Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh So Sweet Brazil

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Cross Border M&A Symposium in New York City which featured the so-called BRICs and other cross-border opportunities.  Brazil figured prominently in the discussion.  I thought it a good idea to check up on Brazil’s participation in the alternative energy industry.  Of course, the first thing we think about Brazil in the context of alternative energy is sugar cane and ethanol.

In the last growing season Brazil producer 596 million tons of sugar cane, a feat that secured Brazil’s position as the largest sugar cane grower in the world.  About 55% of the crop was used to producer ethanol and the balance ended up as sugar.  Brazil’s sugar cane industry association has predicted that despite a severe drought, the 2014-2015 growing season will be even more productive with expected sugar cane production in the range 632 million tons to 636 million tons.  About 40% of Brazil’s sugar cane is produced by a highly populated group of independent farmers. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Westmoreland Coal Makes its Own Sunshine

Last week a list of companies setting new 52-week high prices included an expected achiever  -  Westmoreland Coal Company (WLB:  Nasdaq) .  The stock has been on a tear since the end of last year and gathered momentum as the new year rolled around.  The coal industry has been under a cloud in recent years.  However, Westmoreland created its own sunshine by acquiring the Prairie and Mountain coal mining operations of Sherritt International.  The deal will double Westmoreland revenue and provide the company with new consumer product lines in activated carbon and char.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Investors Push Reset Button on HYGS

Last week shares of Hydrogenics Corp. (HYGS:  Nasdaq) took a steep dip down.  Earlier in the week the company filed a shelf registration statement to raise up to $100 million in new capital over the next two years.  Then before the last day of trading began the company issued new guidance for the year 2014, suggesting weaker sales in the first quarter than previously expected but reaffirming expectations for the full year.

The statement replaced an earlier shelf registration statement for a $25 million capital raise.    The filing came as no surprise to investors, but the significant increase in the potential capital raise may have given a few some pause. What seems to have thrown a wrench in the chart is the disappointment over the first quarter sales guidance.

Friday, April 04, 2014

ASTI: Not Going Anywhere Fast

By Brandon Qureshi, Contributing Author

Recently, Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI:  Nasdaq) , a publicly traded solar power company, received an additional $5.0 million from institutional investor Ironridge Technology, thereby completing a $10 million Series B Preferred Stock investment.  AST, based in Thornton, Colorado, has emerged as a leader in the development of flexible, thin, high-performance solar panels.

In order to examine AST within an industrial context, a profile of the solar power industry is necessary: according to sources such as Time and E&E Publishing, the industry has experienced record levels of popularity in the United States in the last few years. Indeed, a report published by the Solar Energy Industries Association and partner GTM Research demonstrates that the industry has grown by a whopping 41 percent in 2013 alone, citing record levels of installations in the utility sector. Moreover, solar electric installations continue to increase in value – from $8.6 billion in 2011 to $11.5 billion in 2012 to $13.7 billion in 2013.