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...
10for18 march

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2018: Stormy Winter

Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA While the broad market has been turbulent for the start of 2018, clean energy stocks have fared worse than most. The Trump administration's anti-environmental efforts had little effect on clean energy stocks in 2017 (it was a banner year for this model portfolio). So far, this year has been quite different. Last year, investors seemed unfazed by the chaos in Washington, but with the single "win" of the Republican tax give-away to corporations, investors now seem to think that Trump may indeed be able to deliver on his polluter-funded agenda. Income-oriented stocks have also been taking a...

One Week, Three YieldCo Deals. Are More Buyouts on the Horizon?

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA It's been a busy several days in the YieldCo space. On February 5, 8point3 Energy Partners (NASD:CAFD) announced an agreement to be acquired by an infrastructure investment fund managed by Capital Dynamics. While I was still writing an article on why the sale price was at a virtually unheard of discount relative to the stock market price, two more YieldCo deals were announced: NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG) agreed to sell its sponsorship stake in NRG Yield (NYSE:NYLD and NYSE:NYLD/A) to Global Infrastructure Partners, and YieldCo TerraForm Power (NASD:TERP) made an offer to buy out Spanish YieldCo Saeta Yield (Madrid:SAY) at a 20 percent...

First Solar and SunPower Lobby Shareholders to Sell 8point3 YieldCo

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Will shareholders accept the deal? On Monday, 8point3 Energy Partners, the joint YieldCo from First Solar and SunPower, entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Capital Dynamics. When public companies are sold, it's almost always at a premium to the market price. It's that price premium that persuades shareholders to sell. So why would 8point3 (NASD: CAFD) shareholders accept a deal that offers them only $12.35, or 15 to 20 percent below the roughly $15 price CAFD has been trading around for the past three months? To answer this question, we need a little history. Jan Schalkwijk, founder...

Countdown To Codexis’ Day Of Reckoning

It is earnings season and bio-catalyst developer Codexis (CDXS:  Nasdaq) is expected to report fourth quarter and year-end 2017 financial results in the coming weeks.  The three analysts who regularly publish estimates for the company expect a nickel profit in the quarter on $23 million in total sales of the company’s custom protein catalysts.  Codexis is still perfecting its proprietary platform technology called CodeEvolver, but has already delivered an array of unique enzymes that help drive critical biological processes for its customers. Codexis does not have a good track record in terms of meeting the consensus estimate.  The company has only cleared the...

Hannon Armstrong Declines to Raise Dividend, Sets 3 Year Guidance

Investors did not like Hannon Armstrong's (NYSE:HASI) fourth quarter earnings announcement last night.  While core earnings were a little weaker than expected, that is not what has the stock trading down 11% today.  What shocked investors is the fact that the company did not raise the dividend this year for the first time since the REIT went public, and it gave 3 year guidance which likely disappointed many investors. Last month, I wrote, I expect that Hannon Armstrong will continue to be a well run and conservative business in 2018, and that management will raise the dividend at the lower end...

BioAmber Gets Little Love From Investors on Valentine’s Day

by Debra Fiakas Management of sustainable chemical developer BioAmber (BIOA:  NYSE; BIOA:  TSX) have not been feeling much love from the capital markets.  The BioAmber team just wants some consideration for its proprietary platform for production of bio-based succinic acid.  Historically succinic acid has been produced from fossil fuel and sold as an intermediate input for use in drug compounds, agriculture and food production.  BioAmber has fine tuned a fermentation process to transform organic materials such as dextrose sugars into a bio-succinic acid. BioAmber’s woes began last fall when the New York Stock Exchange sent the company a notice of non-compliance with NYSE...

Novozymes Ignites Yeast Wars

Novozymes (Copenhagen:NZYM-B; OTC:NVZMY) moved into yeast this week with a new organism, Innova Drive. It’s saccharomyces cerevisae — the workhouse yeast that has been powering wine fermentation since the days of Noah and the Ark. But here’s a new strain engineered to cut fermentation times up to two hours, and yield boosts of up to two percent. A 2% yield increase and a 5% faster rate of production — let’s illustrate it — would mean something like 7.1 million gallons per year of more ethanol from the same standard 100 million gallon nameplate plant. Retailing at up to $10 million dollars, per year (yes,...

New Biodiesel Vehicles and Emissions Reduction Estimates

The makers of the world’s favorite advanced biofuel — a/k/a the biodiesel industry — descended upon Texas to mingle, make and renew ties at the 2018 National Biodiesel Conference. And, to champion new ideas and find new supply chain and distribution partners. Bummer that there wasn’t a biodiesel tax credit extension on offer. (UPDATE: The new budget includes the biodiesel tax credit.) Bummer that diesel’s getting a bad rap in the press. Bummer that Tom Petty isn’t with us any more to sing: “I’ll Stand My Ground, I Won’t Back Down, I know what’s right, got just one life in a world’s that keeps on...

Biodiesel Tax Credit Back In US Budget Deal

by Jim Lane In Washington, the US Congress passed its budget deal, and among the items in the deal was a retroactive restoration of the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax credit for 2017. The bill did not include a provision for 2018 and future years. The budget compromise had run into headwinds in the Senate, in the form of a voting delay imposed by Rand Paul of Kentucky, while opposition in the House from a group of Democrats and hardline conservatives had put the bill into some degree of jeopardy.Renewable Energy Group CEO Randy Howard said “We are pleased that Congress recognized...

Beets to Gas

by Debra Fiakas, CFA In recent weeks management from Global Bioenergies (ALGBE: EURONEXT)made the rounds among New York City investors. The French specialty chemical developer is trying to win new friends in the U.S. for its bio-isobutene made through the fermentation of organic materials. Isobutene, also called isobutylene, is a four-molecule hydrocarbon that is a foundational chemical in a wide range of common products from gasoline additives to cosmetics. Until recently, isobutene was made exclusively in the crude oil refinement process. It is one of the many by-products of crude oil refining that helps pad the profit margins of big oil...

Biofuels M&A: 2017 Review and Outlook

by Bruce Comer, Ocean Park Advisors More industry players chose to develop and build new capacity rather than buy plants The North American biofuels industry experienced the fewest merger and acquisition transactions in recent history in 2017. There were only six M&A transactions, with a total estimated value of more than $100 million. They involved eight plants with 297 million gallons per year (MGPY) of production capacity. Half of these deals were for non-operating plants. A fourth deal was for a sub-scale demonstration plant. Contributing to the limited deal flow, two historically active acquirers, Green Plains and REG, did not close...

Is AMSC Ready to Get Back to the Future?

Last week a jury found in favor of the United States government in a suit brought in 2013 by the Obama Administration against the Chinese wind turbine producer, Sinovel Wind Group (601558:  Shanghai).  Sinovel was found guilty of stealing technology from American Superconductor (AMSC:  Nasdaq) that had supplied Sinovel with converter hardware and software solutions.  Sinovel may have to pay hefty fines when the final sentencing step is completed in June 2018. American Superconductor (now called AMSC) had already brought a private suit against Sinovel in China two years before the Justice Department filed its case.  The China court dismissed the case for lack of...

Future Remains Bright For Solar Despite The Trump Tariff

by Thomas Byrne Despite the Trump Administration’s assertion that it will benefit the solar industry, the decision to impose a tariff on solar panels will have the opposite effect. While attempting to prop up a handful of American manufacturing jobs that may never materialize, many more jobs installing solar systems are at risk as the pace of installations will slow. Some estimate as many as 23,000 jobs could be lost. But the solar industry has proven resilient through bigger threats, and the global demand for clean energy will eclipse this decision. The remedy imposed by the Administration will have a few immediate impacts on...

Geothermal Tie-up

Ormat Technologies (ORA:  NYSE) is buying U.S. Geothermal (HTM:  NYSE) for $5.45 per share in cash.   The offer represents a 29% premium to the HTM closing price the day prior to the announcement.  The shares had been in a steady decline over the past several months, hitting a 52-week low of $3.11 earlier in January 2018.  So while the offer price pales in comparison to the U.S. Geothermal’s all-time high stock price of $28.68 way back in October 2007, shareholders may be feeling a warm breeze coming off Ormat’s cash. Should Ormat shareholders be as thrilled as the company ponies up $110 million...

Nations in Nuclear Play And The Companies To Benefit

by Debra Fiakas Saudi Arabia plans to build 17.8 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032, requiring about sixteen reactors.  It is an ambitious plan and one that could have a significant impact on the nuclear power construction industry.  Now the Saudi government is moving forward with a bidding process with nuclear power plant construction companies.  Bids are expected before the end of 2018 and signing of contracts will be sometime in 2019. Our review of possible bidders began with Toshiba’s (6502:  Tokyo) Westinghouse Electric Company and Russia’s Rosatom Group.  The last two posts, “Saudi Arabia Goes Nuclear” on January 16th and “Answering Saudi Arabia Request...