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MIT Energy Conference 2010
Mar 8-10, Las Vegas, Nevada
3rd Annual Geothermal Finance & Investment Summit
Mar 15-17, Amsterdam, Netherlands
World Biofuel Markets
Mar 17-18, Berlin, Germany
2nd Annual Thin Film Solar Summit
Mar 17-19, San Diego, California
Solar Power Finance & Investment Summit 2010
Mar 19, Portland, Oregon
Investment in Natural Infrastructure: Ecosystem Services as an Emerging Asset Class
Mar 22-24, Melbourne, Australia
Mar 24-26, San Diego, California
2nd Energy Storage Summit
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The British government announced a full set of renewable energy tariffs will go into effect in April, marking a major turnaround for the nation, which has resisted tariffs that boosted markets in Germany and Spain. Although some say they aren't generous enough, there's widespread commendation for a first-of-its-kind Renewable Heat Tariff, which rewards people for producing renewable heat, reducing the need for heating oil or natural gas. Israel also cleared the way for residential solar feed-in tariffs.
China announced it would create a National Energy Commission. Chaired by Prime Minister Wen, the commission will consolidate and streamline the country's energy policy, the responsibility for which is currently dispersed among numerous departments. China also announced LED lighting standards to support its growing LED industry.
China's goal is to increase renewable energy from 8.3% of total energy used (electricity and fuels) in 2009 to 20% by 2020. Targets are: increase hydro capacity to 300GW, wind capacity to 150GW, solar to 20GW, and nuclear to 80GW.
China added 12 GW of new wind capacity in 2009 and forecasts 10 GW more in 2010. The government announced it would build electric vehicle infrastructure in 27 provinces.
For years, investor activists have called on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require companies to disclose the impact that climate change and/or related legal developments may have on its business. Disclosing those potential impacts would help people weigh the risk of investing in a company, in addition to the usual financial risks that companies must disclose. For example, how might a coal company be affected by climate legislation or an international climate treaty?
In January, the SEC moved a step in that direction when it issued interpretive guidance on disclosure related to business or legal developments regarding climate change. The guidance highlights areas where disclosure requirements might be triggered:
* Impact of Legislation and Regulation
* Impact of International Accords
* Indirect Consequences of Regulation or Business Trends
* Physical Impacts of Climate Change
Just as cars fuel up with 10% ethanol, the airline industry is about to do the same using 10% camelina-based fuel. 14 airlines from the US, Mexico, Canada and Germany signed on to use fuel produced by Seattle-based AltAir Fuels, which will begin making 100 million gallons available a year starting in 2012. And British Airways announced it would buy all the biomass-based fuel from US-based Solena Group, which is building a plant in the UK. The plant will convert 500,000 tons of waste a year - diverting it from landfills - into 16 million gallons of jet fuel.
Novozymes (NZYMB.CO; NVZMF.PK), the world's largest industrial enzyme producer and a perennial on our SB20 List, is a key player in reducing the cost to produce cellulosic ethanol. After a decade of research, they reduced the cost of producing ethanol from plant waste by 80% - that means filling up with cellulosic ethanol could cost less than $2 a gallon by 2011.
That's good news because the first large cellulosic ethanol plants are coming online next year. Abengoa Bioenergy announced plans to develop the first hybrid cellulosic ethanol facility in the US, which will produce ethanol and 75 MW of electricity. The Kansas facility will convert 2500 tons a day of corn stover, wheat straw and switchgrass into fuel, part of which will be sold as electricity to the local utility. Listen to our Podcast with Arnold Klann, CEO of the cellulosic company BlueFire Ethanol.
And the first utility-scale, distributed energy storage project got underway. The Southern California Public Power Authority signed with Colorado-based Ice Energy for a 53 MW project, to be implemented by all its utilities.
Ice Energy's energy storage system works by using off-peak energy (typically at night) to make ice, which is then used to cool buildings during the day, when demand for air conditioning is highest. Installation of the energy storage systems begins in the first half of 2010.
The electronics recycling market is gearing up - ABI Research estimates it will grow from $5.7 billion last year to $15 billion by 2014. Growth is due to increased electronic scrap collection and recycling rates, expansion of innovative, cost-effective recycling technologies, and strengthening recycling infrastructures and legal frameworks around the world.
The United Nations estimates the world generates 40 million tons of e-waste each year, which is growing rapidly with the proliferation of electronic gadgets. E-waste contains gold, copper, palladium and other valuable materials. 2007 sales of cell phones and personal computers add up to 3% of the world mine supply of gold and silver, 13% of palladium and 15% of cobalt., says their report, "Recycling - From E-waste to Resources." For one gram of gold, a ton of ore can be mined from the earth or from 41 cell phones!
That, of course, is leading to innovative companies developing new approaches to e-cycling. San Diego-based ecoATM, is working on ATM-style machines that accept used consumer electronics/mobile phones and dispense cash/coupons/gift cards in exchange.
Wind, Solar, Geothermal
The good news for the wind industry is that orders are rising and the market is recovering. Wind provides almost 2% of US electricity and 5% in Europe.
Wind turbine stocks underperformed the market in 2009 - although Vestas (VWS.CO; VWDRY.PK), the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, did well in the first half of the year - fulfilling orders placed in 2008, new orders dropped significantly in the second half. Customer pre-payments fell by half, prices dropped and the credit crunch conspired to make 2009 a difficult year. Vestas ended 2009 with €2.2 billion in orders; management expects 8-9 GW of orders this year.
Thanks to the huge order flow in 2008, last year was still a record year for wind, adding 9900 MW in the US., an increase of 39%. Total wind capacity in the US stands at 35,000 MW, enough to power 9.7 million homes.
Texas is still in the lead (9410MW), followed by Iowa (3670 MW), California (2794 MW), Washington (1980 MW) and Minnesota (1800 MW).
Germany's decision to cut its game-changing feed-in solar incentives has rattled the industry. The government will cut solar subsidies 16% (a compromise from a proposed 25-30% cut) for rooftop solar systems starting June 1, 15% for ground systems on non-arable land July 1, and 11% for systems on brownfields. Systems on arable land will no longer receive subsidies. The government says solar will still grow to 66 GW in Germany by 2030.
Some analysts say the cuts could shrink solar revenues 25-40% in 2010 and have ripple effects throughout the value chain. But current law reduces tariff levels about 10% a year anyway, so the additional cut could be offset by manufacturing efficiencies.
Germany's generous subsidies jump-started the solar industry and made it the largest solar market in the world. The tariff cuts will be hard on German solar firms, which have higher costs than Asian competitors. Proponents for the cuts argue the domestic industry is overly subsidized especially since solar panel prices dropped about 40% in 2009.
Germany produces half the world's solar panels and employs about 100,000 people - even if support is waning for large subsidies, the industry is too essential for the local economy to be let go.
France also cut its feed-in tariff, by 24%, but only for rooftop systems. Apparently, the very high subsidy resulted in an avalanche of applications, from about 150 a day to over 3,000!
While growth rates for solar may slow somewhat in Europe (Spain cut its subsidies a year ago), greater demand from the U.S. and China should compensate, where subsidies are rising through mandated Renewable Portfolio Standards. Low cost solar producers will continue to lead, such as First Solar (FSLR), which manufacturers mostly ground systems and Trina Solar (TSL).
In other solar news, thermal collectors produce more energy than wind, and more than geothermal, solar PV and ocean energy combined, says the "Solar Thermal Power Report" by research firm Report buyer. But another report says because of rapidly declining costs and increased efficiencies, large-scale solar PV will dominate the US market ("Solar Photovoltaics: Status, Costs & Trends," Electric Power Research Institute). The white paper points to favorable policies and subsidies in Germany, Japan, Spain and the USA as pushing annual growth to 52% from 2003-2008 - deployment now exceeds wind power.
73% of U.S. utilities are planning solar projects for the next five years, while 79% are planning or have wind projects are underway ("Strategic Directions in the Electric Utility Industry Survey," Black & Veatch).
GA-Solar, a subsidiary of Spain's Corporación Gestamp (one of the world's largest steel companies), is building a 300 MW solar PV project in New Mexico. The $1 billion project spans 2500 acres and will take about four years to complete. GA-Solar has commissioned 200 MW of projects in the US, Spain, Italy, and India.
New solar darling, Brightsource Energy (Google is one of the high profile investors) received a conditional commitment from the US Recovery Act for a $1.37 billion loan guarantee. The loan supports construction and start-up of three utility-scale concentrated solar power plants (CSP) in the Mohave Desert, totaling 400 MW of electricity. The plants will be the world's largest CSP complex, supplying power to 140,000 California homes.
SunPower's (SPWRA) $277 million acquisition of SunRay Renewable Energy, a European solar plant developer, gives it a 1200 MW project pipeline in Europe. Like competitor First Solar, SunPower is now building large solar plants of its own to ensure demand for its panels and to take advantage of vertical cost structures.
DuPont says its on target to increase solar PV sales from $400 million in 2008 to over $1 billion in 2012.
200 MW of Geothermal energy came online in the US last year and 150 new projects are in the pipeline. Over 6,400 MW are now in development in 14 US States, according to the Geothermal Energy Association. They expect geothermal electricity to triple over the next five years in the U.S., home to about a third of the world's 10,000 MW capacity.
The technology has the advantage over wind and solar of producing reliable, baseload electricity, and requires less land, but steep start-up costs and the five years it takes to complete a project (compared to only one year for solar and wind), makes it difficult to attract investors. New technology which pumps cold water into hot rock has some concerned about the risk of inducing manmade earthquakes.
The industry got a $400 million boost from the US Recovery Act for geothermal research. One in five wells turn out to be dry, so enhancing developers' ability to read underground potential is critical to enticing new investments.
With all the talk about China's new found dominance and lagging US innovation, it's refreshing to see that US venture capital firms (VCs) still see a pivotal place for US cleantech companies. VCs say the US is overwhelmingly the best place to launch and grow a cleantech business, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.
US VCs have, of course, funded such game changing companies as Google and Amazon and, after a down year for investments, expect to be much more active this year. They also anticipate a stronger flow of cleantech acquisitions or public offerings from their current portfolio companies.
Extrapolating from the survey results (see graph), it looks like US VCs may invest in 140 companies this year, up from 117 in 2009.
"Countries such as China, India and Brazil will adopt such technologies not just to combat climate change, but also because of the sheer energy demand their economies are generating," Bilal Zuberi, a principal with General Catalyst Partners, told Reuters.
"Pressure from these countries will force the developed world to also adopt renewables and energy-efficient technologies at a faster pace," he added.
The focus for cleantech VC investments has shifted from capital intensive energy producers like solar and wind, to energy efficiency technologies that have lower funding requirements and potentially faster commercialization: lighting, building materials, and energy management software for homes and vehicles (smart grid).
An Ernst & Young analysis shows that in 2009, energy efficiency rose from 24% to 32% of cleantech VC investments, while energy producers fell from 30% to 18%, and Alternative Fuels declined from 13% to 8%.
"Energy efficiency is in the sweet spot for many venture capital investors in terms of skill sets and funding parameters, particularly given its basis in information technology. Consequently, we may see investor participation in cleantech broaden," says John de Yonge, Associate Director, Americas Cleantech Network, Ernst & Young.
The $105 million investment in smart grid firm Silver Spring Networks was the largest for Q409. The largest for energy producers was $38 million raised by Nordic Windpower. California was the leading region, followed by New England for 2009 investments.
A notable acquisition in the quarter is United Technologies' purchase of Clipper Windpower for $327 million.
The US government is also an influential cleantech investor, with $2.3 billion awarded under the Recovery Act to 183 cleantech manufacturing projects. President Obama's 2011 budget proposal includes $5 billion more.
Major funding announcements year to date include:
60 Minutes did a segment on Bloom Energy on February 21, which has been secretly developing a novel fuel cell technology since 2001. The company has raised about $400 million for the technology, which generates electricity at 8-10 cents per kilowatt hour, using natural gas. Bloom says it's been able to lower costs by using common materials instead of platinum and rare earths. "Bloom Boxes" are in use by Google, eBay, Bank of America and Coca-Cola.
Arava Power is preparing to build 15 mid-sized solar plants in Israel on the lands of agricultural co-ops, totaling 100 MW. Siemens (NYSE: SI) has a 40% stake in the company.
Skyonic Corp. - which is developing an innovative carbon capture technology that converts smokestack carbon emissions into baking soda - received a $3 million grant from the DOE.
As we announced a couple of months ago, electric car manufacturer Tesla is planning a $100 million IPO - the first US automaker to go public since Ford's IPO in 1956. Tesla, which makes high performance, sporty EVs, made its first profit in July of $1 million on $20 million in revenues. Among its high profile investors are the founders of Google and Daimler AG.
Its first car, the Roadster, sells for over $100,000, but its next car, the Model S Sedan, for which it has 2000 advance orders, will have a base price of $49,900 (due out in 2012). In June, the US DOE gave Tesla a $465 million loan to build a manufacturing plant in California. For the first nine months of 2009, Tesla lost $32 million on $93 million in revenues. Tesla will compete with established automakers, all of which are racing to introduce EVs or plug-ins.
Solyndra Inc., which makes innovative thin-film solar tubes, filed for a $300 million IPO (ticker: SOLY). The company has raised a whopping $970 million in venture capital and had a $120 million loss on $59 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2009.
Codexis, which is working with Royal Dutch Shell to commercialize cellulosic biofuels, registered for a $100 million IPO. Chevron is also a major shareholder - the company has raised $200 million in venture capital for its biocatalysts, which have applications in the pharmaceutical industry, carbon management, water treatment and green chemicals. It had a $15 million loss on $59 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2009.
Fallbrook Technologies is developing an efficient transmission system for bicycles, EVs and small wind turbines, and has filed for a $50 million IPO. The company has received $55 million in VC funds. For the first nine months of 2009, they had $12 million in losses.
ECOtality (ETLY.OB), which is developing EV charging networks, is moving to the Nasdaq. The company is establishing a network in China through a joint venture with China's Shenzhen Goch Investment, and eTec, a Ecotality subsidiary, is rolling out the infrastructure in the US. ECOtality Australia is their newest branch.
China's top turbine blade maker, HT Blade, and Indian PV cell maker Indosolar also filed for IPOs.
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BYD Company (1211.HK; BYDDF.PK)
Market Cap: $137B
52 Week Range: $13.38-88.40
BYD Company, which stands for Build Your Dreams, emerged from relative obscurity when Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) spent $231 million for a 10% stake in September 2008.
Founded by China's wealthiest man, BYD is the world's largest producer of rechargeable batteries and a major car manufacturer in China, which recently surpassed the US as the world's largest market for cars. It also makes handsets and parts for mobile phones. Its F3 sedan was the bestselling automobile in China last year.
Wang Chuanfu founded BYD in 1995 and has rapidly grown the company to 130,000 employees. Revenues have grown about 45% annually over the past five years, reaching $4 billion in 2008.
Just five years after it opened its doors, BYD became one of the world's largest cell phone battery manufacturers, making batteries for iPods, iPhones and low-cost computers, and cell phone handsets and parts for majors like Nokia and Motorola. In 2003, BYD entered the auto-making business by buying a near defunct state-owned car company, and went public on the Hong Kong exchange in 2007.
The company has its sights set on becoming China's top automaker by 2018 and a major global player by 2025 with 8-9 million vehicle sales. Last year, BYD sold 400,000 cars and plans to double that this year through increased exports.
When it introduces the e6 EV in California this year it will be the first Chinese vehicle-maker to sell in the US. It plans to export the EV to Europe next year.
The e6 has a top speed of 87 mph, travels 205 miles on a single charge and only takes about an hour to charge. Some say the car won't sell well in the US because its design looks outmoded to Americans, and the quality of body panel fit and paint finish doesn't meet US standards. The price tag will be a steep $40,000, on par with GM's Chevy Volt.
Last year, BYD launched the world's first plug-in hybrid, the F3DM sedan, but sold fewer than 100 units in the first eight months. It goes 62 miles on a charge and sells for only $22,000.
BYD is also leaping into solar with a vertically integrated manufacturing model. It began building a massive $3.3 billion, 5 GW crystalline silicon plant in 2009, to be completed in 2015. The company claims its proprietary production process can cut polysilicon costs in half.
Future Village, a small complex at its corporate headquarters, runs on eight wind turbines and solar PV, all made by BYD. There's also an energy storage unit that captures excess solar and wind energy, also made by BYD.
BYD's entry into solar is supported by government subsidies, land rights to two silica mines, and the purchase of its output.
Buffet and BYD
Buffet has already made a $1 billion on his investment in BYD, while holding a stake in the world's adoption of clean energy and China's economic growth. Besides leading in rechargeable batteries of all kinds, BYD has a shot at becoming the world's largest automaker, primarily by selling electric cars, as well as a leader in solar production.
The purchase was viewed as atypical for Buffet, who doesn't typically invest in new, disruptive technologies like electric vehicles. He also doesn't invest in technologies he doesn't know much about. But it takes a special person to capture a leading market share in batteries and vehicles in such a short time - Buffet invested in Wang Chuanfu as much as the company.
Chuanfu has been able to quickly turn BYD into a low-cost battery producer by turning the capital intensive battery manufacturing model on its head. Rather than investing in expensive robotic manufacturing, he created a simple production process that relies on China's cheap labor instead.
He's spent far more on R&D than other Chinese manufacturers, improving products and modifying the manufacturing process. He's also been able to attract leading scientists because of an emphasis on great benefits: free housing, food, health insurance and access to free education for their children.
Chuanfu has been called a combination of Thomas Edison and Jack Welch, and, like Henry Ford, is a skilled engineer and scientist as well as an outstanding entrepreneur. He started BYD after raising $300,000 from relatives and set out to compete with Sony and Sanyo making rechargeable batteries.
Buffet liked the fact that Chuanfu would only sell him 10% of the company - he wanted 25%. Buffet believes that all cars will be EVs in 20 years and BYD has a legitimate shot at becoming one of the largest suppliers of EV battery technology and EVs. But the biggest advantage may be access to BYD's energy storage technology. Buffet's utility, MidAmerican Energy Holdings acquired the shares in BYD and has already started using BYD's energy storage system in Oregon.
BYD was a top performer on the stock market in 2009 - its shares rose 439%, propelling Wang to the top of Forbes 2009 list of China's wealthiest. In addition to the Hong Kong exchange, BYD is planning a $100 million IPO on the Shenzhen exchange this year. The stock is down about 10% this year and is worth keeping on your radar screen.
Please see our Stock Rating Update at the end of each newsletter for updates on stocks throughout the month. And please see Issue 67 for other recent stock profiles and updates.
Large Cap Corporate Pioneers
Siemens (NYSE: SI; SIE.DE)
Market Cap: $75B
52 Week Range: $47.53-103.08
This conglomerate is a major player in solar, wind, geothermal, smart grid demand response and energy management services, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and water. And it's a global leader in building transmission lines.
The company could be one of the world's top three turbine manufacturers by 2012 and is rapidly expanding its production network, establishing a rotor blade production plant in Iowa, a nacelle plant in Kansas and a rotor blades and nacelle plant in Shanghai. It also has plans for India.
In October, Siemens announced 565 MW in wind orders in North America and an order for 500 offshore wind turbines.
In solar, Siemens is focused on turnkey solutions for large-scale PV plants and custom concentrating solar (CSP) solutions and components. They acquired Israel-based Solel Solar Systems, which makes solar receivers for solar thermal plants. The acquisition gives Siemens the ability to produce all the components for such plants.
Siemens is also getting into the energy consulting business in a partnership with Denmark's DONG Energy, offering help on energy consumption, renewable energy, and carbon emissions.
FPL Group (NYSE: FPL)
Juno Beach, FL
Market Cap: $19B
52 Week Range: $41.48-60.61
With FPL, investors get the benefit of a stable utility stock with a 3.7% yield, while energy production provides double digit growth. The stock is a low risk cornerstone for income and growth portfolios, although green investors may not want the exposure to nuclear.
NextEra Energy Resources, its energy unit, is the largest wind energy producer in the U.S. NextEra owns 48 wind farms in 15 states producing 4100 MW, expected to double in the next four years.
Completed in 2009, the 25 MW DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center is the largest solar PV plant in the U.S. FPL is building two more plants in Florida, for a total of 110 MW. The world's first hybrid solar plant, the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, will generate 75 MW of solar starting in 2010 and a 10 MW plant at NASA's Kennedy Space Center adds another 10 MW.
FPL's $200 million "Energy Smart Miami" program, in partnership with General Electric, Cisco Systems and Silver Springs Networks, will install over a million smart meters in just about every Miami-Dade County home and business, creating an automated grid in the next two years. FPL plans to expand the network to its entire 4.5 million customer base, and integrate solar plants at several universities and government sites into the network, along with 300 plug-in hybrids and 50 charging stations.
Apple, Inc. (Nasdaq: APPL)
Market Cap: $182B
52 Week Range: $82.33-215.59
About a year ago, we recommended Apple when the stock traded at $92, now it's at $200. The stock is high, but deserves an update.
This outstandingly creative company, known for its iPods, iPhones, Mac computers, and its new iPad, is considering a move into residential energy management. They filed a patent for a home energy management system which includes their signature touch screen tablet interface to manage electricity flow to appliances and electronics. Considering Apple's history in developing transformative devices, the tablet interface would probably also offer entertainment options.
The company reported another record-breaking quarter, beating revenue and EPS forecasts by 6%. Revenues grew 32% y/y to $15.7 billion. Its tremendous growth potential is far from being priced in according to analysts, as they view the iPad as only the first growth catalyst for 2010. iTunes is expected to be updated this year to carry content like subscriptions to newspapers and TV shows.
Given its transformative product line, it's surprising that Apple lags its peers on environmental responsibility. The company was prodded into introducing a take-back program and eliminating toxics from products, and still doesn't produce an annual sustainability report. Instead of taking a leadership position and applying its huge creativity to solve environmental problems associated with its products, Apple has been largely reactive, which is the main reason we haven't discussed this stock as often as we would otherwise.
After ranking last on Greenpeace's annual Guide to Greener Electronics in 2006, Apple climbed to fifth place this year. All products are now free of PVC and flame retardants, but it still scores poorly on managing waste and energy, and on communicating plans for eliminating additional toxics.
A shareowner resolution requesting they publish an annual sustainability report for the second year in a row, has been met with Apple's Board recommendation that it be voted down. Unlike IBM, Dell and Hewlett Packard, which have taken leadership positions on providing such reports, along with some 7000 major corporations, Apple has been reluctant to report publicly on its emissions. They say they don't need to publish reports because they already provide details on their environmental performance on their website, but in fact, they do not report publicly on emissions - they provided the information only to the Carbon Disclosure Project upon request.
IBM (NYSE: IBM)
Market Cap: $166B
52 Week Range: $83-134
When we first discussed IBM, the stock was at $83.
A key member of our SB20 List, IBM views green practices as an integral part of its business strategy. Almost 20% of revenue comes from consulting on information systems and green data centers, increasing the intelligence of systems involved in the electric grid, water distribution and the food-supply chain. IBM is involved in 50 smart grid projects around the world. Its Venture Capital arm invests in companies that facilitate that, such as Silver Spring Networks, eMeter, and SynapSense.
This month, IBM announced a partnership with Johnson Controls (JCI) to provide a "Smart Building Solution" that integrates energy management, smart grid and building technology. The service helps building owners detect and control energy waste, measure and control greenhouse gas levels, and optimize energy and environmental performance.
IBM Research is involved with batteries, water technology and solar and plans to license the ideas from its labs to partners that will commercialize them.
The company beat Q409 expectations and raised 2010 EPS guidance. Its service businesses have a strong backlog from 2009 and higher IT budgets should provide a nice tailwind for its software and hardware segments. The stock trades at 12x earnings, below the peer group average of 16x. The stock has been upgraded from Hold to BUY and the price target raised from $130 to $150.
See SB20 profile: June/July, Issue 64.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)
Market Cap: $167B
52 Week Range: $289-629
Another key member of our SB20 List, we recommended Google when the stock was at $335. The stock dipped recently when the company threatened to leave China after being hit by cyber attacks originating there.
Google beat expectations for Q409 on both revenue and earnings. Paid clicks grew 13% y/y.
Major trends for 2010 include social integration, such as user reviews and recommendations; everything going local; commerce, such as comparison shopping; mobile; and acceleration of cloud computing.
This month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Google as an electric utility! Google already offers a smart meter that allows smart grid customers to manage their home electricity use. As a utility, Google could be a smart grid/smart charge service provider.
Plug-in vehicle owners will be able to make money by selling excess electricity to the grid. Through a service provider like Google, vehicles could automatically be charged at night when electric rates are lowest as well as display the nearest charging stations on Google Maps. Utilities want one aggregator to provide the power from hundreds of thousands of vehicles, providing a billion dollar opportunity for companies like Google and IBM.
See SB20 profile: June/July, Issue 64.
American Superconductor (Nasdaq: AMSC) corrected substantially this year and is back to an attractive price. It beat estimates in Q3, traditionally a slow quarter, and should be cash flow positive this quarter.
ITRON (Nasdaq: ITRI)
Liberty Lake, WA
Market Cap: $2.7B
52 Week Range: $40-72.50
Itron is an important smart grid player, offering a portfolio of products and services to utilities worldwide to manage energy and water consumption. It provides automated meters, advanced metering infrastructure and data collection software and services. Itron is a leader in R&D, committing about $120 million a year to research.
Itron will grow as smart grid initiatives progress worldwide. Price target raised from $70.
Market Cap: $953M
52 Week Range: $8.64-41.65
Dividend Yield: 1.5%
Another company on our SB20 List is Telvent, an information technology firm based in Spain. Their real time information optimizes energy, transportation, agriculture and environment systems worldwide. Telvent is #15 on Fortune's 100 fastest-growing technology companies.
Owned by an aristocratic family for 40 years (who also control Spanish utility Abengoa), insiders still control 66% of the shares. The firm got its start by controlling the systems for the Madrid subway network.
Telvent grew revenues 30% and profits 40% annually for the past five years, providing software that helps some of the world's largest companies monitor, measure and manage their value chains: minimize waste, transportation mileage and costs, and maximize efficiency by optimizing energy, water, or other materials use.
Over 60% of the gas and oil which moves through pipelines in the Western Hemisphere is controlled by Telvent's pipeline efficiency solutions, while 56 million people a day benefit from Telvent traffic control systems, including the EZ Pass toll system.
About 40% of revenue comes from Europe; the rest is from fast-growing markets in North and South America and Asia, where they are building entirely new networks in many cases. In addition to having great success in signing new customers, its multi-year projects capture consistent recurrent revenues.
Telvent's shares declined this year from all time highs because of concerns of how problems in the Spanish economy might affect the company. The stock is attractively priced now and has those concerns factored in. It trades at a discount to comparable peers.
See SB20 profile: June/July, Issue 64.
In Issue 67, we profiled Systaic (SJK.DE; SYSCF.PK). Its stock price corrected and is now at very attractive levels. The correction is related to fears around the German solar subsidy cuts, but Germany isn't a main market for Systaic.
First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) has also come back to attractive levels. After a challenging 2009, it remains the industry leader, managing to grow earnings 78% y/y and exceeding Q4 forecasts. Gross margin declines in 2010 should be balanced by higher sales. 2010 guidance factors in reduced German subsidies.
Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL)
Market Cap: $2.6B
52 Week Range: $2.88 - 31.19
The German market may grow slowly in 2010 while the Chinese and Japanese markets catch up faster than expected. Companies with exposure to the Asian market should benefit the most, including Trina, Suntech, Solarfun, Yingli Green, and First Solar.
Trina is a vertically integrated solar PV manufacturer that's a low-cost leader with high margins of 28.5%. Trina has become the de facto leader in crystalline PV, as First Solar leads in thin film.
Recently, the Chinese government chose Trina to establish a key state solar lab. Many of its competitors applied because approval means priority for large government projects.
The impending German subsidy cuts are creating a strong pull for Q1 sales as companies rush to lock-in higher rates. Trina's diverse geographic footprint throughout Europe, the US and China should mitigate much of the negative impact of that subsidy cut.
The company, which has a strong balance sheet, posted impressive growth in 2009 even in the face of 45% declines in solar module prices. It expects the same for 2010 and is one of the best positioned companies to weather the solar storm. Trina beat Q409 expectations on strong volume, pricing, and cost reductions, and 2010 shipments are ahead of forecasts. On January 20, Trina implemented a 2:1 stock split to increase liquidity. Its stock price corrected along with its peers this year and is back to attractive levels.
Advanced Energy Industries (Nasdaq: AEIS)
Fort Collins, Colorado
Market Cap: $610M
52 Week Range: $5.36-16.82
Advanced Energy manufactures industrial power conversion products that allow precise conversion and control of energy and gases in manufacturing processes.
Its biggest growth market is the solar industry - its products enable manufacturing processes that use thin-film deposition solar panels as well as grid-tied power conversion. Other important markets are semiconductor devices, flat panel displays like low-energy LCDs and smartphones, and architectural low-E glass.
Because Advanced Energy sells to over 300 customers across its product lines, it should participate in the re-invigoration of the solar market without the volatility of solar cell manufacturer stocks.
The company has posted losses since late 2008, but should be profitable this year after cutting costs and moving some operations to China.
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NCI Building Systems (Nasdaq: NCS)
Market Cap: $172M
52 Week Range: $1.60-7.50
NCI's Insulated Panel Systems subsidiary has a new manufacturing line that produces foam-insulated steel panel systems for roof and wall applications in buildings. Like its cool roofing systems, insulated metal panels are eligible for LEED credits.
As energy efficiency grows in importance, insulated roofs and walls are gaining greater attention in the construction industry. Creating a tight building envelope can reduce commercial building energy use 60%. The product line grew y/y even during the downturn in non-residential construction and comprises about 15% of total sales.
While NCI will continue to face economic headwinds this year, the shares are attractively priced.
SmartHeat, Inc. (Nasdaq: HEAT)
Market Cap: $392M
52 Week Range: $4.11-18.60
SmartHeat makes plate-heat exchange systems and heat meters, which are relatively simple products that can slash coal use by up to two-thirds in wildly inefficient Chinese buildings, oil refineries and chemical factories.
Analysts estimate the market for plate-heat exchange systems in China will rise 20% to $3.2 billion in 2010, and the sub-market for smaller, customized units - where SmartHeat specializes - should grow triple-digits to nearly $1 billion.
The company's sales surged 92% to $56 million in the first three quarters of FY09 - income rose 96%. Both should nearly double again in 2010.
Management are industry veterans who are so confident in the company that they signed agreements not to sell any of their shares until January 2012. The stock began trading on Nasdaq in March so the company is unfamiliar to many investors. That will change quickly.
Metalico (AMEX: MEA)
Cranford, New Jersey
Market Cap: $255M
52 Week Range: $1.34-6.49
Demand and pricing for scrap metal and platinum are rising with the recovering economy and that means its time to look at the metals recyclers again. Platinum prices are up 15% (demand could outstrip supply this year) and palladium is up 35%. The economic index for NY State rose dramatically in February, indicating that manufacturing activity is expanding in a state where Metalico has a large footprint.
Metalico has more exposure to the range of metals (ferrous and non-ferrous) as well as the platinum group than its peers Sims Metal Management and Schnitzer Steel, which are more focused on ferrous scrap. But demand is rising for them too.
Canaccord Adams (CA) raised 2010 revenue and EPS estimates for Metalico based on higher recycled metal volumes and larger gross margins. Last year's cost-cutting measures and more disciplined scrap buying strategy should also benefit 2010 financial performance.
Nonferrous metals, such as aluminum, copper, and lead have risen in price over the past few months and contribute 29% of revenue. Platinum volumes (mostly from recycled catalytic converters) have also picked up strongly, which accounts for about 23% of revenue. MEA trades at a discount to its peers and could exceed CA's conservative estimates.
Horsehead Holding (Nasdaq: ZINC) also reported solid results and should benefit from rising domestic steel production and its recent acquisition of specialty metal wastes/battery recycler INMETCO.
Kadant (NYSE: KAI)
Market Cap: 174M
52 Week Range: $6.50 - 17.46
Kadant is a leading supplier of equipment used in the global papermaking and paper recycling industries. Paper prices have been rising as global demand for recovered paper has improved, and is especially strong from China.
The global paper industry is emerging from perhaps its worst downturn ever. Kadant's business is picking up in most geographic regions, but most notably in Asia/China and North America.
Paper production declined 19-30% in North America last year (depending on the grade) and recycled paper is in short supply. Limited supply and strong overseas demand should keep recovered pulp and paper prices high.
Although the newspaper market is shrinking in developed nations, the rise of the middle class in developing economies keeps the global paper industry growing. This long-term trend benefits Kadant.
Unlike other commodity prices that have surged and fallen back, pulp/paper prices have been on a very steady upward trend for months.
Kadant beat Q4 revenue estimates and is seeing more diverse, broad-based orders this year. The company has a strong balance sheet and significant earnings potential when the global paper industry more fully recovers.
Pure Technologies (PUR.V: PPEHF.PK)
Market Cap: C$152M
52 Week Range: C$3.05-5.30
Pure joined our SB20 List in 2009 - the company has the potential to become a global leader in water pipeline leak detection and infrastructure monitoring.
PUR got its start by detecting structural problems in bridges and large buildings, and has extended that to water infrastructure. Their technology allows them to find weaknesses before structures fail. For water pipelines, their technology is unique in that it can detect leaks by sending a "smart ball" into pipes without having to shut them down.
Another technology takes a snapshot of a pipe's interior to find weak spots or to continually monitor its condition. Water leaks are one of the biggest problems in water infrastructure (read our Investing in Water Report: Issue 43).
Investors gain exposure to solutions for the aging water infrastructure, water scarcity/stress in many parts of the world, and advanced technologies that can dramatically improve infrastructure management. The company has an attractive business model based on recurring revenues, high margins and low-capital intensity.
PUR's business doesn't depend on growing economies. It's well positioned in emerging markets, where water infrastructure is crucial.
For the last several years, PUR has funded itself through cash flow, but in February, they issued 7 million shares to raise C$30.1 million to fund global growth. The company received its biggest order to date in December and has a strong balance sheet. A recent acquisition enables them to move into waste water systems monitoring and expansion into South America and East Asia.
See SB20 profile: June/July, Issue 64.
Atrium Innovations (ATB.TO)
Market Cap: C$552M
52 Week Range: C$11.45-17.98
The nutritional supplement category is having robust sales right sales and we like Atrium, which sells to healthcare practitioners, because of its strong, holistically oriented brands. It recently acquired Garden of Life in the whole foods supplement area. Atrium handily beat Q4 forecasts with a 33% increase in revenues. The stock trades at 11 P/E. Target raised from C$19 to C$24.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR)
Market Cap: $3.7B
52 Week Range: $23.73-88.65
Single-cup brewing is a major consumer trend and GMCR is vertically integrated with the largest market share.
In February, GMCR and Smuckers announced a multi-year deal to add K-cups to the Folgers family of brands in North America. The deal is important in several ways according to research firm Canaccord Adams. Smucker will help grow the single-cup category by promoting it to loyal Folgers consumers and will accelerate distribution in supermarkets. Adding the largest coffee brand in the US should alleviate any FTC anti-competition concerns and facilitate approval of the pending Diedrich acquisition (second largest K-cup maker), and most importantly, removes competitive concerns after the patent expires in September 2012. Folgers was the biggest potential competitive threat because it doesn't have a presence in the single-cup market.
Q1 results beat estimates by a wide margin on both revenues and margins and GMCR raised 2010 guidance.
Canaccord Adams forecasts 50+% annual EPS growth through at least 2011, and expects EPS growth could exceed 30% compounded annually for the next 5+ years. The price target is raised again, this time to $104. See our discussion in Issue 67.
GMCR is a perennial on our SB20 List. See SB20 Profile, June/July, Issue 46
Jamba (Nasdaq: JMBA)
Market Cap: $90M
52 Week Range: $0.35-2.19
If you like stocks under $5, take a look at Jamba, which sells fruit smoothies, juices, and healthy foods from kiosks at 742 locations. This innovative company is expanding rapidly and has lots of upside. Thanks to a new alliance, its kiosks will soon be found at some convention centers, sports stadiums and entertainment venues nationwide. Jamba beat analyst estimates on earnings and revenues for the quarter.
Economic reports continue to confirm a fragile, though recovering economy. In January, new housing starts jumped 21% y/y to 591,000 units. And the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose for the 10th consecutive month, up nearly 9% y/y - the fastest y/y growth since 2004. Manufactured durable goods, a leading indicator of industrial production and capital spending, jumped 3% - double what economists predicted. But consumer confidence plunged to its lowest level since April 2009, rattling the markets. The Federal Reserve Board's Open Markets Committee expect 2.8-3.5% inflation-adjusted growth in 2010 and 4% in 2011 and 2012.
For now, the economy is benefiting from industry restocking, massive government stimulus, and purchases that were delayed because of the fear of last year's meltdown. We can't avoid the long process of deleveraging - working down debt. The economy won't truly be in good shape until healthy balance sheets have been re-built.
The Federal Reserve surprised us by raising the Fed Funds rate .25% a couple of weeks ago, much sooner than expected. Now the clock starts ticking toward rising borrowing costs and future inflation is a new threat.
Stocks depreciated this year on worries that financial regulatory reforms in the U.S. and monetary tightening in China would stymie economic growth. Instead of pushing stocks higher on good news and betting on the future, investors have been using temporary gains as an opportunity to cash in profits - a change from behavior of the past year. The S&P 500 Index fell 3.7%. European stocks fell further on fears of ballooning national deficits.
Solar stocks sunk almost 16% in January and 12% in February as investors took profits in advance of the feared German subsidy cut. Installers are rushing to lock-in the higher paying tariffs before the cuts, which should result in strong Q1 earnings and about 3 GW of new capacity. Italy and the US could install 1 GW each in 2010, which would make the US the world's second largest solar market.
Wind companies will likely disappoint this year because of low order intake in 2009. Pure plays like Vestas and Gamesa are under increasing pressure from conglomerates such as GE and Siemens, which also posted significantly lower sales. Samsung has entered the wind business and gained traction in Canada, and Hyundai Heavy is producing turbines under a license from American Superconductor, adding more heat to the fire.
After a challenging year, battery markets are slowly recovering. Although energy storage and smart grid received historic investments under the Recovery Act in 2009 - $2.4 billion for advanced battery and electric vehicle component manufacturing and $4 billion for smart grid development - the funds weren't awarded until late in the year. Many projects were put on hold waiting to see which would be funded. Stimulus dollars are now flowing and projects should ramp up later this year and into a much more robust 2011.
The geothermal industry also had a tough 2009 because of tight financing conditions. The industry received its first significant funding - $738 million in Recovery Act funds to support research and 123 projects. The game-changer though, is that geothermal projects are now eligible for investor tax credits/grants. The July Magma Energy (MXY.TO) IPO created momentum for the sector, but smaller players will still have trouble finding financing until later this year.
Among the 183 companies awarded tax credits under the Recovery Act's $2.3 billion Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits are:
We interviewed Sam Jones, who usually writes our monthly Market Commentary, to get his take on the market and the green segment. For green investors, he manages the New Power portfolio.
PI: What's your take on current market conditions?
Status Quo. If you listen to the media, you'll think the stock market is doomed, but I disagree. At the end of last year I predicted we were looking at a minor 7-10% correction - which is exactly what we've seen.
For the past six weeks, the good news on the economic recovery has been factored into stock prices, so we may be at a rich multiple again. Intel reported its best quarter in its history, but the stock went down - that's a sure sign the good news is factored in.
I continue to argue that valuation is subjective and the markets can go much higher than people anticipate, even into an extremely overbought situation. There are short-term corrections within bull markets, and that's what we're experiencing. The bull market isn't over.
As long as very large asset classes like treasury bonds and money markets are so blatantly unattractive, money will flow from them to the stock market. I see 2010 as a year for income producing securities of all types - everything BUT treasury bonds.
The most common question I get is: Do you think we're going to have a double dip recession (or another bear market like the last one) anytime soon? As I said in my last commentary, sentiment is always wildly bullish near the final top of stock prices. We're a long way from that, especially after the last month of correcting stock prices.
When investors ask me "how much are you UP for the year, as if that's a given, then we'll have more to worry about. About 7% has been erased from the highs, which happens to be the exact amount I discussed as a very likely and healthy correction. Use these pullbacks as opportunities to cull weak stocks from portfolios and to hold the cash for redeployment.
PI: Do you still stand by what you've been saying - you expect a good first quarter and then you're not so sure?
Yes, and I'd extend the good news into May and June. I see one of two patterns: either the market marches higher into the 1300-1350 zone on the S&P, or we stay in the current correction cycle and stocks trade sideways until May or June - and then we get a blow out that pushes us into the 1300-1350 zone in the second half of the year.
The latter would be more consistent with what happened in 2004 - the year following the recovery year of the last bear market. After a big consolidation of the previous year's gains, the market kept rising even though the Fed raised rates strongly throughout that cycle.
Regardless of which pattern manifests, I believe we won't see a meaningful decline until we reach 1300 on the S&P. That means the stock market could move up 15-16% between now and then.
After that, the risk of holding stocks goes up precipitously. Most of the fundamental analysts I watch say the markets will be fairly priced at that level so it will be more difficult for company earnings to beat y/y numbers from 2009.
We're aiming toward the 1300-1350 target - between now and then could be the total return for the year, and it can happen in a quick 60 days. We want to capture those gains while we can and so should you. Those gains might happen before May and the rest of the year could be in negative territory.
PI: What do you see specifically for green stocks?
It's been a tough, frustrating year for green investors. Only a handful of stocks really did well. Although the ETFs beat the gains on the S&P, they did so in very narrow time periods, compared to the overall market which consistently rose after the March bottom.
The power producers - those that generate solar, wind and geothermal energy - have been trying to find a bottom - it's very difficult to invest there right now. You've been writing about the problems solar companies have been experiencing - the imminent German subsidy cut, intense competition from Chinese firms, lowering margins and pricing. Wind turbine and geothermal manufacturers are struggling to get back on firm ground after a difficult year.
The healthy living stocks have been carrying the portfolio - we own Whole Foods and NBTY - and water stocks have been doing OK, nothing exciting.
My advice is to remain patient. Clean energy stocks tend to go up in quick spurts, and often rise as a group, so this is a time to either nibble at accumulating stocks in these sectors, or do as I'm doing, and buy ETFs and/or mutual funds. My advice is also to remain diversified among green stocks - if I didn't have healthy living stocks lifting the portfolio now, it wouldn't be doing well.
PI: 2010 is expected to be a strong year for solar producers.
It could be, we're only in February. I think people should carefully accumulate, but don't buy and hold on blind faith. If you buy at what you think are the lows and they go even lower as all of them did last month, you have to sell.
However, I believe most of the damage is done and this will prove to be an accumulation phase. Sometimes I think I should just wait for a clear uptrend (from a technical standpoint), but that means buying them after they've risen 30% off their lows. The trend is hard to identify until it moves that far.
Low oil prices and low demand haven't helped clean energy stocks. This year, we'll see shovels in the ground for clean energy and smart grid projects that got Recovery Act funds. Big utility-scale projects will benefit the supply chains.
PI: Will that benefit the Chinese stocks as opposed to the German stocks?
I think the whole sector will fly. It's too difficult to pick which individual solar stocks will win, so my only solar position is in TAN, a solar ETF. I'd also accumulate a wind ETF (FAN or PWND) and a water ETF (PHO or PIO).
Since I want to stay diversified right now, I also bought shares in two mutual funds: Winslow Green (WGGFX) and New Alternatives (NALFX). The mutual funds seem to be out-performing the ETFs right now, but you have to factor in their expenses.
Anyone investing in this sector must have 5-7 year goggles on and must limit total exposure of their net worth to 10-15%. You have to accept the volatility of the cleantech sector until it really gains traction. When we see leadership emerge in the power producers you might raise your allocation, but only if your long term goggles stay on.
PI: Let's talk about the sectors that are doing well.
Very few cleantech stocks outperformed over the past year. In smart grid, we sold EnerNoc (ENOC) yesterday after it rose 120%. In efficient lighting, Cree (CREE) was a winner. In clean transport, BYD Company (1211) had an outstanding year, rising 439% and Maxwell (MXWL) rose 252%. I own A123 (AONE) and we'll see what happens. I have high hopes for Westport Innovations (WPRT), which is on your SB20 list. And Baldor Electric (BEZ) looks good.
The metals recycling stocks are coming back into rotation. This is the time to start buying commodity stocks like Metalico (MEA) in small doses - tiptoe in like in solar and wind, because they're super volatile. Like the power producers, commodities run hard and you don't want to chase them as they spike higher.
The Fed just raised rates for the first time confirming that inflationary pressures could kick up. That's when the cycle for commodities starts. I don't expect the runaway commodity market we saw in 2006, but we're entering the time when it makes sense to take a position.
By the way, there's so much hype about gold - I think it's a disaster. I have yet to find anyone other than traders that can make and keep their gains in gold. People say they made a lot of money in gold and then two years later they're under water and don't know what happened. It's not an investment, it's a trade, and it's certainly not what I'd call a sustainably oriented industry.
PI: Is this a good entry point for stocks that have dropped?
Cleantech stocks are much more volatile than the general market - they can plunge 60-80%! The trend is broken on these stocks, it's much more than a standard pullback on an uptrend. I wouldn't buy these stocks until they show a clear bottom and start heading higher again.
While large cap stocks like Google are down 12%, pure play smart grid stocks like Telvent (TLVT) and American Superconductor (AMSC) are down 24% this year. I like Itron (ITRI) and am waiting for it to move. After the correction is over, I'll buy EnerNoc again.
For now, I'm taking the safer route and investing in large caps that are staking a big position in the smart grid: Cisco (CSCO), ITC Holdings (ITC) and just picked up AT&T (T).
It's important to understand market cycles. Commodities are the last group to rise in a bull market; they follow other sectors by 6-9 months. It's almost a year since the March lows - the cycle is rotating toward commodities now.
After that, the very last thing that usually happens is speculation - that's when people feel confident (maybe too confident) in the market and they buy speculative growth stocks. Many cleantech stocks are still speculative stocks.
When commodities rise and the market matures to the point where people are confidently speculating, that's when you get those 2006-2007 runs in cleantech. It's a late cycle sector and we're probably only half way through the cycle - it's time is coming.
PI: And that indicates we're entering the last segment of the bull market.
Until cleantech becomes more mainstream, we'll make all our money during this small window when commodities and speculation are in force.
I do see subtle indications that the mood is changing toward the positive for cleantech. Hopefully, the power producers will get their act together sometime this year and they'll lift all boats.
For now, we have 13% cash, 5% in a S&P 500 short, 5% in Winslow Green, 7% in New Alternatives, 7% in an ETF (QCLN) and the rest more or less equally weighted. We are looking to sell Exide (XIDE), Comverge (COMV) and General Cable (BGC).
New Power Portfolio
AT&T (T): smart grid
ITC Holdings Corporation (ITC): smart grid
Cisco Systems (CSCO): smart grid
General Cable Corp (BGC): smart grid
Comverge (COMV): smart grid
Itron (ITRI): smart grid
Exide Technologies (XIDE): energy storage
Baldor (BEZ): efficient motors for buildings
Koninklijke Philips Electronic (PHG): efficient lighting
A123 Systems (AONE): clean transport
Westport Innovations (WPRT): clean transport
Metalico (MEA): metals recycler
Whole Foods Market (WFMI): healthy living
NBTY (NTY): healthy living
ProShares UltraShort S&P500 (SDS): short
PowerShares Global Water (PIO): global water ETF
Claymore MAC Global Solar (TAN): global solar ETF
Stock Ratings from our research partners, Canaccord Adams and Ardour Capital:
All stocks ratings are updated throughout each month. Check for updates.
When you see two Ratings, that means the rating changed from last month. The first is the previous rating; the second is the current rating, eg, Accumulate/ Buy
Currencies: "home" currencies
** foreign stocks that have US ADRs
** Best Idea Stock
Healthy Living Stocks
|Company||Ticker||Price||Target||52-Week Range||Rating|| Target
|GLG Life Tech||GLGL||$7.90||$11||6-12.45||BUY||4/1/10|
|Green Mtn Coffee||GMCR||$95.79||$104||30.19- 98.42||BUY||3/24/10|
Atrium: price target raised from $19. Q4 revenue increased 33%, beating estimates; strong internal growth and acquired Trophic Canada, a leading natural nutritional supplement mfr.
GLG: missed estimates; stevia is early in the market development so expect choppy growth.
GMCR: price target raised from $95 (previously $80); revenue growth still accelerating - upside on all key metrics. 50+% annual EPS growth through 2011 at a minimum. Stock price is high, however.
HAIN: sufficient liquidity and strong industry position; undervalued, but category growth lackluster for 2010.
Martek: outlook improves; strong growth expected in Q2.
NBTY: category remains healthy.
STKL: target raised from $4.75; in final stage of turnaround; inflection point is probably a quarter away; category growing again.
UNFI: sales momentum because of improved trends for WFMI, slightly lower EPS.
WFMI: significantly beat forecasts for Q1, sales continue improving. Shares are fairly valued -waiting for better entry point.
|Bioteq Environmental**||BQE.TO||C$0.96||C$1.55||0.32-1.56||Speculative BUY||3/19/10|
|Sims Metal Mgmt||SMS||A$19.90||A$21||9.39-23.74||Hold||3/8/10|
Bioteq: beat Q4 estimates; Newalta will invest in Bioteq - after commercializing proprietary water treatment for mines; expanding to oilsands and power sectors.
Covanta: soft Q409 results; continuing expansion plans; good balance sheet.
Darling: proposed renewable diesel plant is advancing through DOE's loan guarantee program.
GrafTech: finished tough year with strong Q4; expecting revenue growth in 2010. Rising production levels/increased capacity utilization should offset some margin pressure from higher feedstock prices.
Headwaters: Cemex (NYSE: CX) announced it would increase flyash mixtures in concrete to reduce GHG emissions. Business improving.
Horsehead: target raised from $15; zinc prices jumped 38% q/q. Industry trends in ZINC's favor, stock is under-valued. Estimates raised for 2010.
Kadant: Q4 revenue exceeds; pulp and paper prices, demand rising.
LKQ: Q4 revenue and EPS exceeded estimates.
Metalico: price target raised from $6..50. Q4 revenue beat estimates; pricing and demand trends positive; manufacturing expanding in NY State - a key market.
Schnitzer: price target raised from $62; great quarter, exceeded estimates; margins up. Expects metals recycling and auto parts volumes, prices to increase substantially. Strong global demand.
Sims: Scrap volumes and demand improving.
TEG: this composting company is positioned to benefit from the UK's move to landfill bans; strong 2010 outlook.
Green Building Stocks
|Lime Energy||LIME||$5.14||$9||3.01-8.94||Speculative BUY||3/1/10|
|NCI Building Systems||NCS||$11.08||$20||8-37.50||BUY||4/5/10|
Apogee: missed quarter estimate by a lot; nonresidential construction downturn intensifying.
ICF: beat Q4 estimates, growing 21% from efficiency projects for wide variety of gov't and commercial clients.
Trex: proceeding with turnaround, despite recession.
Interface: lowered costs; positioned to manage downturn.
Lime: "one-stop shop" for energy efficiency & renewable energy services; on the verge of profitability. Signed major contract with US Postal Service.
NCI: 5-1 reverse stock split makes stock available to more investors. Growing focus on green building including cool roofs and insulated steel panels. Vertical manufacturing, nationwide distribution network. Sales growing even in down construction market.
Trex: new products, revamped mfr process, long term licensing opportunities. Will gain market share (currently 31%) in composite lumber as competitors exit due to difficult construction environment. Will benefit as sector recovers especially from narrowing price differential between its products and wood.
Efficiency/ Energy Storage
|Company||Ticker||Price||Target||52-Week Range $||Rating||Updated|
|Orion Energy Systems||OESX||$5.49||$7||2.68-6.35||BUY||3/8/10|
Active Power: price target lowered from $1.75; continues to progress slowly.
American Superconductor: $70M wind order, largest to date - should lead to more; strong 2010 guidance.
Baldor: Q4 results below expectations, but conditions are improving.
Capstone: highest quarterly sales to date; $78M backlog.
Comverge: new CEO; strong 2010 expected.
Cree: very strong peformance and guidance, but valuation is too high. Buy under $40.
Dialight: target raised from 270p. Profit growth driven by lighting side of business for the first time.
EnerNOC: exceeded guidance for the quarter, approaching 5000MW under management; 2010 should be strong year.
Enersys: Q3 results beat expectations, expect gradual improvement as markets stabilize. Acquisitions will lead to $100M in additional annual revenue in FY2011.
Esco: postponed 2010 guidance - waiting for clarity on smart grid stimulus funds. Should roll out later this year.
Exide: strong Q3 results, much better than expected, but price target reduced from $9 due to loss of Walmart as customer.
Fuel Tech: CEO retiring. good order momentum, but cautious near term.
Itron: price target increased from $70; volatile in short term; shipped 1M electric/gas units last month.
Maxwell: raised price target from $16; positioned for growth, solid finish for 2009.
Orion: price target raised from $6; strong quarter (returned to profitability); expects even better performance next quarter.
Polypore: price target raised from $11; core business shows signs of growth after painful restructuring. FTC investigation, unfavorable exchange rates, and increased competition in lithium battery separators.
RuggedCom: record revenues for Q1 and improved margins.
Satcon: strong Q4; sold division to focus on solar inverters; transitioning mfr to China, lower Q1 forecast.
Telvent: refinanced existing debt to optimize capital as it becomes more independent from Abengoa. A compelling buy.
Ultralife: revenues fall short of estimates for 2009, but better margins. Mild growth expected for 2010.
Veeco: solid quarter; impressive orders point to very strong 2010.
Zenergy: 2 high temp superconductor products commercialized; good growth potential over the next 12 months.
|Energy Conversion Devices||ENER||$7.20||$7||7.10-24.29||Reduce||2/10/10|
|Phoenix Solar AG||PS4.DE||
|Real Goods Solar||RSOL||$3.25||$6||1.42-6||Speculative BUY||3/10/10|
|Spire Corp.||SPIR||$4.21||Discontined Converage||3.28-9||Reduce||4/5/10|
|Yingli Green Energy||YGE||$12.15||$16||3.64-19.11||Reduce/BUY||3/9/10|
5N: price target reduced from $6.25; this is the third quarter that results are below expectations.
Arise: Balance sheet risk too high.
Akeena: installations: revenues in line with forecast, orders growing, but more sales to distributors lowers margins. Balance faces challenges in 2010.
Ascent: price target reduced from $5; enough cash for 2010; significant delay in BIPV shipments significantly reduces revenue estimates for 2011-2012.
Canadian Solar: excellent quarter. Higher margins thanks to lower silicon prices and streamlined cost structure.
Carmanah: tough 2009, but positioned for growth in 2010 after restructuring and lowering costs.
ENER: revenue exceeded expectations, solid balance sheet, but losses seen through 2011 due to low utilization rates.
Evergreen Solar: revenues in line with expectations; 2010 demand looks positive. Reduced costs and ramping Chinese operations later this year. Fundamentals improving, but low expectations. May need more cash.
First Solar: beat top and bottom line expectations; managed to grow 78% y-o-y in difficult year. Good entry point now.
Hoku: improved balance sheet, further financiing required.
GT Solar: business expansion plan unclear, but got several furnace orders totaling $200M, signaling demand for its products even in the face of substantial Asian competition.
Power-One: impressive growth and improving operations. Strong 2010 outlook.
Q-Cells: sights set on regaining competitiveness by diversifying into module mfr and distribution, project development. High execution risk.
Real Goods: beat estimates for the quarter, 2nd profitable quarter; strong margin growth from much lower panel costs and more efficient installation; strong demand in both residential and commercial. Raised target from $3.
SAG Solarstrum: target raised from €4; excellent 2009 results, revenue increased 56% beating estimates. Stock is undervalued, more stable than peers.
SolarWorld: price target reduced from €19, remains in strongest position among European manufacturers to cope which are seeing strong demand but offset by margin/ price pressures from German FIT cut; flush balance sheet, strong brand and price premium in German rooftop market.
Spire: discontinued converage due to deteriorating performance and lack of investor interest.
SunPower: price target lowered from $20; closed $220M convertible debentures offering to fund SunRay acquisition and expand capacity. Stock is fairly valued now.
Suntech: strong Q4 results; robust demand for Q1, but expected margin pressure through Q2.
Systaic: previous CFO misled investors on company's balance sheet; internal turbulence, cash flow problems. Too much uncertainty.
Trina Solar: stock split and equity raise to expand mfr and bolster balance sheet. Price target lowered from $31 to reflect higher sharecount. Strong 2010 forcast.
Yingli: raised 2010 estimates to reflect demand-driven capacity expansion and solid gross margin outlook. Announced a 300 MW expansion, expects to ship 1000 MW in 2010.
|Company||Ticker||Price||Target||52-Week Range||Rating|| Target
|Broadwind Wind Energy||BWEN||$4.95||NA||2.60-12.49||NA||1/11/10|
|Japan Wind Development||
CanHydro: TransAlta agrees to buy company for $5.25 per share in an all-cash offer. Investors recommended to tender to the offer.
Clipper: CEO steps down; sales flat y/y, 2009 loss likely to top $200M, the third year of staggering losses. United Technologies took a 49% stake, bringing in much needed cash and mfr/logistics excellence.
EDP: installed 1.2 GW in 2009; strong 2009, projections lower in 2010 because of wind industry climate, but very undervalued compared to peers.
Gamesa: price target reduced from €12; low expectations for 2010.
Iberdrola: strong 2009 results; wind farm operaters stronger than turbine producers right now. Valuation has bottomed out - the stock will increase in value in line with forecasted EBITDA growth. Stronger balance sheet than EDP, double the order pipeline
PNE: raised target from €3; raised 2009 guidance - offshore wind development is high margin business.
Repower: quarterly earnings up 20% but management steers to lower 2010 guidance. Chinese buying domestically, not from European firms.
Vestas: target lowered from DKK400; completed €800M capital raise; orders low.
Geothermal/ Wave Energy
|Company||Ticker||Price||Target||52-Week Range||Rating|| Target
|Ocean Power Technologies**||OPTT||$6.90||NA||3.78-11.22||NA|
Alter Nrg: target reduced from $3.25; developmental stage turnkey geothermal installer expects order flow later this year.
LSB: near term conditions remain difficult, but performance should improve through the year.
Ormat: lowered price target from $45 and again from $39; beat Q4 revenue expectations, but sales outlook is significantly reduced for the next few quarters as projects wait on financing.
US Geothermal: undervalued compared to peers; strong company, good pipeline. Will need more cash to grow portfolio and reach profitability.
WaterFurnace: substantially beat Q4 estimates; revenues down 8%, but EPS up 18%. Impressive performance considering challenging year for its products; strong cash position, debt-free. Entering into private label supply agreements with major HVAC companies to manufacture geothermal units.
|Clean Air Power||CAP.L||
|Fuel Systems Solutions||FSYS||$26.44||$35||9.83-52.53||BUY||3/5/10|
|Zongshen PEM Power Systems||ZPP.TO||C$1.28||C$1.40||0.35-1.76||BUY/Hold||3/29/10|
Clean Air: raised £2.4M, reducing risk
Fuel Systems: strong Q1 expected in advance of expiration of clunkers program in Italy, but shares will be volatile because of aggressive forecasts.
Gushan: ; unresolved consumption tax lingers, but early signs of recovery. Q4 results below estimates, but should recover in Q2
Westport: Revenue beat forecast for the quarter, but short term outlook is murky because of market uncertainty. Target raised from $9.
Zongshen PEM: acquiring motorcycle co. which adds profitable business line. Trades significantly below peer group with 7 P/E. Lower sales offset by higher margins for Q4.
|Company||Ticker||Price||Target||52-Week Range||Rating||Target Updated|
|Ballard Power Systems||BLDP||$2.38||$2||0.85-3.25||Hold||3/12/10|
|Fuel Cell Energy||FCEL||$2.90||$5||1.98-5.47||Accumulate||3/10/10|
|Quantum Fuel Systems||QTWW||$0.72||$1||0.59-1.77||Hold||3/16/10|
|Smart Fuel Cell||F3C.DE||€6.14||€7.50||5.42-8.98||Hold/Accumulate||3/26/10|
Ballard: improved cash position; FY09 results in line with estimates; expects 35% sales growth y/y.
Fuel Cell: Q1 sales and margins down; estimates adjusted downward for 2010, 2011, but are positive in the near term; potential catalysts in 2010.
Plug Power: backlog improving, enough cashflow for 1-2 years.
Quantum: lackluster revenue, supplying systems for Fisker Karma PHEV, to launch later in 2010, which should increase sales.
Smart Fuel Cell: met goal of keeping FY09 EBIT in line with FY08 levels by margin improvements and reduced operating costs. Conditions improving in industrial and mobility markets; forecast 30% revenue growth in FY10.
|Nalco Holding Co.||NLC||$22.96||$33||9.62-26.62||BUY||2/3/10|
|Veolia Environnement**||VE||$32.39||NA||19.14-40|| NA
Calgon: beat Q4 estimates, expect strong 2010 - returning municipal demand and the mercury control regulations.
Energy Recovery: price target down from $9; Q4 results in line; strong revenue growth prospects for 2010, desal projects picking up worldwide.
Insituform: strong performance and bullish 2010 outlook, but factored into share price.
Met-Pro: missed Q4 targets, but strong balance sheet & signs of recovery in core business.
Nalco: well positioned to help industrial customers "get clean and efficient" as economies stabilize
Pentair: revenues beat expectations for the quarter; modestly improving core market trends.
Pure: target raised on strong prospects for 2010. For 2009, revenue increased 43% y/y, EBITDA grew 140%. Strong balance sheet.
RINO: quarter results weaker than expected; presents a buying opportunity.
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