The Sentient Group. Mr Marier joined The Sentient Group in 2009 and he is based in Montreal, Canada.

Before joining Sentient, Mr Marier worked wight years at the Private Equity division of la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). His responsibilities included currency hedging and risk and return analysis to investments.

Mr Marier holds a Master's degree in finance from HEC Montreal. He is a CFA charter holder and a former director of Natural Resources USA Corp. (ASX: GDY)

Tassal Group
Tassal has ended further discussions with interested parties about a possible change of control transaction, as the price indicated by one party, $1.90 per share, was well below the price objective of many key shareholders.

The board also thought this price significantly undervalued Tassal.

"Tassal's board determined that the prospects of a successful change of control transaction at this indicative price would be remote and hence, that it would not be in the best interests of all shareholders to incur the costs and management distraction required to permit further detailed due diligence," it said.

Tassal has also considered strategic alliances and has held preliminary discussions with its largest shareholder, Pacific Andes Resources Development Limited.

Pacific Andes is an integrated fishing and fish processing company with a strong distribution network across Asia, particularly China. The discussions identified a number of possible initiatives, including Pacific Andes marketing and distributing Tassal salmon products across its Asian network, leveraging Tassal's reputation for high quality products, and Tassal packaging and marketing selected fish products sourced from Pacific Andes for the Australian market.

Tassal said the discussions are in their infancy but have potential to enhance shareholder value. (ASX: TGR)

Tox Free Solutions
Tox Free Solutions's revenue for the December half year was $65.2 million, an increase of 40 per cent on the previous corresponding half year.

However, net profit after tax fell 16 per cent to $3.4 million. This includes the write off of Grass Valley Formulators Pty Ltd, which went into liquidation owing Tox Free $1.755 million, and share based accruals.

Operationally the company said it performed very well with the majority of its business units achieving or exceeding their financial targets.

"The exceptional growth of Tox Free since 2005 has seen a twenty times increase in revenue and 10 times increase in earnings (EBIT). Employee numbers have increased from 20 to 490 with 26 operations around Australia," it said.

The company says it has a significant number of growth opportunities available. (ASX: TOX)

Emerging Companies

CBD Energy
Shares in CBD Energy have reached a new one year high of 17.5 cents. The ASX sought an explanation but CBD said it was not aware of any unannounced information that could explain the trading. In early February CBD announced strong half year results. (ASX: CBD)

CO2 Group
CO2 Group appears to be an early beneficiary of the Federal Government's announcement to implement a carbon tax.

A sharp increase in CO2's share price from 15.5 cents to 22 cents drew an ASX query to which CO2 said the rise may have been caused by the prime minister's announcement that day about introducing a carbon tax.

Fellow carbon sequester, Carbon Conscious also received a share boost and ASX query. (ASX: COZ)

DoloMatrix International
DoloMatrix had a strong December half with revenue, EBITDA, and net profit all rising compared to the December 2009 half year.

Net profit after tax was $1.624 million compared to $1.428 million, a half-on-half increase of 13.7 per cent.

Net profit before the expenditure on the bid for WSN was $1.868 million.

Fully diluted earnings per share for the half year were 1.18 cents, an improvement on the over corresponding period's 0.17 cents.

Operating cash flow continues to be positive and consistent, said the company.

"The hazardous waste recycling and waste destruction businesses continued to improve with revenue growth of 8 per cent and an increase in profit before tax of 12.3 per cent. Overall group revenue for the first six months was in line with expectations and all businesses are expected to achieve their full year forecasts," it said.

"Consulting revenue recovered slowly in the half and the recovery is expected to continue into the second half.

"Although there were no Plascon sales in the first half of FY2011, there continues to be a strong pipeline of Plascon enquiries and potential contracts are currently under negotiation."

CVC Sustainable Investments has ceased to be a substantial shareholder, selling 13.8 million shares for $3.2 million, an price of 23.2 cents per share. It sold the shares to parent company CVC Ltd, giving it a 10 per cent interest in Dolomatrix. (ASX: DMX)

Energy Developments
Energy Developments made a net loss of $33.2 million for the December 2010 half year compared to a profit of $8.7 million for the December 2009 half.

The pre tax profit was $19.5 million, and the loss was due to specific items after tax of $46.3 million.

Among these, the company recognized a non cash impairment charge of $34.3 million after tax against the carrying value of the West Kimberley Power Project.

Nonetheless, the company said it had a stable operating performance for the half year, despite the adverse impact of the higher A$.

Cash on hand at 31 December was $71.3 million, up from $56.8 million at 31 December 2009, with undrawn lines totaling $80.8 million.

Net debt was $338.8 million, down $63 million from 31 December 2009, which reflected strong operating cash flows used for debt repayment and the proceeds of sale of the French LFG JV.

Operationally "The installation of a gas conditioning system at the company's 19 MW Carbon Limestone project was completed on time in December 2010, with a 2 MW expansion currently targeted to be completed in March 2011."

This and other operating initiatives are expected to substantially lift generation and lower operating costs at the site in the second half, it said.

Further expansions of five of the company's existing projects totaling over 32 MW have either been committed and are underway or are currently expected to be committed in the second half, underpinned by existing excess gas reserves, and assuming improved PPA pricing and US Federal grant funding.

When completed, the projects are expected to provide a significant uplift in US LFG earnings and cashflows, it said. (ASX: ENE)

Environmental Group
Shares in Environmental Group have hit a 12 month low of 8.1 cents. The company's net loss after tax was $789,000 for the half year to 31 December, 2010. Revenue fell 16 per cent to $12.9 million.

The company's Air Pollution Control products business more than halved, while its Mining Services business grew 17 per cent. (ASX: EGL)

Gale Pacific
Gale Pacific increased net profit after tax for the December half year by $0.5 million or 16 per cent to $3.6 million. The result includes a one off benefit of $0.5 million in lower tax from the tax deductibility of non recoverable interest income from European intercompany loans in prior years.

The result represents earnings of 1.3 cents per share and an interim dividend of 1 cent per share is fully franked.

However, sales fell 9 per cent to $46.6 million due mainly to weak Australian sales of retail shade fabrics, shade umbrellas and exterior window furnishings. The company said this was driven by the severe adverse weather conditions on the east coast and subdued consumer demand.

"The mild and wet weather conditions and generally lower consumer demand in Australia have had a considerable negative impact on sales for the first half year especially when compared to the very hot November/ December in 2009. As a result, Asia Pacific sales were down 14 per cent for the half compared to last year.

"In local currencies the USA operations grew sales by 24 per cent and the Middle East operations by 4 per cent."

"Our manufacturing operations continue to improve with efficiency gains being delivered in both the China and Australian plants, said managing director and chief executive officer, Peter McDonald.

Cooler weather conditions across most of Australia and the January floods in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria will impact the second half year performance in the Australian business unit, he said.

"Further positive cash generation is expected for the second half year as we dramatically reduce inventory levels in the business. This will further reduce net debt and result in lower interest costs in the second half year." (ASX: GAP)

Greencap
Greencap reported half year revenues of $32.41 million, an increase of 10.5 per cent, and recorded a net profit after tax of $2 million, which is 4.8 per cent lower than for the same period in 2009.

The company said the six months saw several one-off costs from the succession of vendor managers in several businesses and the relocation of the corporate office from Western Australia to Victoria, which is closer to the group's main operations.

Andrew Meerman, Greencap's chief executive, said the group's results are on the whole very encouraging. Excluding the one-off costs the group experienced growth in revenue and earnings consistent with its full year projections.

The company said its investment in establishing operations in Indonesia has seen the development of a strong and growing business unit. "This operation allows the group to service a growing demand for better environmental evaluation and management of resource industry developments throughout Asia," it said.

The company is delaying the FY 2010 dividend until the final quarter of the year due to the uncertainty from severe weather events along the east coast. (ASX: GCG)

Qube Logistics
Shares in Qube Logistics have hit an all time high of $1.48 following a strong December half result and a $116.5 million placement.

The placement was to Carlyle Infrastructure Partners (CIP), part of the Carlyle Group, for CIP to subscribe for up to 91,388,476 units in Qube, representing 15 per cent of its post placement capital. The price is $1.275 per unit ex-distribution.

CIP is a global infrastructure fund with US$1.1 billion of capital. It invests in public and private infrastructure projects and businesses in the global transport and logistics sector. The Carlyle Group's global and Asian networks are expected to provide new opportunities for Qube and its logistics businesses.

Chris Corrigan, chairman of Qube's Investment Advisory Committee, said CIP's management shares Qube's vision of investing on a long term basis in strategic logistics businesses.

Robert Dove, managing director of CIP, said "The unconditional and conditional placements will raise approximately $116.5 million and will place Qube in a very strong financial position to increase its shareholding in POTA through the call and put options, pursue new acquisitions and undertake development projects across its operating divisions and within the strategic development assets."

Qube Logistics reported a profit after tax of $36.7 million for the December 2010 half year. "The result reflects the continued growth in earnings and positive outlook for both the Landside Logistics and Automotive, Bulk and General Stevedoring operating divisions," it said.

The fully franked distribution is 1.9 cents per unit. (ASX: QUB)

SteriHealth
Medical waste company SteriHealth saw its interim profit to 31 December 2010 drop 30.7 per cent to 2.1 million from $3 million for the 2009 interim half.

Revenue rose 5.8 percent to $25.1 million and this was entirely organically driven by volume increases in both the clinical waste and reusable sharps collector markets and the newer total waste management services to the healthcare industry, said the company.

The total waste management service sees SteriHealth providing collection and disposal services for all waste streams, including general waste, paper and cardboard, as well as security documents. There is increasing demand for this type of service as hospitals actively look to reduce the number of vendor relationships, it said.

The demand is evidenced by the tripling of total waste management revenues in the period compared to December 2009.

The company said it has implemented an operating efficiency program that will deliver improved margins in the second half of the financial year.

Chief executive officer Dan Daniels said "Based on the performance in the first half and management estimates, SteriHealth remains on target to deliver an EBITDA result of $12.0 million for the full year. Our full year NPAT forecast stands unchanged between $3.5 million and $4.0 million.

"The future focus of the business is set on penetrating new segments in the healthcare market and offering new products and services." (ASX: STP)

Micro Cap Companies

Algae.Tec
Recent ASX listing Algae.Tec has been accepted to list on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSB), which it says now has the largest investor base in the world following a merger announcement with the New York Stock Exchange.

Algae.Tec executive chairman Roger Stroud said dual listing on the FWB gives the company access to the most significant sustainable energy financial market as FSB is a global centre for sustainable energy investment.

Germany has positioned itself as the cleantech leader in the European Union. Sixteen percent of Germany's energy needs are already met by renewable sources, with a target of 30 per cent for the year 2020, he said.

The photo-bioreactors at the heart of the McConchie-Stroud algae production technology are designed to produce sustainable biofuels including biodiesel and green jet biofuels. They also capture carbon pollution from power stations and manufacturing facilities which feed the algae.

The enclosed modular system is designed to deliver the highest yield of algae per hectare, and solves the problem of food-producing land being turned used for biofuel production.

The company's initial two commercial facilities will be in China and Australia. The target size is a minimum of 250 modules in each location.

Algae.Tec's chief operating officer Earl McConchie arrived in Australia this month to start work on the demonstration plant at The Manildra Group's Nowra facility in NSW. The algae photo-bioreactor modules are being assembled in the USA and delivered to the site.

Six algae species have been chosen out of sixty studied. The preferred species are composed of 50 per cent algal (vegetable) oil, and the biomass comprises 30 per cent simple sugars and 20 per cent edible protein.

Consistent pilot plant production data shows that one module can produce 250 tonnes of dry algal matter per annum.

According to the company, current market prices for crude vegetable oil exceed US$1,000 per tonne, and for biomass of similar chemistry exceed US$400 per tonne, which would result in an estimated US$700 revenue per tonne, US$175,000 revenue per year per module.

Operating costs are estimated to be US$185 per tonne of production or US$46,250 per annum per module.

Based on a minimum of 200 modules, capital costs, including all ancillary, harvesting and separation equipment, are estimated to be US$125,000 per module, or $50 per tonne based on a 10 year module life, says the company. (ASX: AEB)

Carbon Conscious
The more than doubling of Carbon Conscious' share price from 10 cents to 25 cents over two days drew a query from the ASX.

Like CO2 Group, which also received a share boost and query, it said it was not aware of any information other than the prime minister had announced the government would introduce a carbon tax. This is expected to benefit companies such as Carbon Conscious that sequester carbon.

Carbon Conscious has appointed Andrew McBain as a non-executive director. Mr McBain was the founder and initial developer of the Carbon Conscious business and has previously been a non-executive director.

His focus will be investor and shareholder relations, communications and awareness as the company increases its activities ahead of the proposed Federal carbon legislation. CCF)

Clean Sea Tuna
Clean Sea Tuna says operational initiatives and reduced costs resulted in it cutting its first half operating loss by $4.8 million in the period to 31 December 2010.

The company's net after-tax operating loss for the latest half was $9.3 million, compared with a $14.1 million loss in the previous corresponding six months. The result was after a $2.9 million write-down for discontinued product.

The rate of improvement in reducing losses would have been greater but for the high level of the company's exported products negatively affected by the high Australian dollar, it said.

A positive impact is expected on earnings in the current half-year as Clean Seas traditionally achieves the majority of its growth in biomass in the second half of each financial year during summer and autumn.

The Kingfish business was cash flow positive in the six months due to cost cutting and the selling down of biomass. Clean Seas aims to make the Kingfish business profitable in the coming years now that production volumes have been adjusted to better match market demand and to attract premium prices.

The company says it is pleased with its new $6.5 million Southern Bluefin Tuna facility at Arno Bay in South Australia.

Clean Seas' opinion is that results to date from its current Southern Bluefin Tuna work are better than at the same stage in previous years.

Southern Bluefin Tuna spawning commenced on 20 January 2011. From this spawn, the company has reared larvae with the oldest now at day 33 post hatch. The oldest fingerlings
are being transferred to nursery tanks, with transfer to sea aimed for mid-March, said managing director, Clifford Ashby. (ASX: CSS)

Datamotion Asia Pacific
Rare earth hopeful Datamotion Asia Pacific has engaged Atlas Geophysics to conduct the gravity survey of the primary rare earth target on its Mt Barrett project.

The Program of Works has been submitted to the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum and following approval the company will finalize the drilling program. The exploration schedule is still on track to commence drilling in the first quarter of 2011.

The company has appointed Joshua Wellisch as executive director. (ASX: DMN)

Dyesol
Dyesol has signed up for an American Depository Receipt (ADR) program, appointing Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) as its Depositary for a Level 1 sponsored OTC quoted ADR program.

BNY Mellon is a leading global depositary, managing substantially more sponsored ADR programs than any other depositary in the world with ADRs issued for more than 2,100 programs from 67 countries, said Dyesol.

Dyesol said it has strong investor interest from the US, particularly after recently reporting progress of the DyeTec Solar joint venture.

"We know already from trades occurring outside the ADR regime that there is a demand for Dyesol shares in the USA," said Dyesol chairman, Richard Caldwell.

"Signing up for the ADR program will not only make it easier for potential US investors to invest in Dyesol, it will increase exposure of Dyesol to global solar and advanced technology pricing, similar to our successful experience in trading in Germany on the Open Market (formerly called the Third Market)."

It is anticipated that the establishment process will be completed within one month with a sponsored ADR program in place shortly thereafter.

The company said that ADR programs have been shown to increase liquidity for ASX listed companies. A SIRCA study was reported in December 2009 as saying "the increase in turnover for active ADR companies was more than double that of comparative control stocks". (ASX: DYE)

EcoQuest
EcoQuest's shares are at an 18 month low of 5.8 cents, part of a medium term steady slide since their all time high of 21 cents in September 2009.

The biodegradable nappy company booked initial revenue from sales of $100,056 for the December half year.

The loss for the half-year was $1.38 million, about the same as for the 2009 first half of $1.3 million. Included in the latest loss is a one-off impairment of intangible assets of $263,234. (ASX: ECQ)

Eden Energy
Eden Energy has secured the first repeat commercial sales for its OptiBlend dual fuel kit in the Indian domestic and industrial market after successful trials on four generators throughout 2010.

It has also made a sale in Europe, to a major Italian generator set supplier.

In the US trials of the OptiBlend dual fuel kit are expected to lead to sales in the American and European markets. The US order is to install an OptiBlend kit on a large, high speed engine at a site for one of the country's largest natural gas producers.

The OptiBlend kit is retrofitted to diesel engines so they can operate on a mix of diesel and natural gas with up to 70-75 per cent of the diesel displaced by the gas.

As a generator's fuel mix is lower in carbon content and the combustion process is slightly modified, the OptiBlend system also produces a cleaner exhaust with lower levels of particulates and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

"As well as the greenhouse benefits, the kit is opening opportunities for hundreds of thousands of diesel-dependent generators worldwide to run more economically in areas where diesel has risen in price while natural gas prices have fallen," said Eden Energy's executive chairman, Greg Solomon.

Eden's marketing strategy has focused on large, stationary diesel powered generator sets in India and the US. Indian installations during 2009 and 2010 comprised three OptiBlend sets at tea plantations in the northeast, and one in Mumbai to one of India's largest engineering companies on various brands of diesel generator sets.

"We last month successfully installed a kit on a Cummins 1250 kva generator at a large machinery manufacturer near Delhi and have since received a second order from the firm," said Mr Solomon.

The diesel displacement means the payback time on the capital and installation costs is less than 12 months, and possibly half that, depending on usage.

"Significantly, this customer has nearly 40 generator sets of this size throughout its Indian network and has indicated to Eden a desire to progressively convert these to dual fuel operation as natural gas becomes more available there."

Eden has also received inquiries from northern and western India where every major private and government industrial, commercial and retail building and complex has one or more generators on site.

The sales price of an installed OptiBlend kit varies according to the size and configuration of the engine, but frequently is in the range of US$25,000 to$40,000. (ASX: EDE)

ERM Power
ERM Power said it remains on track to achieve its prospectus forecasts after announcing a net loss for the December 2010 half of $6.2 million.

Managing director Philip St Baker said "ERM Power has had a solid first half year and despite extreme flooding, cyclones and heatwave events impacting on its customer base and electricity markets in the few months since listing on the ASX, ERM Power expects to deliver on its underlying profit forecasts."

The company's electricity sales business, ERM Sales, continued its strong growth with sales revenue for the half year up 51 per cent to $202.4 million and EBITDAIF (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, goodwill impairment and net fair value gains/losses on financial instruments) up 54 per cent to $11.2 million compared with the previous corresponding half year, he said.

Electricity sales and margins for the balance of FY2011 and FY2012 are progressing in line with expectations and forecasts.

Mr St Baker said "These results demonstrate ERM Power's continuing growth rate, robustness of the ERM Sales business model and risk management when considering the extreme weather events."

Although the widespread flooding in Queensland in December reduced customer demand for electricity, the impacts were offset by better than expected performances in other areas of the business.

The flooding in south east Queensland in January further impacted customer demand and also forced the evacuation of ERM Power's head office in Brisbane for two weeks. (ASX: EPW)

Green Box Energy
For investors interested in the financial affairs of the failed Jackgreen Ltd, the company has released its annual report for 2009-10.

This shows a massive collapse in sales revenue from $65.7 million in 2008-09 to $2.1 million. The loss for the year was $19.4 million, down from a loss of $7 million in 2008-09. Net assets fell from $13.1 million to minus to $1.5 million. (ASX: GNB)

Greenearth Energy
Consultant to Green Earth Energy, substantial shareholder Advance Publicity Pty Ltd has increased its holding from 12.65 to 14.57 per cent.

The company provides consultancy services and a rental property to Green Earth Energy and is paid in shares.

Green Earth Energy's share price is trading very close to its two year low of 6.5 cents. (ASX: GER)

Hot Rock
Hot Rock says it is among the first companies to be granted geothermal tenements in Peru following the Government's recent granting of the Rupha tenement located in the Ancash region to the north of Lima.

The Rupha tenement is the first of Hot Rock's eight tenement applications in Peru to be granted. Another six tenement applications are in the final stages of processing and expected to be granted within the current quarter.

Executive chairman Dr Mark Elliott said "This is a historical event for Hot Rock, with Rupha being in the first batch of geothermal exploration tenements ever to be granted by a Peruvian Government. As such, this marks the birth of the exploration geothermal industry in Peru.

"We have been working in Peru since 2009, and now have a permanently staffed office in Lima. We have already commenced land access and community engagement work, in preparation of field programs to begin in the next quarter.

"Our early entry into Peru extends the same strategy that we followed in Chile - early identification of high quality geothermal projects through strong in-house geothermal exploration skills and knowledge, capitalising on our first mover advantage ahead of considerable subsequent interest by both large domestic and international companies."

The selection of tenements was aided by the high quality of government data already available, it said. (ASX: HRL)

Intec
Intec Ltd recorded a profit after tax for the December 2010 half year of $2.8 million, due to the agreement late last year with JX Nippon Mining and Metal Corporation. Under the deal Intec received $5 million as payment for cross licensing each other for some of their respective patents in halide based hydrometallurgy.

In 2008-09 Intec made a profit of $280,000. (ASX: INT)

Intermoco
Intermoco's shares are trading at a 12 month low of 0.4 cents.

The company's underwritten rights issue had a poor take up rate. The shortfall was $921,277.07 out of the $1,154,509.08 offered. The new shares were issued at 0.5 cents each.

The rights issue was fully underwritten.

The proceeds will redeem the balance of the convertible notes held by Belgravia Strategic Equities Pty Ltd. (Belgravia). (ASX: INT)

Island Sky
Island Sky said it expects to report a loss of around $3.3 million before tax for the full year ending 31 December 2010.

The loss is an increase of about $658,000 compared to the 2009 loss of $2.65 million. The difference was strongly influenced by the receipt of $2 million in licensing fees from Salton Inc during the 2009 calendar year, said managing director, Richard Groden.

For the 2010 year the consolidated group generated revenue solely from the sale of Skywater units, and did not receive any licensing fees.

The results were also influenced by impairment of approximately $243,000, he said. (ASX: ISK)

Liquefied Natural Gas
Liquefied Natural Gas has received environmental approval from the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management for its subsidiary, Gladstone LNG Pty Ltd, to build a 21 kilometre gas pipeline (PPL 161) from the Callide Infrastructure Corridor to the company's wholly owned LNG project at Fishermans Landing at Gladstone.

The PPL 161 application will now be considered by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, the department responsible for the issue of Petroleum Pipeline Licences.

The pipeline will initially be able to supply 520 TJ/day (180 PJ/year) for the 3 million tonne per annum LNG Project. Its design will allow for additional gas supply capacity to assist with the company's aim to expand the LNG Project in the future.

Managing director Maurice Brand said "This is an important step in progressing the company's Gas Supply Plan for its 3 mtpa LNG Project. The existing Queensland Gas Pipeline and at least six planned major gas pipelines, of which five have now obtained environmental approval, will converge into the Callide Infrastructure Corridor and therefore be capable of supplying gas to the company's LNG Project." (ASX: LNG)

Orbital Corporation
Orbital Corporation reported a net profit after tax of $29,000 for the December 2010 half year- a $2.7 million improvement on the result for the same period last year.

Managing director and chief executive, Terry Stinson, said it was a significant financial improvement, that the Orbital team had also made progress on a number of fronts, and that the outlook shows promise.

The Synerject business increased sales by 36 per cent to US$57 million and profit after tax by 203 per cent to US$2.6 million.

The positive operating cashflow including Synerject dividend was a $1.8 million improvement on the same period last year.

Revenue form Royalties increased by 6 per cent, but Consulting Services revenue decreased by 9 per cent.

The Orbital Autogas Systems (OAGS) developed additional aftermarket kits and its continued preparation for the launch of the next generation LPG injection systems for the new model Ford E-Gas Falcon, he said, while Holden Special Vehicles announced the introduction of the OAGS Liquid LPG system on its prestigious high performance vehicles including its top of the line Grange model.

This month Orbital completed the sale of land and buildings in Perth for $8.65 million. Orbital will lease the facilities for 10 years, with two further five year options.

"Orbital's joint venture, Synerject continues to grow, is profitable and generating cash. We project even more growth in the future. Planned product introductions and positive projections for the markets in which Synerject operate are all very encouraging," said Mr Stinson.

Orbital said it anticipates that the second half will produce a similar result to the first half, reinforcing its previous guidance that it is targeting a positive operating result for the full year. (ASX: OEC)

Pacific Energy
Shares in Pacific Energy have hit a three year high of 46.5 cents after a strong rise from 20 cents last June.

This is despite the company reporting an interim loss of $2.3 million, down from a full year profit to 30 June of $4 million.

The company said it had an increase in adjusted net profit after tax to $4 million, a 30 per cent increase on the result for the prior six-month period. It defines adjusted net profit as "Reported Net Profit/ (Loss) after tax, excluding non-cash amortisation charges, non-cash revaluation adjustments, "one-off" share issue subscription fee and asset sale charges and the related tax effect".

The company said its Kalgoorlie Power Systems (KPS) business achieved record earnings performance from the six months to 31 December and delivered a 19 per cent jump in Pacific Energy's earnings (EBITDA) to $8.9 million.

Managing director, Adam Boyd said "Pacific Energy's robust earnings result was underpinned by the ongoing strength of our KPS business and its ability to capitalise on the nation's buoyant mining and resources sector. During the period, KPS delivered an exceptional performance, achieving industry benchmark power station availability, reliability and fuel efficiency for our clients."

KPS owns 15 power stations across three states with a contracted capacity of over 140 MW. (ASX: PEA)

Po Valley
Po Valley Energy has been awarded two new gas exploration licences in Italy. The company said this increases by 547 square kilometres or 38 per cent its area of gas exploration rights in northern Italy, bring it to nearly 2,000 square kilometres.

The two licences, Cadelbosco di Sopra and Grattasasso, are adjacent and located between Modena and Parma. The initial exploration term is six years.

Chief executive officer, Giovanni Catalano, said the permits "add a number of promising well-defined opportunities to our existing diversified portfolio of assets. We are accelerating the final technical and evaluation work on the Quaternary prospects and anticipate submitting a formal application for drilling by the third quarter of this year. With drilling success, development planning would proceed immediately.

"The new combined licences cover the Correggio structure, a former ENI gas field discovered in the 1950s. During ENI's ownership, the field produced more than 253 billion cubic feet of gas from a stacked multipool reservoir - one of the largest onshore gas fields in the Po Valley."

A re-evaluation of the Correggio field is underway. Po Valley has identified two priority gas prospects in the Quaternary reservoirs, Zini and Canolo. The Zini prospect is located in the Cadelbosco di Sopra area while Canolo straddles both licences. The company is finalising evaluation of the Pliocene gas potential. Plans for a drilling campaign should be finalised later this year.

The two new blocks also include the former ENI oil discoveries, Ravizza in the Grattasasso permit and Bagnolo-in-Piano in Cadelbosco di Sopra. An evaluation is underway to assess the development potential of both discoveries, said the company. (ASX: PVE)

Refresh Group
Refresh Group shares are trading at a one year low of 4 cents, having halved from their high of 7.8 cents last October.

Independent, non-executive director, Alan Ong, has resigned due to other personal commitments. He has been a director since November 1008 and was chairman of the Remuneration Committee.

Jamie Khoo is the new chairman of the Remuneration Committee as well as a member of the Audit Committee. (ASX: RGP)

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