Eco Investor Update
A Weekly News Update for Environmental Investors
2011 - No 25
AGL says that annually it winning about 80.000 new NSW customers organically and expects the rate to increase significantly with the launch of its aggressive sales and marketing campaign.
The campaign can offer savings on electricity bill of around $3001 over the next three years, compared to the regulated tariff, and large power users can save more.
David Hamilton, general manager Marketing, said AGL research showed that many customers in regional NSW did not know they could switch retailers. "The vast majority of people living in the country thought they had no choice. We intend to educate people about the fact that they can choose their retailer and by making this great offer, help them save money by switching to AGL."
AGL has previously announced it intends to acquire between 400,000 and 500,000 new customers from the incumbent retailers in NSW, Energy Australia, Integral Energy and Country Energy, which between them hold 85 per cent of electricity customer accounts in NSW. (ASX: AGK)
Origin chairman Kevin McCann said "The acquisition of the NSW energy assets is a milestone for Origin."
However, many environmental investors are unhappy with its involvement with a large coal fired power station.
So far Origin Energy is not returning calls to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, the company is raising $2.3 billion to refinance part of the debt funding for the GenTrader contract and the Integral Energy and Country Energy retail businesses.
The 1 for 5 pro rata renounceable entitlement offer is fully underwritten. At $13 per share, it is at a 17 per cent discount to Origin's recent closing price. The raising comprises an accelerated institutional entitlement offer and retail entitlements that can be traded on ASX. (ASX: ORG)
Sims Metal Management
Device has operations in the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic while ergoTrade has operations in Germany and Hungary.
The acquisitions are part of SimsMM's extending its ICT (information and communication technologies) asset recovery and life cycle management business further into Europe.
Graham Davy, chief executive officer of SimsMM's global Sims Recycling Solutions division said "With these acquisitions, SimsMM will become the market leader in Germany for ICT asset recovery. Our unique setup of sites across Continental Europe will enable us to strengthen our service offerings to clients with multi-national responsibilities.
"The two businesses, Device and ergoTrade, bring expertise within their local and neighbouring markets and a number of synergies, which lead the field in providing solutions to the European WEEE Directive's challenge of reduce, re-use, recycle'."
The purchase prices are not material to SimsMM. (ASX: SGM)
Infigen said "Reflecting ongoing interest in the Group, Infigen confirms that it has recently received an increased level of preliminary enquiries from investment banks and others, and from time to time engages in confidential discussions to assess any available options.
"However, none of these matters is sufficiently advanced to require disclosure."
Reuters based its story on "banking sources with knowledge of the situation" and said Infigen's wind power assets with carbon credits are attractive to energy retailers ahead of the introduction of a price on carbon in 2012.
"AGL is looking at Infigen, and Origin is also running some valuations," Reuters quotes one of the banking sources. "A second source also said AGL was interested, while a third also said Origin was looking at Infigen," it says.
Infigen currently has a depressed market capitalization of $228 million. At 30 cents, its shares are well below book value.
Meanwhile Infigen has upgraded its interim chief financial officer Chris Baveystock to chief financial officer.
Mr Baveystock has 20 years experience as a finance executive in mergers and acquisitions, acquisition integration, financing, project evaluation and review, bids and tenders, and reporting. His most recent roles were CFO to the Tenix Group, and then several senior finance roles at Transfield Services, including group financial controller. (ASX: IFN)
Lynas has given Forge subleases to develop the Crown and Swan deposits, which are non-core for Lynas. The subleases contain tantalum/ niobium and phosphate deposits.
If the deal proceeds. Lynas will receive $20.7 million cash, an option to acquire up to 7 million shares in Forge, and ongoing royalty payments if Forge successfully develops either deposit.
Lynas will also have the right to purchase at international market prices any rare earths produced as a by-product from the deposits, while Forge must use its best endeavours to produce intermediate rare earths byproducts from any development.
Lynas also has a right of first refusal for rare earths from any other mineral deposits acquired by any member of the Forge Group.
The deal is contingent on Forge raising at least $30 million, and Lynas shareholders will vote on the deal at an extraordinary general meeting likely to be in May.
Lynas said commissioning of the Mount Weld Concentration Plant is progressing well, with the first feed of ore scheduled for the week commencing 31 March.
Also under construction, the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Malaysia will in addition to rare earths produce three synthetic mineral products: synthetic gypsum, magnesium rich gypsum, and iron phospho gypsum. The company said it is advancing the development of commercial applications for all three products with significant progress in the past 12 months.
"For synthetic gypsum, Lynas has entered into commercial discussions with plasterboard and cement manufacturers," it said.
"Testwork has been successful for conversion of magnesium rich gypsum into a product called magnesium fertilizer booster. Field trials have demonstrated improved plant yield, improved soil structure, reduced fertiliser consumption and prolonged plant life.
"For iron phospho gypsum, testwork has also been successful in converting this into an environmentally stable form suitable for construction applications. Lynas is actively seeking commercial opportunities for long term use of this material.
"Lynas has identified customers for all products and is preparing submissions to relevant authorities for approval of these applications."
Lynas has updated its estimated cash cost of rare earths oxide production from $7 to $10 per kilogram. The figure assumes Phase 2 steady state operations, and includes all cash costs except head office overheads. The updated estimate is based on changes in exchange rates and movements in the prices of key reagents.
Lynas has appointed Eric Noyrez as president and chief operating officer.
"The appointment of Eric as president in addition to his existing COO role reflects the size and complexity of Lynas today. We are now emerging as a major industrial company, and a division of responsibility between Nick Curtis, as executive chairman, and Eric as president and COO, is essential to effective organisational development," said the company.
Mr Noyrez will lead the operational implementation of the rare earths project. (ASX: LYC)
Transpacific Industries Group
Managing director, Iggy Tan, said the company was very disappointed at the delay but it was to a prudent decision in light of serious international events and market volatility.
"Given the company's strong financial position, we saw no necessity to launch the IPO in a market environment that would not serve the interests of either existing shareholders or deal participants. We are still strongly focused on listing in Hong Kong and will proceed when we believe the time is right," he said
Meanwhile, the company has delivered the first shipment of tantalum concentrate from its Mt Cattlin mine in WA. The delivery, 28 tonnes at an average grade of 2.3 per cent tantalum pentoxide, is part of a five-year sales agreement with Global Advanced Metals Pty Ltd.
Galaxy is focused on mining and processing of lithium ore at Mt Cattlin, and tantalum ore is coincidently mined during the process. The tantalum ore is processed into tantalum concentrate by-product. Mr Tan said the first sale is part of the ramp up of Mt Cattlin.
"The company has also secured the MV Ocean Flower for its first shipment of spodumene to China for the end of March 2011," he said. (ASX: GXY)
Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development Andrew Fraser said the facility has the support of the Queensland Investment Incentive Scheme and should be up and running in April. (ASX: CBD)
Revenue rose 31 per cent to $196.7 million compared with $149.7 million in the previous corresponding period.
But the result was impacted by impairment charges of $58.7 million, including a $44.9 million goodwill writedown in the Metals division and a writedown of $13.85 million in plant and equipment. Total writedowns of $96.1 million also reflected $37.4 million of impaired deferred tax assets.
The directors said the Metals goodwill and deferred tax asset impairment are appropriate given the operational throughput was lower than expected, and there is also uncertainty surrounding the level of future cash flows that can be generated by these assets.
There was also $37.3 million income tax expense.
CMA continues to review its strategy to improve the Metals business across all regions and countries it operates in.
It is also working on a capital raising and debt restructure. (ASX: CMV)
The company has appointed Reece Kline as chief financial officer. Mr. Kline has been assisting the interim CFO since July 2010, and has been the financial controller for Chemsal, a division of DoloMatrix, since 2007.
He previously held CFO and general management roles in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and in public accounting with William Buck, Chartered Accountants.
Mr Kline is a CPA with a degree in Business. (ASX: DMX)
Micro Cap Companies
Guy Le Page and Nikolce Jovanovski have resigned as directors effective immediately.
The company said the board changes reflect its rejuvenated shareholder registry as part of its recent recapitalization. (ASX: AAQ)
Advanced Energy Systems
The sales are in addition to the sale of 116 apartments with a total value of RMB 51.6 million announced a week earlier.
"As a result of the continued success of the sales program, the company expects to meet its revenue target for the project of over RMB 1.3 billion (around $200 million), and, subject to any exchange rate fluctuations, its project profit of over RMB 400 million (around $60 million to $70 million)," it said. (ASX: AES)
The company has appointed the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) to commence establishment of a Level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) Program.
Executive chairman Roger Stroud said the ADR Program would give USA energy and cleantech investors access to shares in the company. (ASX: AEB)
The 20 million shares were issued at 10 cents each to sophisticated and professional investor clients of BCP Equities Pty Ltd, raising $2 million.
The shares equal to $3 million will be issued no later than three months after the meeting. The issue price will be not less than 80 per cent of the average market price for shares over the five days prior to the issue. The placement is for working capital.
The new shares for Nichol Bay Holdings Pty Ltd and CF2 Pty Ltd ATF The CF2 Trust are to repay loans. (ASX: ANQ).
Carbon Polymers said synergies between the two operations will assist it to grow in areas it has not focused on. Reclaim makes softfall products for playgrounds with installations around Australia for McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and Bunnings.
Reclaim has operations in WA, SA, NSW, Qld, Vic and ACT. It's national footprint would assist with entering national agreements with tyre retailers, while the WA and SA operations would enable it to enter the mining sector. Carbon Polymers also said the spare capacity at its own Sydney plant would be filled.
Meanwhile, Carbon Polymers made a profit after tax of $2.7 million for the half year to 31 December 2010. The loss to 31 December 2009 was $0.4 million.
Earnings per share was 0.05 cents.
Revenue was $7.3 million, up from zero. However cash was low at $160,369. (ASX: CBP)
Clean Seas Tuna
The company has transferred the first batch of Southern Bluefin Tuna fingerlings from the onshore nursery tanks to a cage at sea for controlled grow-out trials.
About 90 fingerlings ranging in length from eight to ten centimetres and weighing up to 15 grams were transferred to a 25-metre cage. The transfer to sea follows successful weaning of the fingerlings onto a manufactured diet.
A similar number of fingerlings will remain in the onshore nursery tanks while the at-sea development is assessed.
The fingerling batches are the result of broodstock spawning and larval rearing that commenced late in January.
"This is the world's first transfer of Southern Bluefin Tuna fingerlings to the ocean," said managing director, Clifford Ashby. "It is not only a critical stage for Clean Seas Tuna but also places Australia at the forefront of technological initiatives being undertaken in global marine aquaculture."
Director Sir Tipene O'Regan has retired from the company. He has been a director since 2004 and served on the Audit Committee and as chairman of the Remuneration Committee and Health, Safety and Environment Committee. (ASX: CSS)
The capital is to continue production of the company's Little Takas brand of biodegradable nappies and wipes and for working capital.
Shareholders will soon be asked to approve an issue of shares to directors on the same terms as the placement. (ASX: ECQ)
The company said some shareholders misunderstood this to mean that the quantity of carbon nano-fibres that was added is 0.1 per cent of the weight of the concrete. However, it is 0.1 per cent of the weight of the cement, which is then mixed with sand, aggregate, water and other additives to make concrete.
The original announcement of 14 March is correct. "Based on these results, approximately 1.6 tonnes of concrete could be expected to be saved in a wall, column or similar structural support due to its increased compressive strength, with the addition of 1 kg of nanofibres," it says.
Similar results have been reported by other parties using other forms of carbon fibre from other processes, but Eden believes its process could be significantly cheaper and can also produce hydrogen.
Eden made a loss after tax of $5.2 million for the December half, down from a loss of $0.4 million for the 2008-09 December half. (ASX: EDE)
A week earlier the company extended the closing date for its offer.
The company said it needs capital and that listing on the ASX at a future date would be advantageous but it will wait until the market improves. (ASX: GNB)
Green Rock Energy
It is also raising $4.2 million.
Green Rock will earn a 15 per cent interest with the ability to go to 20 per cent in permit EP 417 operated by New Standard Energy (NSE). Green Rock will partially fund the deepening and testing of the existing Lawford#1 well planned for third quarter 2011. Deepening the well "provides an attractive drilling target with large conventional gas (500 billion cubic feet plus) and prospectivity for tight gas and shale gas," it said.
NSE is obtaining approvals to drill and is in discussions to secure a drilling rig.
Green Rock and NSE are also aiming to pursue other opportunities in the Canning Basin in northern WA.
The capital raising is through a $1.17 million placement at 1.8 cents per share, and a non-renounceable rights issue underwritten by Cygnet Capital on a 1:3 basis to raise another $3.04 million.
Each new share will have an attaching option, subject to shareholder approval, exercisable at 3.6 cents before March 2013. The options will be listed.
"Funds raised will be applied towards Green Rock's EP417 commitments
(expected to be
In June last year Green Rock Energy said it would look for opportunities outside the geothermal sector that would build on the directors' skills and experience and provide opportunities to grow shareholder value.
Nonetheless, it said "Green Rock considers that its geothermal opportunities, particularly in Western Australia and Hungary, are highly prospective and well positioned for development and we expect to make substantial progress on priority projects during 2011." (ASX: GRK)
The field tests were conducted at its Longavi Project, one of six geothermal prospect areas that Hot Rock has in Chile in 12 tenements. It was the first of a number of MT surveys Hot Rock will undertake at its Chilean geothermal prospects in 2011.
The Longavi MT/ TDEM survey was undertaken by a leading geophysics contractor over a prospect area of 200 square kilometres using three field crews. Processing of field data has been completed and modeling and interpretation is in progress and will be completed within 8 weeks.
Managing director Peter Barnett said "This survey is a significant milestone for HRL's operations in Chile. It represents the final stage of data acquisition in a process of data gathering, interpretation and conceptual modeling which will allow for the evaluation of the suitability of the Longavi prospect for exploration drilling". (ASX: HRL)
The projects are with Wu Gang Loading Equipment Shaft and the Shui On Club Sports Complex in Shanghai.
The Wu Gang project is for a total treatment area of around 8,000 square metres with the first phase about 3,000 square metres. Works will commence this month.
The Shui On Sports Complex was constructed by Shui On, a major Hong Kong based construction company and developer. Shui On contacted Hydrotech as a direct result of the Hong Kong Housing Authority's Press Conference on the MPS System installation to Oi Man Estate in Hong Kong.
The area for the installation is about 1,300 square metres.
JT Waterproofing has also confirmed it has secured three small projects to install the MPS System in luxury villas in Shanghai.
"This market segment offers significant opportunities for the MPS System with both Hydrotech and our agents throughout China working closely to implement marketing strategies to target this potentially lucrative market segment," said Hydrotech.
The company said the value of the recently announced Dalian contract it is RMB 1.2 million ($180,000).
Hydrotech has appointed Dr Francis Lung as chief executive officer in addition to his role as deputy chairman. (ASX: HTI)
Its cash position at the end of February was $1.253 million. $233,000 of the cash came from the recent capital raisings, the balance from trading cash flows. This compares to the cash position at the end of December of $886K, it said.
This means the company was cash flow positive for the first two months on an operational basis, not including capital raising, by $134,000.
The company says it has sufficient cash and access to cash to fund its operating activities going forward. At the end of the February it had trade debtors of $1.093 million and trade creditors of $0.53 million.
Four previously announced developments in Melbourne were commissioned in January and February and have started to generate revenues. These are: Bell Street, Preston; Vivida Apartments, Hawthorn; Lynch Street, Hawthorn; and Ravida Apartments, Camberwell.
These are expected to generate $1.5 million in revenue this financial year.
Chief executive Ian Kiddle said it has been a positive start to the 2011 calendar year.
"We are now in a strong position with a dominant and growing market position. We are in a growth market with the right blend of products and services to deliver sustainable growth and returns. We have a number of contracts about to be signed with major property developers and I will report these to the market, once we have completed the contracts.
"In addition we are currently in negotiations with a major Utility for a long term supply agreement for meters and communications devices.
"Our sales pipeline remains extremely strong and whilst we have experienced delays in projects, they are only timing delays due to circumstances largely outside our control." (ASX: INT)
The Skywater machine was used during the Emerald Move 2010 mission in Senegal from 8 to 28 November, 2010.
The technical report of the Battaglione Logistico Golametto says "The use of Skywater has tested very positively, resulting in economic savings and a reduction of the logistical costs of loading/unloading and distributing bottled water."
The report disclosed additional cost reductions connected to disposing of plastic bottles and packing materials, wood pallets and celophane wrapping. The footprint of the machine is the size of two pallets of bottled water, equivalent to about 1,500 litres of water in half litre bottles, saving cubic metres of cargo space.
The machine is fitted with a mineral filter and an antibacterial system that kills bacteria with an ultraviolet light.
"According to the technical director of field operations, the average production of potable water by the machine was 400 litres per day, with a power consumption average of 11 kW for an average cost of .08 cents per litre, compared to the market cost of .26 cents a litre bottled, a savings of about 2.5 litres per capita," said Island Sky.
"There was therefore a savings of 16,330 litres of bottled water, for a value of 4,245.80 over the 20 day testing period."
"Ultimately, we can advise that the machine in question is an excellent investment in terms of the savings of economic resources while having very positive results for the entire staff, both Italian and foreign, who worked on the Emerald Move 2010 mission," says the report.
Island Sky's Skywater machines draws water vapour from the air and convert it into drinkable water. (ASX: ISK)
Felda Global Group is a Malaysian and one of the world's largest palm oil producers. In collaboration with Mission it has completed ISCC certification for two of its mills and eight plantations in Peninsular Malaysia. Mission's 100,000 tonnes per annum biodiesel plant in Kuantan was the first outside Europe to gain full ISCC certification.
"Mission and Felda's certification constitute full supply chain carbon emissions reporting to demonstrate compliance with German and European GHG savings targets," said Nathan Mahalingam, Group chief executive officer of Mission.
Under the arrangement, Mission and Felda Global Group will work to extend the certification program to additional Felda mills and plantations, further expanding the supply of ISCC certified biodiesel through Mission's refineries.
Felda's group president Dato' Sabri Ahmad said "The certification underscores Felda's sustainability practices. Given that the Felda Global Group is pushing ahead aggressively into biofuels, the ISCC provides the Group with the edge to compete in the international market. Apart from meeting many requirements for Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification, the ISCC certification also complies with the European Union's Renewable Energy Directive (RED)."
ISCC is required for companies to supply biofuel or bioliquid in Germany, which provides subsidies, tax exemptions and other privileges to biofuel users.
"The Renewable Energy Directive requires a minimum of 35 per cent saving in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the use of biofuels and bioliquids to qualify for the subsidies and other privileges. Using our Crude Palm Oil to produce biofuel will result in GHG savings of 47 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively," he said. (ASX: MBT)
Synerject, the 42:58 joint venture between Orbital and Continental Automotive, was the major contributor. Its December half revenue was $56.6 million, up from $41.5 million for the 2008-09 December half. Its profit after tax was $2.5 million, up from $0.8 million.
"Synerject will provide a solid second half result, positive cashflow, pay increased dividends and the investment in new product development will underpin growth in future years," it said.
The Orbital AutoGas Systems (OAGS) division is expected to see a significant increase in revenue next financial year with a full year of supply of its new LPG system for the Ford EGas Falcon.
Meanwhile, OAGS's second half revenue will be adversely affected by the subdued LPG aftermarket and the gap in production of Ford EGas vehicles.
"The launch of the "Liquid" injection LPG product on the HSV line of vehicles enhances OAGS's position in the market," said the company.
In the past three months Orbital's share price has jumped from 19 cents to 48 cents and back to 32 cents. (ASX: OEC)
The 84 page Green Timber Catalog was compiled by the Egyptian Banana Fibre Company in conjunction with Papyrus, and follows a purchase order for Papyrus Australia to supply 10,000 square metres of veneer to the Egyptian company. 2000 square metres have been shipped so far.
The catalog features Papyrus veneers applied to MDF/HDF substrate for floor boards to be marketed in Europe and Egypt. Papyrus recently received the first shipment of flooring samples in Australia.
Chairman Ted Byrt said the catalog demonstrates Papyrus' belief that banana veneer applications will have wide appeal as a "green" alternative to the traditional wood products. The catalog describes the product as "the most environmentally friendly timber flooring on the market".
The catalog is at www.papyrusaustralia.com.au.
The company's shares continue to trade around their year low of 10 cents. (ASX: PPY)
Po Valley Energy
Full year production was 26.8 million cubic metres of gas. The Sillaro field commenced production on 18 May 2010 and produced 18.5 million cubic metres by 31 December. The Castello field started production on 17 December 2009 and produced 8.3 million cubic metres during the full year.
With production from both fields, the company generated revenue of 7,157,331. Cash at year end was 0.97 million or $1.3 million. (ASX: PVE)
It said to date it has spent $9.72 million on exploration, of which $3.1 million was Australian Government REDI and PACE grants. It also received $0.9 million from AGL to help fund the failed Barossa Project which had net company expenditure of $5.7 million.
Recordings for the Barossa Project were "anomalously high but below what would currently be considered viable for an Australian geothermal play," it said.
At 31 December the company had cash of $3.49 million. (ASX: TEY)
This is despite generally positive news, with the company aiming to "more than double net 2P reserves to 200 PJ by July 2011 and triple these in 2012, with increased production underpinned by existing sales contracts".
The company says that on a world comparison its coal seam gas fields rate highly for gas content, gas quality (97 to 98 per cent methane) and coal thickness, and have low water production. (ASX: WCL)
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