Friday, March 07, 2014
Last week the Aussies invaded New York City, bivouacking at a popular hotel and parading a string of Australia-based companies in front of investors. Of course, there were the usual mining and minerals companies for which resource-rich Australia is so famous. However, the Australia Stock Exchange - one of the event sponsors - has diversified with listings in communications, biotechnology and alternative energy.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
In the February 18th post on Brightsource Energy and its Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in California cited costs for the plant as well as costs for nuclear and conventional power sources. A reader pointed out a discrepancy in those figures and it prompted me to look more closely at various sources and citations on power plant costs. Even within one design or fuel category, costs for power plants are exceptionally site specific. In particular variance can occur in labor, site preparation, and interconnection requirements. Certain material and equipment costs are more volatile than others. For example, high temperature- high-pressure pipe, electrical transformers and copper wire are high in demand in the oil and gas market as well as the power market. When both industries are busy, costs increase dramatically. So investors should expect quite a bit of variance across power sources and from region to region.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Last week Covanta, Inc. (CVA: NYSE) announced the pricing of a note offering. The waste disposal and waste-to-energy company raised $400 million in the deal. The new capital will make it possible for Covanta to repay some older debt when enough to spare for future expansion capital. Covanta’s business model of using the municipal waste it collects for electricity generation is capital intensive. What is more management has shown a penchant for acquisitions. Just two months ago Covanta acquired two waste transfer stations from a competitor.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
After two years underwater, Flexible Solutions (FSI: NYSE Amex) has posted five consecutive quarters of positive cash flow. Revenue had remained flat over the past three years or so, but in the most recent twelve months sales have ramped to $16.2 million. Management has been deft enough to convert a few more of its sales dollars to cash.
Flexible Solutions earns most of its living from sales of water conservation products. HEAT$AVR slows the evaporation of water and allows water to retain a higher temperature for a longer period of time. It is marketed to owners of swimming pools who want to reduce the energy required to maintain pool water temperature. Heat$avr is dispensed automatically with the company’s proprietary apparatus branded Eco$avr. WATER$AVR slows water loss in large bodies of water such as irrigation canals, aquaculture, and reservoirs.