Eco Investor Update
A Weekly News Update for Environmental Investors
March 2012 - No 71
Sims Metal Management
In January Sims acquired 16 per cent of the existing shares of CTG and an option to acquire another 2 per cent of existing shares. It also has three-year warrants for 13 million new CTG shares at an exercise price of HK$6 per warrant.
CTG founder chairman Ankong Fang and Delco Participation B.V. also subscribed for a convertible bond on equivalent terms, so that CTG received in total HK$816 million from the issue of all convertible bonds. (ASX: SGM)
Tox Free Solutions
Fund manager IOOF Holdings appears to be taking profits as it has reduced its holding from 12.94 to 11.76 per cent, with many of the sales occuring between 1 January and 1 March as Tox's share price rose strongly. (ASX: TOX)
Interest Rate Securities
Transpacific SPS Trust
The latest deal is an agreement with Westgate Ports Pty Ltd and Westgate Port Services Pty Ltd to acquire the assets and take an assignment of the leases that Westgate holds at Victoria Dock in Melbourne.
The assets will sit in Qube's Logistics division. Qube said the transaction provides it with long-term tenure on a major site in Australia's busiest container port precinct.
Consideration is around $47 million, to be paid through the issue of $7 million of Qube shares at $1.4749 per share and the balance in cash from Qube's existing cash and debt facilities. Although subject to a small number of conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed this month.
Westgate has 18 years remaining on a lease over 17 hectares of strategically located land at Victoria Dock. The site comprises vessel berths, rail terminal, hardstand and warehousing plus a significant area to develop further capacity. Qube expects to spend around $15 million over the next 12-18 months to develop this capacity.
Managing director, Maurice James, said "The strategic advantage of having a major facility with scope for further expansion located at the port is very important to Qube's growth plans."
Qube intends to consolidate some of its existing Melbourne operations onto the Westgate site to achieve cost savings and synergies.
Following the capital expenditure, Qube expects to have significant capacity to grow its Melbourne operations on the site over the medium to longer term.
Qube will also lease new warehousing facilities from entities associated with the vendor at Altona in Western Melbourne and Lyndhurst in South East Melbourne following completion of the development of these facilities. Qube said it intends to develop rail facilities adjacent to each of these to complement its strategy of port-rail logistics transport.
As part of the transaction, Qube will enter an alliance agreement with Salta Properties on logistics and warehouse activities including jointly promoting the use of rail transport to and from the Port of Melbourne using a range of existing and proposed inland terminals operated by Qube and or Salta.
Qube will have the right to operate any inland terminals developed at Altona and Lyndhurst.
Combining Qube's existing inland
terminal at Somerton in the North with the proposed Salta inland terminals
at Altona in the west and Lyndhurst in the south east will provide industry
This network will be connected to Qube's port logistics terminals located at Dynon and Victoria Dock. This will provide a complete rail and road solution that is capable of significantly reducing road congestion and optimizing container logistic movement to and from the Port of Melbourne, said Mr James.
"The alliance agreement is a tangible way to work together to realize the significant opportunity to establish an efficient network of intermodal facilities to service Melbourne's growing container market and to mirror and complement our intermodal strategy nationally", he said.
Meanwhile, Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding Invest Malta has reduced its holding in Qube from 10.97 to 8.56 per cent. (ASX: QUB)
The agreement provides for 300 MW of solar energy projects in California, Arizona and Texas. Projects will range in size from 20 MW to 100 MW, and construction could begin from 2013 subject to market conditions.
"We are excited about this transaction as it adds advanced development projects to our portfolio, allowing Infigen to grow its business in markets that are complementary to our existing operating assets," said Andrew Flanagan, vice president of Development & Asset Management at Infigen Energy.
The projects combine Pioneer's development resources and capabilities with Infigen's project execution expertise and operating strength, said Cyrus Tashakkori, vice president and head of Pioneer's solar development.
Formed in 2009, Pioneer was created to meet the US' demand for green energy projects. The company is headed by Andy Bowman, a veteran wind industry executive, and is based in Austin, Texas, with offices in California and staff on the east coast. The company's seven founders have collectively helped to develop more than 2,500 MW of wind projects around the country that are now owned and operated by major renewable energy companies.
Infigen said it will continue to look for development and acquisition opportunities that allow it prudently grow its presence in the US. (ASX: IFN)
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be located in Sydney and will fund $10 billion in renewable energy projects.
Mr McGowan says Australia was in danger of slipping behind global support for renewable energy, which underlines why a renewable energy business like CBD needs to have an international business strategy.
"CBD is finding opportunities for renewable energy projects in the US and Europe and while there is significant scope in Australia, government support for this seems to get undermined by critics," he said.
"Renewable energy is cheaper to produce, costs of coal and gas fired power will only go up, and the cost of building new power stations, which is the opportunity cost, is enormous.
"A country that understands this formula is Germany, which has a 100 per cent renewable energy target, with currently 21 per cent of its power from renewables compared with Australia's 8 per cent. Germany, with far less sunlight than Australia, has 150 million solar panels installed, or 25,000 MW, which is more than Australia's entire baseload capacity. By comparison, Australia has a mere 1,250 MW of photovoltaic panels installed.
"In the recent cold snap in Europe, Germany exported energy to the predominantly nuclear powered France, which shows the reliability of renewables that is often missed.
"A lot of what Germany has achieved has been through feed in tariffs which can be an effective mechanism when operating at the right level.
"When NSW introduced a feed in tariff scheme and then abandoned it because of its popularity, critics focused on its potential cost and ignored opportunity cost entirely. Actual cost of the scheme will be approximately $1.5 billion, not a potential $4 billion cost highlighted by critics, and it created 380 MW of solar power on people's rooftops which will generate electricity for the next 25 years.
"In comparison, to build a new coal fired power station in the Hunter Valley, which the population would not want, would cost about $1 billion to generate 500 MW plus the additional ongoing operating costs and the cost of the transmission assets," said Mr McGowan.
"It is quite possible these same critics will accuse CBD of having a vested interest in supporting the Australian government's Clean Energy fund while ignoring the huge benefits the fund can bring.
"Sure CBD has an interest, but we also have a pipeline of projects in Europe and the US, which has just zoomed past China, according to the latest Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index. What these countries appreciate is the divergent cost of renewables and coal fired power.
"In NSW it currently costs between 5 and 7 cents a kilowatt hour to produce solar energy compared with coal fired power at between 20 and 30 cents a kilowatt hour and 43 cents at peak.
"We already know about the direction of coal and gas fired energy costs, with IPART having approved a 17.6 per cent lift in prices for 2011 and likely to allow a 20 per cent increase for 2012. Average consumers understand this difference very well and will come to appreciate the government's $10 billion establishment of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation," said Mr McGowan. (ASX: CBD)
Micro Cap Companies
Revenue rose to $747,000, but there were significant costs, and the non-executive directors will not take cash for their directors' fees this financial year.
During the half year the company restarted the Reclaim Industries business after acquiring its business assets in June 2011. The assets needed significant improvement and maintenance to return them to full working order, but the company said it expects to be able to report significant improvements in sales in the short term.
In December 2011 Carbon Polymers purchased additional plant and equipment and some of this has been installed and recommissioned at the Smithfield plant in NSW. This will substantially increase its ability to supply superfine product to customers and it is looking to achieve a similar rollout of additional plant at its other sites.
The board said it will revalue the Property, Plant and Equipment in Oakturn, which are currently recorded at cost less accumulated depreciation. This should significantly increase the carrying value of the company's Property, Plant and Equipment as at 30 June 2012. (ASX: CBP)
La Jolla Cove Investors has converted another 55,555,556 shares at 0.09 cents each. Intermoco's share are at 0.1 cents, the lowest shares can go. (ASX: INT)
The next day Mission announced that it had a letter dated 6 March from Nasdaq indicating that it is not in compliance with the minimum market value of publicly held shares, which is US$15 million.
Mission has until 4 September to regain compliance - where Mission closes at US$15 million or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days.
This notification is in addition to the letter from the Nasdaq in September 2011 indicating that Mission was not in compliance with the minimum market value of listed securities - a minimum of US$50 million for at least 10 consecutive trading days by 19 March 2012.
As Mission is unable to regain compliance by 19 March, it may be subject to possible delisting. If so Mission may appeal the determination.
Until then Mission's common stock will continue to trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol MNEL, but its stock symbol will have an indicator of Nasdaq noncompliance. (ASX: MBT)
Phoslock Water Solutions
The new directors are Bruce Brown, Patrick Mackey and Richard Aird. Their appointment follows that of Howard Stack as chairman last month.
Mr Brown was previously managing director and chief executive of Campbell Brothers Ltd, said to be one of Queensland's most successful industrial companies, where he managed much of the company's international expansion. He remains a non-executive director of Campbell Brothers, a director of Transpacific Industries Ltd and was previously chairman of Flight Centre Ltd.
Mr Mackey is a co-owner of PTE Hydraulics Pty Ltd, a privately owned manufacturing business supplying precision products to industrial companies in Australia and internationally. He is a chartered accountant and has previously treasurer and commercial manager of Utah Mining Australia, global finance director of DHL Business Systems, and commercial manager of the Oilmin/Moonie Oil Group.
Mr Aird has been chief operating officer of RedFlow since early 2010 and was a RedFlow director until the company's listing on the ASX. He is responsible for all RedFlow's manufacturing, supply chain activities, including the transition of the manufacturing and supply chain to Singapore. He joins the board as an executive director.
Mr Stack said "The addition of these three directors significantly extends the range of capabilities and experience of the board as RedFlow moves to offshore manufacturing and seeks to penetrate international markets."
Existing director Ken Smith is retiring due to a change in his personal circumstances. (ASX: RFX)
Net assets fell to $1.6 million.
Sales of its sustainable timber were up in Australia and the US but significantly down in Europe. (ASX: SYP)
The offer is at 25 cents per share.
Executive chairman Angus Karoll said the offer is an opportunity for existing investors to participate in WestSide's growth through the further development of the Meridian SeamGas business and the company's exploration assets.
The funds are needed to maintain and increase gas production for existing and future customers from the Meridian SeamGas gas fields in Queensland's Bowen Basin.
Some of the offer proceeds will be invested in a field development feasibility study for a Final Investment Decision to support possible new gas sales agreements. Another portion will be used to fund WestSide's joint venture share of exploration programs in its Bowen and Galilee Basin tenements.
Preparations for the capital raising were initiated well before WestSide received the indicative, conditional, non-binding takeover proposal from Liquefied Natural Gas that was announced on 13 February.
WestSide said that as there is no certainty that the indicative proposal will result in a binding takeover offer or reach any conclusion in a desirable timeframe, it formed the view that it must proceed with the capital raising to continue its production, development and exploration programs. Delay could hamper the winning of new gas sale contracts.
The offer is fully underwritten by RBS Morgans Corporate. LNG Limited does not object to the issue of shortfall shares.
The 25 cent issue price is 47.9 per cent below the closing price on 5 March, the last trading day for WestSide shares before the offer was announced. It is 61.5 per cent below the 65 cents referred to in the indicative proposal.
The announcement of the indicative takeover proposal saw WestSide's shares jump from around the 25 to 30 cent range to a high of 58 cents, and since announcement of the entitlement offer they have traded around 40 to 45 cents,
Shareholders New Hope Corporation,
the ANZ managed Energy Infrastructure Trust, and Nathan Mitchell, who
together hold 35 per cent of WestSide, will take up 100 per cent of
In August 2011, Dart International and SSE entered a GSA for five years commencing April 2103 under which Dart International will deliver gas with no minimum delivery requirement and which at full volume would result in Dart delivering all current PEDL 133 2P reserves of approximately 45 billion cubic feet (Bcf) during the term.
The amendment introduces a second phase to the GSA whereby for five years commencing April 2015, Dart International will be able to deliver incremental volumes of gas to SSE, on terms and conditions identical to the existing GSA.
Dart International chief executive John McGoldrick said "The expanded volume of potential gas sales from PEDL 133 continues to demonstrate progress we are making against our core corporate goal - to monetize our gas in the near-term. As we have progressed the PEDL133 pilot drilling and development planning, we have been able to demonstrate greater certainty around the field's production potential, translating directly into the ability to sell more gas.
"We now have forward visibility on potential sales of over 60 Bcf of gas from the PEDL 133 project, commencing as early as April. This represents around 10 per cent of the contingent resource on the block, so we believe that as we move into production and continue to mature a greater proportion of the resource, there is ability to increase gas sales and revenues even further."
Given current gas prices in Europe, Bcf of potential sales is more than $500 million of potential revenues, so the gas sales arrangements in place for PEDL 133 could result in substantial long-term revenues for Dart International, he said. (ASX: DTE)
An appeal to Malaysia's minister of Science, Technology and Innovation has been lodged under section 32 of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act in relation to the decision to approve the temporary operating licence (TOL) for the plant. The appeal will be heard in April.
And in Australia, StopLynas.org is asking people to support the Malaysian resistance with a petition to Australian politicians.
Stoplynas.org says 3,000 people have already signed the petition, and is moving to Care2 to reach its goal of 50,000 signatures.
The petition calls on Australian politicians to place a ban on all rare earth exports from Lynas' Mount Weld operation in WA to the plant at Malaysia.
Rare earths are used in our iphones, laptops, flat screen TVs and wind turbines, but their processing can produce radioactive waste.
Malaysian locals near the plant say it imposed on them without their consent, and that the plant will use 720 tons of concentrated hydrochloride acid per day and leave behind 28,000 tonnes of solid waste, they say.
However, objectors may have left heir run too late. The plant is largely built so it seems unlikely Malaysian authorities would stop it now so that the capital expended was wasted and the country's international reputation was affected. Likewise, stopping the shipment of ore from WA would result in the wasting of hundreds of millions of dollars in capital already expended. (ASX: LYC)
Final plant commissioning is underway and first production remains on track for end of the March quarter.
The project has a total cost of around $100 million. It has a design capacity of 17,000 tonnes per annum and is one of the most technologically advanced plants of its kind in the world. (ASX: GXY)
Micro Cap Companies
Advanced Engine Components
The sale includes all Australian inventory, plant and equipment, intellectual property, non China contracts including India, France and Australia.
ACE will retain all existing receivables, China inventory, China plant and equipment, and China contracts and cooperation agreements. Westport Innovations will enter into a non exclusive licensing arrangement with ACE that will enable ACE to continue to manufacture, service and sell its ACE natural gas vehicle systems in China, enter into sub-licensing arrangements with other China based groups subject to prior approval of Westpoint, and have the ability to access former ACE employees and technology on a fee for service basis.
The consideration is $1.45 million and will consist of cash, the assumption of some employee entitlements for all transferring ACE employees, and the repayment by Westpoint of certain bridging finance debts of ACE and the forgiveness of the bridging finance debt owed by AEC to Westpoint.
A number of conditions need to be met but completion is expected by 31 March.
China is ACE's major market for natural gas vehicle systems where it is a major supplier to the medium to heavy duty engine market.
China's medium to heavy duty natural gas engine market is 80,000 per year and growing at 30 per cent per annum. ACE says it has a number of competitive advantages in China including fuel efficiency, cost, emission standards and flexibility.
It has ongoing trials, contracts and engine development programs with some of China's largest automotive companies, and over 1,000 vehicles use the ACE NGVS and require increasing volumes of spare parts each year.
ACE will continue to employ 10 to 15 technical/engineering personnel in China with a small administrative office in Australia.
However, post deal ACE will have an $8.1 million deficiency in equity, and will still need to continue its restructure.
The majority of liabilities are monies owed to related parties. ACE said the major shareholders and lenders/ creditors support the transaction and it has in principle agreement that if the deal proceeds and ACE concentrates on the China market they will work with the board to restructure ACE's debt position so as to enable the voluntary suspension of ACE shares to be lifted.
A general meeting will be needed to bring regulatory requirements up to date and possibly to approve components of the debt restructure, so it is unlikely ACE's shares will be re-instated before 30 June. (ASX: ACE)
The company has a share purchase plan underway at 18 cents per share. (AX: DYE)
Earth Heat Resources
The capital is to progress the major components of the Copahue geothermal project in Argentina.
The company is now beginning the first phase of the field program that will support the commencement and efficient completion of the Bankable Feasibility Study
Managing director Torey Marshall welcome all new shareholders, and in particular fund managers, who share the vision for where the company is moving. (ASX: EHR)
Geodynamics and partner Origin Energy have also sold the jointly-owned drilling rig asset, Rig 100, to Key International Drilling Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Weatherford International Ltd. The consideration for the rig and drilling equipment is $16.8 million less selling costs.
Geodynamics has a new agreement with Weatherford to carry out the drilling of Habanero 4 using Rig 100. For future wells, Geodynamics will lease or use a rig hiring arrangement in line with standard industry practice.
Chief executive officer Geoff Ward said the sale of Rig 100 frees up funds to continue the appraisal and development of the Cooper Basin Deeps' resource.
"Together with existing funds and those recently secured from capital raising, the settlement of the Habanero 3 insurance claim as well as accelerated access to funding under the $90 million federal Renewable Energy Demonstration Program (REDP) grant, Geodynamics is strongly positioned to carry out this current drilling campaign at Habanero," he said. (ASX: GDY)
Liquefied Natural Gas
LNG has ceased to be a substantial shareholder in Oil Basins Ltd. (ASX: LNG)
This showed a shallow inferred resource estimated to contain 239,200 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and 1.03 million tonnes of potash to an average depth of 13.3 metres.
The shallow brine body has attractive grades and excellent chemistry with a low magnesium to lithium ratio of 2.5, a high potassium to lithium ratio of 12.5 and a low sulphate to lithium ratio of 5.8 in the central area of drilling, rising to 10.6 for the area covered by all the company properties over the salar.
Test work since late 2010 suggests high recoveries of both potassium and lithium could be expected using a simple, low operating cost process.
The low sulphate levels indicate that potash recovery would be high and as a co-product of lithium carbonate production with potentially eight tonnes of potash produced for each tonne of lithium carbonate produced.
The installation of test production wells is planned for long term pumping tests. If the results are positive the company will undertake further drilling and a preliminary economic assessment. (ASX: ORE)
AGEA has 26 members, primarily from exploration and development companies, and is led by chief executive officer, Susan Jeanes.
Over the next few months, AGEA will be involved in advocacy with a range of stakeholders as the Commonwealth's carbon pricing initiatives are introduced. These include the carbon pricing initiative that commences from July, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The CEFC and ARENA are both planned to be established by July 2012 with ARENA having $3.2 billion in grant funding under its management of which $1.8 billion is unallocated to programs or projects.
AGEA's focus over the next few months will be to propose policy and program initiatives in the lead up to the establishment of ARENA that will enable the geothermal energy sector to make major progress. (ASX: PTR)
The Wicklow Tungsten Block contains an extensive tungsten system. However tungsten is an environmentally neutral mineral.
The Company intends to form a separate subsidiary to progress of its projects with exposure to tungsten and gold. The Wicklow Tungsten Block will be included in the new entity.
Strategic Materials Pty Ltd will remain tightly focused on its Australian and New Zealand rare earths projects. Results from the initial fieldwork in New Zealand are pending. (ASX: SOR)
Torrens said it understands that "Deck Chair is a company associated with Darien Jagger, a director of, and head of corporate finance in Perth, at Cygnet Capital Pty Ltd. Cygnet was the lead manager of TEY's initial public offering in 2007, and most recently acted as underwriter to TEY's entitlement issue completed in September 2011, and has been paid considerable fees by TEY in respect of these mandates.
"In view of the relationship between the Company and Cygnet, the board of directors of TEY is disappointed with the circumstances that have arisen, and is investigating its legal options."
Meanwhile, following the recent placement to AEW Holdings, both AGL Energy and John Canaris and Tracker Geoservices Pty Ltd have been diluted. AGL now has an 8.88 per cent holding and John Canaris and Tracker Geoservices is no longer a substantial shareholder.
The action seems to have helped Torrens Energy's shares, which reached a one year high of 8.5 cents on 8 March. (ASX: TEY)
All subscriptions received under the prospectus will be returned. WAG is considering its options. The consolidation of capital approved by shareholders in December will not proceed. (ASX: WAG)
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