Western Wind to Sell Company, Avoid Proxy Battle

Tom Konrad CFA Western Wind and the Toronto Hedge Funds Last October, Western Wind Energy (TSXV:WND, OTC:WNDEF) received an unsolicited takeover bid of $2.50 a share from Algonquin Power (TSX:AQN, OTC:AQUNF) to buy the company.  Before the bid, the stock had been trading in the $1.20-$1.25 range, but President and CEO Jeff Ciachurski felt that it did not fully value the company’s projects and assets, including approximately $1 per share of US tax assets which the Canadian company Algonquin would not be able to use. Large shareholders at the time were in favor of the sale, including at least one shareholder...

Western Wind Energy: A Matter of Trust, and Value

Tom Konrad CFA The Windstar Wind Farm. Photo credit: Western Wind Energy Yesterday, I wrote about Western Wind Energy’s (TSXV:WND, OTC:WNDEF) plans to increase the 1603 cash grant for their Windstar wind farm.  But that was not the only thing discussed in Monday’s conference call. Investor Frustration During the Q&A, many investors were concerned about Western Wind’s recent deal to acquire a 4 GW wind development pipeline from Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings.   The concern was that the company would be issuing 8 million shares for the assets, but the company...

Western Wind Expects Full Cash Grant for Windstar

Tom Konrad CFA The Windstar Wind Farm. Photo credit: Western Wind Energy On July 10, shares of Western Wind Energy (TSX:WND, OTC:WNDEF)plummeted because of a $12.2 million shortfall in the 1603 cash grant from the US Treasury for the company’s Windstar wind farm compared to the application.  In order to reassure skittish investors, the company held a conference call on Monday, July 16. On the tenth, I thought that investors should write off the 1603 cash grant shortfall, despite the fact that the company intended to send a delegation...

Alterra Power: Cash to Invest

Tom Konrad CFA I sometimes think Alterra Power (TSX:AXY, OTC:MGMXF) is unfairly lumped with other small, renewable energy developers. A typical problem for small developers over the last few years has been raising the funds to invest, even when they have compelling prospects.  For instance, Western Wind Energy stock (TSX:WND,OTC:WNDEF) has been beat up recently because a large Federal cash grant is delayed.  Finavera Wind Energy (TSXV:FVR, OTC:FNVRF) has been declining for most of the year as they look for a strategic partner to help fund their permitted wind developments, despite significant progress permitting those projects and...

Where’s Western Wind Energy’s Tax Grant?

Tom Konrad CFA  On March 22, Western Wind Energy (TSX-V:WND, OTC:WNDEF) applied for a $90,556,707 tax-free 1603 grant from the US Treasury on behalf of the completed 120MW Windstar project.  The press release stated that the grant is subject to approval by the Treasury and payable within sixty days. The Windstar Wind Farm. Photo credit: Western Wind Energy It’s now more than three months later, and no tax grant.  The stock is down 24% since May 22, when the grant was expected, but management remains confident they will get...

Buying Opportunity at Renewable Energy REIT, Courtesy of Disgruntled Shareholder

Tom Konrad CFA Power REIT (AMEX:PW) aims to be the first renewable energy infrastructure Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). The Renewable Energy REIT Renewable energy advocates have been calling for a change in the tax laws to allow renewable energy within the REIT structure.  A REIT is allowed to pass profits directly through to investors.  These profits are not subject to double-taxation like most corporate profits.  Owning shares of a renewable REIT would be much like owning a slice of a wind or solar farm.  This would open up the renewable energy investment opportunity to everyone, not just...

A Gust of Wind Industry Mergers

Tom Konrad CFA Wind Turbines photo via Bigstock A rising tide may float all boats, but a stiff wind separates the wheat from the chaff. Over the last week, it’s become clearer which wind developers are the wheat, and which are the chaff.  Stronger developers with deeper experience are buying projects from their weaker kin.  At least two such deals were announced last week. On May 15th, Western Wind Energy  (TSXV:WND, OTC:WNDEF) signed a deal to acquire the entire 4,000 MW wind energy development pipeline of private Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings, with near...

Western Wind: A Clean Energy Rodney Dangerfield?

Tom Konrad CFA Renewable energy power producer Western Wind Energy Corp (WNDEF.PK, WND.V) feels it gets no respect.  In particular, they have long felt that the investing public does not recognize the value of the company's existing and nearly completed wind farms.  Western Wind's Kingman I Wind & Solar park. Photo courtesy of the company. Independent Valuation Almost every company will tell you that their shares are undervalued, but what's a bit more unusual in this case is that their assets (Wind farms with a little solar thrown in) are...

Dividends and Value Among Renewable Energy Power Producers

Tom Konrad CFA Almost every stock market sector fell significantly in late July and August this year, and such market declines send me searching for value stocks paying good dividends which I can hold for the long term.  In mid-July, I found some decent values by sifting through the trash, but I was less enthused by the value proposition of conglomerates involved in the clean energy space.  Today I'll take a look at a group of...

Valuing the Boralex Power Income Fund Buy-Out

Tom Konrad, CFA Boralex Inc. made an offer to buy out the Boralex Power Income Fund on May 19.  The price is reasonable.  Boralex (BLX.TO, BRLXF.PK) announced on May 2 that it would offer C$5 per share in convertible bonds for all outstanding shares of the Boralex Power Income Fund (BPT-UN.TO, BLXJF.PK) that it did not already own in an acquisition approved by both boards.  As usual with mergers, the Boralex Power Income Fund's ("the Fund's") unit price jumped from C$4.61 to C$4.90 the next day, but then if started to fall back as people had...

CBD Energy and SFC Smart Fuel Cell Look Promising

From Small Fries to Big Shots? (Pt. 2 of 2) Bill Paul Here now are two more small alternative energy companies, both of which look to be just starting to hit their stride. How far they'll go only time will tell, but each seems to warrant a closer look. Take note: like the vast number of other pure-play alternative energy firms with intriguing growth prospects, neither of these is U.S.-based. Rule of thumb: whether you're a big institutional or small individual investor, to succeed in alternative energy, you must scour every corner of the earth. First up: CBD Energy,...

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...

Another Look at the Algonquin Power Income Fund

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA The Algonquin Power Income Fund (AGQNF.PK) has been one of my star performers in an excellent year.  Is it still a good investment at these prices?  Since I recommended the Algonquin Power Income Fund (AGQNF.PK/APF-UN.TO) in January as a renewable energy income stock for 2009, the company is up 69%, in addition to the C$0.02 monthly dividend, worth approximately another 8% through August on the US$1.82 purchase price, making it the second-best performing of my ten picks (after Cree, Inc (CREE).)  However, since the major basis for my recommendation at the time was the...

De-Carbonizing Electricity – Will King Coal Finally Be Dethroned?

Charles Morand Last Friday, the WSJ's Environmental Capital blog noted how, according to HSBC, growing government efforts to de-carbonize the electricity supply across the developed world would hurt makers of power generation technology with high exposure to coal. Yesterday, the EIA released its Electric Power Monthly report for April 2009. In it, the agency notes the following: The drop in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific decline from April 2008 to April 2009 as it fell by 20,551 thousand megawatthours, or 13.9 percent  The April decline was the third consecutive month of historically large drops...

Investing In Wood Pellets, Part II – A Stock

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the emerging wood pellets industry and how this form of biomass was experiencing rapid growth as a coal substitute in power generation, mostly in Europe as a result of renewable energy and climate regulations. In the time since I wrote that article, I have been looking for ways to invest in the global wood pellets sector. Unfortunately, my search came up mostly empty (except for 1 stock discussed below). In response to my previous post, a reader pointed me to an article Joe Romm at Climate Progress had recently written...

Investing In Wood Pellets, Part I

Last week, I mentioned that I had attended a conference focused on opportunities in the biomass and bioenergy sectors. One of the article ideas I got from this conference was on the emerging market for wood pellets (tightly packed sawdust and other wood shavings) for heat and electricity. How interesting that, over the weekend, the magazine Science published an article suggesting that the US should ramp up its use of wood for small-scale heat and electricity production (the article is not available free of charge but you can find a summary here). The Wood (Pellet) Advantage It...