Eco Investor Update
A Weekly News Update for Environmental Investors
2011 - No 23
The company said there is a large surplus of RECs in the market and it does not expect there to be a deficit until 2015. Meanwhile, the surplus continues to suppress REC prices, and AGL's timing of future wind farm developments is subject to the recovery in REC prices.
AGL has 549 MW of wind energy capacity in its development pipeline at three projects: Barn Hill, SA - 150 MW, Hallett 3, SA - 99 MW, and Coopers Gap, Qld - 300 MW.
It has 671 MW under construction at Hallett 4 - 132 MW, Oaklands Hill - 67 MW, Hallett 5 - 52 MW and Macarthur 420 MW. (ASX: AGK)
This is dependent on exploration and appraisal processes being successful and appropriate commercial agreements being secured. The partners estimate the Sorik Marapi concession could support the development of 200 to 300 MW of geothermal generation capacity.
Origin will hold a 47.5 per cent interest in the concession.
Geothermal developments in Australia have not been as positive, with Origin writing down the value of its interest in the Innamincka Deeps Joint Venture with Geodynamics and its equity in Geodynamics itself by $154 million after tax in its December 2010 half year results.
However, it remains active in geothermal energy with its immediate focus now on the Innamincka Shallows Joint Venture with Geodynamics to evaluate the potential of the shallower part of the Cooper and Eromanga basin.
Origin is the exploration operator and over the next six months will drill and test two Shallows exploration wells, commencing this quarter.
Over the next six months Origin it will also drill a well in Geothermal Exploration Licence (GEL) 185, in which it has a 100 per cent interest. GEL 185 adjoins Geodynamics' geothermal licences in the Cooper Basin.
On the fossil fuel front, Origin has completed the acquisition of the Integral Energy and Country Energy retail businesses from the NSW Government and entered binding GenTrader arrangements with Eraring Energy.
Managing director Grant King said the acquisitions and the GenTrader arrangements are transformational events in the growth of Origin.
"Origin is now Australia's largest energy retailer with 4.6 million customer accounts and we have one of the country's largest and most flexible generation portfolios with more than 5,800 MW of capacity, through either owned generation or contracted rights," he said.
Eraring Energy's operations include the coal-fired Eraring Power Station and the Shoalhaven Scheme, which supply about 7 per cent of annual energy to the national electricity market. (ASX: ORG)
Simon Poidevin OAM has been
appointed a non-executive director of Dart. Mr Poidevin is an executive
director of Pengana Capital, which he joined in April 2009 after 14 years
with Citigroup in Australia, where he headed the firm's Corporate Equity
He holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree and is a member of the UNSW Faculty of Science Hall of Fame.
Chairman Nick Davies said he will serve Dart well with is extensive banking and fund experience, his knowledge of the coal seam gas industry and his outstanding political and business relationships.
Matthews Capital Partners has reduced its substantial holding from 10.47 to 7.79 per cent. New Hope Corporation has increased its holding from 14.81 to 15.07 per cent. (ASX: DTE)
Energy World Corporation
Hastings Diversified Utilities
A search is underway for a replacement.
Epic Energy is the key asset of the Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund. (ASX: HDF)
The fall has been accompanied by media discussion of its December half year loss of $34.4 million, $18.6 million more than for the previous corresponding half.
Infigen said the loss was driven by "higher borrowing costs as a result of a swap termination, a lower net contribution from US IEPs [Institutional Equity Partnerships], weak Australian merchant electricity prices, a significant appreciation of the AUD against the USD and increased operating costs as Infigen's global portfolio becomes subject to higher offwarranty turbine operating and maintenance costs".
Net tangible asset backing per security at 31 December was 44 cents compared to 43 cents at 30 June.
"Infigen expects to continue to operate under tight financial constraints. Infigen's cash flows from its heritage portfolio of wind farms (excluding Eifel in Germany) remain subject to the cash sweep obligations associated with its long-term, low interest margin global debt facility. Infigen expects to continue to meet all of its obligations under that facility, including covenant tests at 30 June," it said. (ASX: IFN)
This was done through onmarket purchases. In February it increased its interest by 2.73 per cent at an average price of $1.35 per share. Last September it increased its interest by 0.27 per cent at an average price of $1.19 per share. (ASX: TPI)
Ceramic Fuel Cells
Non-executive director, John Dempsey, indirectly purchased an additional 100,000 shares to bring his holding to 400,0000. The shares were an average price of 12.5 cents each.
Director Roy Rose upped his indirect holding to 266,00 shares after acquiring another 150,000 shares at an average price of 12.8 cents each. (ASX: CFU)
Mr Wu is the general manager of Fengli, where he has worked for 15 years. He is a civil engineer.
Galaxy Resources chairman Craig Readhead said "Mr Wu's wealth of local experience and network in the Zhangjiagang area where the company's lithium carbonate and potential lithium battery plant are located will significantly strengthen the Galaxy Board."
Galaxy Resources has released a Web Proof Information Pack (WPIP) as part of its planned dual listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The WPIP is required by The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission to provide information to investors in Hong Kong. (ASX: GXY)
Revenue was $74.2 million, up from $5.9 million. Earnings per share were 0.62 cents.
The company said that despite the growth, its first half results were adversely impacted by an inability to secure key inputs and an increased working capital requirement, both of which have now been addressed. It expects to see improved sales and margins in the second half.
Among the reasons are a back log of 3,000 orders which equate to about $22.5 million of revenue and $7.5 million of gross profit.
An exclusive supply arrangement with Tianwei for access to 100 MW of solar PV panels over the next 12 months at a discounted price will ensure continuity of supply and provide a very competitive input price. 100 MW is enough for around 66,500 1.5 kW residential installations.
The need for working capital caused CBD to sell Renewable Energy Certificates at sub optimal prices and a loss of $1.5 "Going forward this will not occur," it said.
CBD said it is also finalizing agreements to exclusively supply and install on behalf of a large retailer, which will add significant volume to the residential rooftop business.
Additionally. CBD's wind division will be vended into the wind joint venture thereby reducing head office and operating costs.
CBD has won a two contracts in Italy for a 40 MW solar farm. The total project value is $185 million with construction scheduled from May 2011 to March 2012. (ASX: CBD)
Novarise Renewable Resources
Revenue was $74.6 million, up from $63.3 million in 2009.
Profit after tax was $15.2 million but this was reduced by $4.2 million in foreign currency translation differences. Earnings per share rose to 3.8 cents from 3.3 cents.
The company expects that sales and revenue will grow in 2011 due to increased sales, higher sale prices and the gradual introduction of finished products. It also expects to expand its domestic and international sales to more regions, countries and buyers.
"Demand and market acceptance of Novarise's recycled products are expected to grow in China and internationally as governments and consumer behaviours encourage the wider use of Green polypropylene products such as green shopping bags," it said.
Gross margins for its products are expected to improve with the introduction of production from the new Nan'an facility in China.
The company plans to establish an international office in Xiamen to oversee international operations and pursue international sales and procurement of post consumer feedstock.
The company's is also looking at a capital raising to support its expansion. "The company is currently undertaking a technical feasibility study to raise additional capital via the Taiwan Depository Receipts. The company is also looking at raising more capital through options such as private placements," it said.
Factors that could adversely affect its 2011 performance are inflation pressures and further tightening of China's monetary and macro-economic policies as these may impact sales and erode profit margins;
"The continued rise of the RMB will invariably affect the profit margins of international sales denominated in USD as not all of the rise of RMB can be passed to all international buyers," it said. (ASX: NOE)
On 4 March the shares hit a 2 year low of 5.8 cents.
The company's December half result after tax was a loss $3.6 million, down from a profit in the 2009-10 December half of $6.5 million.
Revenue decreased by 58.9 per cent to $22.4 million from $54.6 million.
The company said "Environmental services had a disappointing six months". The result reflected ongoing government changes to renewable energy policy with heat pump sales adversely affected. There was a reduction in the market value of renewable energy certificates held by the group, and increased costs for the development of a retail solar PV business.
"Based on current orders it is expected the performance of all existing businesses including high end medical product sales will improve substantially in the next six months," said the company. (ASX: QTM).
Transfield Services Infrastructure
Eco Investor has now classified it as an emerging company. (ASX: TSI)
Micro Cap Companies
Advanced Engine Components
The company's loss for the half year to 31 December rose 80 per cent to $3.1 million. This was despite revenue rising 46.5 per cent to $1.03 million. The improvement was a result of increasing sales from Australia to India. Australian sales increased by 30 per cent in the six months to 30 June 2010 and another 50 per cent in the six months to 31 December 2010, said the company. China sales were steady.
The company is endeavouring to improve its working capital position.
"The six months has seen an improved level of sales, improved margins, further development of increased sales opportunities and significant increases in the price of oil (a major sales driver for AEC products)," said managing director Tony Middleton.
"However, the strong Australian dollar is detrimental, margins earned on Indian sales are not satisfactory and the growth in China sales do not reflect the cost incurred or the opportunities available.
"Technically and commercially AEC's products remain very competitive. Key business drivers including the price of oil; concern for the security of energy supply; environmental concerns; and economic growth in AEC's major markets, remain strong.
"AEC's key focus in the short term is to achieve sales growth with minimum cash dilution and less reliance on related party borrowings. To achieve this will require strategic changes for AEC's operations in key markets," he said. (ASX: ACE)
Australian Renewable Fuels
The funding involved the placement of 180,000,000 shares at 2 cents per share to raise $3.6 million, and the sale by Wasabi of 200 million options to clients of Bell Potter and their subsequent exercise into ordinary shares at 1 cent per share. This raised another $2 million.
Managing director Tom Engelsman said given the current international concerns, there will be a further increase in the local and export demand for biodiesel, and ARF is focused on that sector.
"ARF has taken steps with regard to building a higher margin sustainable business, coupled with a focus with regard to the ability to service the Australian market with a broader supply base," he said.
The funds will be used for various projects already announced, with the main focus on the rapid implementation of the feed stock model, as well as further improvement of the company's Australian market position. (ASX: ARW)
BioProspect is to invest in Frontier Gasfields Pty Ltd and has the option to acquire up to 75 per cent of the company. Frontier has a portfolio of what BioProspect says are "world class oil and gas assets in the Philippines and China".
These include a gas recovery joint venture on the Shengli Oilfield, the second largest oilfield in China, and permit SC 55 in the Philippines. BHP recently secured an option to farm into the majority of SC55 by sole funding, two ultra-deep water exploration wells at an estimated cost of $US160 million.
Another Philippine asset is the onshore SC52 which contains a gas discovery made in the early 1980s which has considerable commercial development potential. BioProspect said it is one of the largest undrilled onshore structures in the Philippines.
The company said its focus remains on natural product development.
However, managing director, Charles Pellegrino, said "The opportunity to participate in the drilling of a billion barrel oil exploration well with BHP and the commercialisation of gas gathering on China's largest onshore oil fields made a compelling investment case." (ASX: BPO)
On 1 March the company's shares hit a two year low of 9.2 cents.
Blue Energy further extended the expiry date on Korea Gas Corporation's (KOGAS) coal seam gas farm-in option over ATP813P in the Galilee Basin and ATP814P in the Bowen Basin to 28 February 2012.
KOGAS requested the extension due to the operational delays experienced in Blue Energy's ATP814P exploration activities caused by the extensive flooding and cyclonic activity, said Blue Energy.
In June 2010 Blue Energy granted an extension to the original option until 28 February 2011. (ASX: BUL)
Clean Seas Tuna
At 11 cents, the company's shares are trading close to their year low of 8.2 cents last July.
The price may not have been helped when in December half year report accountant Grant Thornton said there is "Significant uncertainty" about the company's continuation as a going concern.
"Without qualifying our
review conclusion attention is drawn to Note 1 Going Concern Basis
of Accounting to the half-year financial report. These conditions as set
out in Note 1, indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which
may cast significant doubt about the consolidated entity's ability to
continue as a going concern and therefore, the consolidated entity may
be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal
Clean Seas Tuna reported a half year loss of $9.3 million, down from a loss for the 2009-10 corresponding half of $14.1 million.
Grant Thornton said "The Group continues to remain economically dependent on raising debt and/ or equity to advance the SBT project. The Group requires ongoing support of financiers, future capital raising and/ or an increase in profits generated from the business to continue as a going concern.
"If support from financiers and/ or equity raising do not eventuate, and/ or profits generated do not increase, the going concern basis may not be appropriate, with the result that the Group may have to realise its assets and extinguish its liabilities, other than in the ordinary course of business and at amounts different from those stated in the financial report. No allowance for such circumstances has been made in the financial report," it said. (ASX: CSS).
The company's shares are at a 12 month low of 65 cents.
In the December half, revenue fell by 42 per cent to $968,009, and the loss after tax rose 38 per cent to $8.6 million. (ASX: DYE)
Looking further ahead, it wants to increase its product range through increased sizes, larger consumer packs, and travel pack size wipes.
Possible new products could be nappy sacks, nappy inserts, and products for feminine hygiene and adult incontinence. (ASX: ECQ)
The patents were granted for technology developed by its US subsidiary, Hythane Company, and strengthen Eden's intellectual property base for both Hythane and hydrogen.
The company said two of the patents, one in the US and a second in Canada, cover a comprehensive range of methods developed by the company for blending and compressing Hythanes, which are hydrogen-enriched natural gas fuels. The other two new patents are continuations of previously granted applications.
US Patent No. 7,721,682, covers the entire Hythane system including production, dispensing, vehicular use and monitoring, and emissions tracking throughout the entire process. This type of "well-to-wheels" tracking is a general prerequisite for emissions credit trading programs, such as for oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2), it said.
A Canadian patent covering this same invention was recently issued. Eden has sought application of the patent in Australia, China, Europe, Japan, India, and Korea.
US Patent No. 7,740,031 covers
a comprehensive range of methods of accurately blending
Eden's intellectual property covered under US Patent No. 7,740,010 includes a control system and strategy for an efficient internal-combustion engines fueled with pure hydrogen that would be nearly as efficient and clean as some of the world's best fuel cells but would use very robust existing internal combustion engine technology.
On other matters Eden's executive chairman, Greg Solomon, said Eden is making progress with its previously announced Pyrolysis project, which produces only hydrogen and solid carbon nanotubes or nanofibres from natural gas.
"We are reasonably confident that in less than 12 months, we will be able to produce moderately priced hydrogen (with the potentially valuable carbon nanotubes or nanofibres as a by-product) on a modest commercial scale using this process. This in turn will greatly assist in our promotion of all of our Hythane and hydrogen technology." (ASX: EDE)
The offer price is 1.8 cents per new share. Both offers are fully underwritten by the company's largest shareholder, Waverton Holdings Ltd. The shareholder offer will raise $3.7 million and the option holder offer will raise $0.6 million.
The company will use $1 million for working capital for its equipment sales business and $3 million to develop a new business segment that will develop, build, own, operate (DBOO) metal production projects using the company's EMEW technology, said chairman and chief executive officer, RE Keevers. (ASX: EMM)
Director, Philip Matthew St Baker, has acquired another 29,000 shares valued at $51,069, an average price of $1.76 each. (ASX: EPW)
Eco Investor now classifies Geodynamics as a pre revenue micro cap.
The move follows major shareholder and joint venture partner Origin Energy writing down its interest in the company and their Innamincka Deeps Joint Venture by a total of $154 million in its 2010-11 first half report.
Origin holds a 30 per cent interest in the Innamincka Deeps Joint Venture and 6 per cent of the equity in Geodynamics. It also has a 50 per cent interest in their joint Innamincka Shallows Joint Venture, and a 100 per cent interest in permit area GEL 185 which adjoins the tenements.
Origin said "Progress on the Deeps Joint Venture has taken longer than planned and has not met Origin's expectations to date, reducing the prospects of a timely development of the resource. As a result, the expenditure previously capitalised in respect of the Deeps Joint Venture does not meet the requirements under accounting standards to be carried forward and an impairment charge of $196 million has been recorded.
"Additionally, Origin has recorded an impairment charge of $9 million against Origin's shareholding in Geodynamics Limited as the share price of the listed securities has traded below Origin's initial cost for a prolonged period of time. The total impairment charge in respect of Origin's Geothermal investments was $205 million before tax ($154 million after tax)."
Origin said it will continue to seek commercial avenues to evaluate the Innamincka Deeps resource.
The immediate focus is now on the Innamincka Shallows Joint Venture to evaluate the geothermal potential of the shallower part of the Cooper and Eromanga basin in the same permit areas.
"Origin is the exploration operator and over the next six months will drill and test two Shallows exploration wells. Origin will use Rig 100 which has been used to undertake drilling in the Deeps Joint Venture, with the first well, Celcius 1, likely to commence drilling during the March Quarter 2011.
"In addition, Origin expects to drill one well in Geothermal Exploration Licence (GEL) 185 over the next six months. Origin has a 100 per cent interest in GEL 185. GEL 185 had been acquired through a farm-in agreement with Eden Energy Limited and adjoins the geothermal licences held by Geodynamics in the Cooper Basin," it said. (ASX: GDY)
The company says it has taken all necessary steps to keep its geothermal licences in good standing, including annual reporting, payment of rental fees and lodging variations to work programs. "As a consequence, work on all geothermal exploration licences is effectively in suspension at the present time," it said.
"Other junior companies operating in the Australian geothermal exploration sector are faced with similar decisions, largely as the result of lack of market support for Australian renewable energy projects. The extremely high cost and risk of geothermal drilling, and the failure of any meaningful production from an Australian geothermal project as yet, has not helped investor sentiment. While there are currently few incentives for financial institutions to invest in renewable energy projects, this may change in the future with the carbon tax being proposed by the Commonwealth Government.
"Given the present prospects for the geothermal exploration sector, directors do not feel it is appropriate to ask shareholders for risk capital for the very expensive "proof of concept" drilling."
The company is looking at exploration alternatives to utilize its exploration skills and is considering a potentially suitable opportunity.
Geothermal Resources is 58 per cent owned by Havilah Resources NL. (ASX: GHT)
The company reported December half profit after tax of $6.5 million, reversing a 2009-10 interim loss of $3.2 million.
Revenue was $7.4 million, up from $5 million for the 2009-10 December half, but it is classified as sundry income (ASX: GNB)
The result was achieved on reduced sales revenue of $1,659,286, down from $2,389,781. An increase in other revenue reduced the difference in total revenue to $2,266,257 compared to 2,510,710.
On the cost side, employee benefits fell $484,080.
Directors said "The result reflects the progress the company has made in restructuring and the development of the previously discussed new service and product income streams. Whilst the development and rollout of these new services and products has been slower than expected, good progress is being made and the results should start to flow through during the 2011 calendar year.
"Another critical element
of the restructuring was the establishment of the sale of Next Generation
Energy Solutions Pty Ltd (NGES) business to Envex Services Pty Ltd. The
sale resulted in a $1.6 million cash injection into the Group as well
as a 49 per cent shareholding in the new Envex Services. The divestiture
of the NGES Australian business has allowed the group to commence the
development of a number of important and vital new financial services
"These services are in addition to the Company`s core activities being the commercialisation of the Green Plumber and Green Electrician Brands both locally and internationally as well as the expansion of the Groups involvement in the Green segment of the financial services industry." (ASX: GNV)
The contract has been awarded to Hydrotech's agent in Dalian, Dalian Deli Electro Osmosis Waterproofing Technology Ltd.
"We believe the project represents the largest single installation of an electro osmosis system into a brand new civil engineering structure in the world and is the first MPS project installed into new construction in the People's Republic of China," said Hydrotech.
The contract follows a successful trial completed in January.
The contract specifies the MPS System for an area of 40,000 square metres, approximately 3.5 kilometers in length of cable tunnel wall. This is a critical section of the tunnel as it is adjacent to the sea wall, says Hydrotech.
"The total area requiring waterproofing in the cable tunnel is 170,000 square metres (approximately 15 kilometres and an additional total area equating to three times the current contract) and there is strong possibility that the MPS System will be installed for the entire tunnel," it said.
Hydrotech hopes the project will be a landmark to show the suitability of the MPS System in new civil structures, and that it will attract greater awareness of the MPS System for waterproofing conventional structures. (ASX: HTI)
Andrew Meehan, who was also an underwriter, acquired an additional 3,722,224 shares, Ian Kiddle acquired an additional 3,222,223 shares, and Simon Kemp an additional 452,223 shares. (ASX: INT)
ISK is seeking clarification of a number of aspects of the proposal and will continue negotiations with all parties, said managing director Richard Groden. (ASX: ISK)
"These conditions, along with other matters as set forth in Note 1a, indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern, and therefore, the company may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business."
However, MediVac's directors say they believe the company will be able to execute its commercialization strategies - commercialization of its MediVac Technology and SunnyWipes business units.
"The commercialization of these business units present the company with a potentially significant recurring revenue stream," they say.
"The directors believe that as the company's commercialization activities are completed, MediVac Limited will be in a stronger position to execute new sales opportunities in the forthcoming quarters across both its MediVac Technology and SunnyWipes businesses.
"The directors believe there will be adequate cash flow to pursue the company's strategy providing a reasonable proportion of the sales targets are met."
On funding, MediVac has a $20 million funding facility over three years with Dutchess Capital. MediVac is able to draw down in tranches of up to $250,000 with repayment through the issue of shares.
There is also a continuing focus on cost containment. (ASX: MDV)
The company's share price has fallen to around 37 cents, still above its 12 month low of 29.5 cents but well below its year high of 62.5 cents last March. (ASX: MEL)
The contract entered provided for termination at any time and for any reason. "Mission understands that the reasons for termination pertain to certain disclosure issues relating to the contract," it said.
Mission had hoped the trial would lead to longterm supply contracts. (ASX: MBT)
"This significant achievement will allow Nanosonics to commence a staged release of product into the world's largest ultrasound market, where there are in excess of 200 million ultrasound examinations performed annually," said chief executive, David Radford.
Nanosonics' shares have doubled in value over the past 12 months. (ASX: NAN)
Mr Young said "25 years is a long time to be on a board, probably too long. I have enjoyed it, but I have wanted to complete the process of renewal which began some years ago. The company has many exciting opportunities and I am confident it has the team to capitalise on them." (ASX: OEC)
A factor in the result was a benefit of $541,00 from discontinued operations. The profit from continuing operations was a more modest $154.000.
Revenue also rose, from $3.8 million to $4.5 million. Earnings per share were 0.17 cents. (ASX: PEH)
Panax has appointed Chris Matthews as chief geologist. Mr Matthews has nearly 15 years' experience in mining and minerals exploration, natural resource management and government relations and liaison, including in the Otway Basin.
He has as Bachelor of Science with Honours in Geology, and was the co-founder, first chief executive officer, and chief geologist of geothermal energy explorer Torrens Energy.
Panax managing director Kerry Parker said "Chris completed a substantial part of his studies on the Otway Basin and Limestone Coast region, so has a fundamental understanding of the geothermal potential in the region."
"As the chief geologist at Torrens Energy he was responsible for designing, organizing, and carrying out exploration for various geothermal energy targets, and was instrumental in that company being awarded more than $10 million in Federal and State Government grant funding."
Mr Matthews was also a founding member of the Australian Geothermal Energy Association executive from 2008 until 2010. (ASX: PAX)
Papyrus recorded an increased loss for the December half of $1.4 million, up from $0.9 million for the December 2009-10 half year.
At 31 December the company had cash of $380,320, and is currently undertaking a capital raising of $1.5 million via placement. (ASX: PPY)
Phoslock Water Solutions
The company reported a down half year to 31 December 2010. Compared to the December 2009-10 half, revenue was down 35 per cent to $689,000, and the net loss after tax was down 25 per cent to minus $1.1 million.
The company said sales for the period were affected by several projects being delayed in Europe and North America by six and up to 12 months. (ASX: PHK)
Po Valley Energy
Ocean Power Technologies
"This is the first of a new generation of utility-scale PowerBuoy and embodies a step towards the commercialisation of wave power," said the company.
The unit has a peak-rated power output of 150 kilowatts equivalent to the energy consumption of around 150 homes, and is designed for with grid-connected power generation.
As soon as weather conditions permit, the buoy will be deployed for ocean trials at a site 33 nautical miles from Invergordon, Scotland.
OPT's PowerBuoy has a low visual profile, as most of the structure is submerged, and is designed to have a minimal environmental impact.
A second PB150 is under construction in the US for a proposed utility-scale project in Oregon, and the company said its other planned projects in Australia, Japan and Europe may utilize the PB150. (Nasdaq: OPTT)
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