Climate Change & Corporate Disclosure: Should Investors Care?

Charles Morand On Monday morning, I received an e-copy of a new research note by BofA Merrill Lynch arguing that disclosure by publicly-listed companies on the issue of climate change was becoming increasingly "important". The note claimed: "e believe smart investors and companies will recognize the edge they can gain by understanding low carbon trends." I couldn't agree more with that statement. It was no coincidence that on that same day the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a non-profit UK-based organization that surveys public companies each year on the state of their climate change awareness, was...

Five Alternative Energy Stocks I’ll Research “One of These Days”

I have more ideas than I have time to explore them, and it's getting out of hand.  I still need to write the promised articles on Evergreen Solar (ESLR) and Lithium Technology Corp (LTHU), but there are many others that have caught my attention over the last six months or so.  Since the list keeps getting longer, I thought I'd just give you a taste of some of the companies in my inbox, and why they seem interesting.  Since I may or may not ever write articles about any of these, I thought I'd give people the opportunity to...

Two High Yield Energy Efficiency Stocks with a Free Call Option on Housing

Tom Konrad CFA It's no secret that the housing market is in the doldrums.  New housing starts in August fell to an annual rate of 571,000, and fewer homes were under construction since record keeping began in 1970.  This has taken a toll on energy efficiency stocks in the housing sector, leading to some very attractive pricing in two of my favorites. Waterfurnace Renewable Energy (WFI.TO / WFIFF.PK) I've long been fan of Waterfurnace, an Indiana-based manufacturer of ground source and water-source heat pumps.  A note from a reader Wednesday prompted me to poll...

OLED Miscues

Last week shares of Universal Display (OLED:  Nasdaq) closed down 15.8% on the week.  The price move was a surprise, especially for Universal’s ebullient management team.  The company had reported sales and earnings well above expectations for the fourth quarter ending December 2017, as the market embraces the company's proprietary energy-saving display technology.  The consensus had been for $0.85 in earnings per share on $100 million in total sales for the quarter. Management delivered. Sales in the quarter totaled $115.9 million as sales of proprietary PHOLED phosphorescent materials soared.  Net income was $32.8 million or $0.69 per share.  Excluding a one-time write-off of deferred tax assets of $11.5 million...

Recycler Priced for Recovery

by Debra Fiakas CFA Shares of Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCI:  Nasdaq) has trended downward over the last year, despite some strong fundamental progress in the company’s position the recycling sector.  The corporate name tells at least part of the company’s story.  Besides recycling appliances such as washers, dryers and refridgerators, ARC also sells new and like-new appliances right out of the box.  The company has eighteen stores branded ApplianceSmart across the country.  Services to electric utilities and other energy companies related to energy efficiency programs provide yet another revenue source. In the twelve months ending March 2017, ARC reported...

Ten LED Stocks, and a Wildcard

Tom Konrad CFA Clean Edge says the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs is opening the way for low-cost LEDs.  These are the stocks to know. Federal regulations are flipping the switch on our love affair with incandescent light bulbs.  Research firm Clean Edge's just-released Clean Energy Trends 2011 says this opens the way for a clean energy trend to watch: With compact-fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs the only legal competition in much of the world, Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs need only the arrival of an affordable replacement for the standard 60 watt bulb in order to be met...
Packaged Mechanicals from Factory Zero used by Energie Sprong

The Challenge of Scaling Up Building Energy Retrofits

It’s almost always easier and cheaper to build an energy-efficient building in the first place than retrofitting existing structures. But humanity doesn’t always have that luxury. by Tom Konrad, PhD., CFA The sheer number of older, inefficient buildings means retrofits must be a critical part of decarbonizing the world’s building stock. There’s a pressing need, then, to develop new techniques for performing large numbers of energy-efficiency retrofits quickly and cost-effectively. The average age of a U.S. home is nearly 40 years, while nearly 40 percent of homes in the U.K. were built before World War II. Most building energy retrofits are one-off affairs...

Saviors and Saboteurs in Alternative Energy

John Petersen Last week Societe Generale published a thematic research report titled "A new world order, when demand overtakes supply" which examines the macro-economic and demographic trends that will transform the global economy over the next 20 years. It mirrored the theme of Jeremy Grantham's April 2011 quarterly letter titled "Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever" and did a great job of summarizing an issue I touched on in "How PHEVs and EVs Will Sabotage America's Drive For Energy Independence." In the words of Societe Generale: "So, while...

LSB Industries And Activist Fund Position Themselves For Board Election

With the resignation of four non-independent directors and reduction in the size of LSB’s board, the company has managed to appear to be making a step towards reform while making it harder for the activist fund to gain influence. Gaining influence in a tightly controlled family firm is never easy. It looks like the task just got significantly harder for Engine Capital in its quest to unlock shareholder value at LSB.

NovX21: Urban Miner

by Debra Fiakas CFA There's Platinum in them catalytic converters. Mention platinum and most of us think about beautiful and expensive jewelry.  However, platinum can be found in the dullest of products.  Catalytic converters used in automobiles for emissions control represent about one-third of the demand for platinum. The devices attached to the rear of our cars uses a mix of previous metals to remove nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from engine exhaust.  The catalytic converter on a typical car uses a gram or less of platinum,...

Waterfurnace 7 Series vs. Climatemaster Trilogy Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Best of the Best

UPDATE: I just looked into the 7 Series vs the Trilogy 40 in more detail here and came to a slightly different conclusion. Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock Waterfurnace Renewable Energy (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) launched its new highly efficient 7 Series geothermal heat pumps (GHP) today.  The 7 Series commercial release beats Climatemaster’s (a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU)) Trilogy 40 as the first commercially available GHP with a variable speed compressor.  The Trilogy 40 is currently available as part of a pilot program, and is expected to be commercially available...

Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Next Generation

Tom Konrad CFA The most efficient way to heat and cool a building just got more efficient. Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock Climatemaster, a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU), recently announced that their new Trilogy 40 geothermal heat pump (GHP) had been certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to exceed 40 Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) under ground loop conditions. EER is the ratio of effective cooling (heat removed) to the energy used, at maximal load, and is the standard...

Zumtobel Turns LED into Dividends

by Debra Fiakas CFA Based on Austria, Zumtobel Group (ZMTBF:  OTC or ZAG:  Vienna) is a supplier of modern lighting products using Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.  Zumtobel sells its lights and components under three international brands Thorn, Tridonic and Zumtobel and two regional brands ACDC and Reiss.  Zumtobel has a long history in lighting with its foundation in the 1950s in Dr. Zumtobel’s Electrogerate und Kunstharzpresswerk.  The Thorn brand, which was acquired in 2000, dates back to the 1920s when founder Jules Thorn set up the Electric Lamp Service Company.  Zumtobel sells lights in over...

Three Money Managers See LED Industry Shining in 2013; Their Stock Picks

Tom Konrad LED lights on an outdoor tree. Photo by author This is the third article in my series based on my panel of green money managers’ predictions for 2013.  The first article looked at what they expect 2013 holds for the Solar industry, and the second looked at their predictions  for the Smart Grid.  This installment focuses on the LED industry. Jeff Cianci: Faster than Anyone Expects Jeff Cianci is Chief Investment Officer at equity investment fund Green Science Partners. Cianci says “The trend toward LED lighting for...

LEDs: A better light bulb. Again.

by Marc Gunther.  So you remember CFLs, right? The curlicue bulbs? The time they took to go on? The harsh light? Despite their drawbacks, compact fluorescents have sold fairly well in the US. They save customers money. Utilities promoted and subsidized CFLs, particularly in California. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) pledged to sell 100 million of them. Time magazine put one on the cover. By 2012, CFLs represented 27 percent of the bulbs installed in the over 3 billion medium screw-based sockets in the United States, according to a Navigant study quoted by NRDC. Other researchers put the number lower, about 20 percent,...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #10 United Technologies

Like most conglomerates, United Technologies Corporation (UTC), (NYSE:UTX) won't be found in any of the Clean Energy indices, but its growing portfolio of clean energy businesses makes it fit well into a diversified portfolio with a clean energy tilt.  A conservative capital structure and solid earnings and cash flow, and a decades long history of constantly increasing dividends make this a company that I'm comfortable holding for the long term.   In terms of sustainability, the company has been recognized by Dow Jones as in the top 10% of the world's most sustainable companies.  Long before it became fashionable for...
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