Environmental Power Announces 2009 Third Quarter Results and Provides Business Update
TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Environmental Power Corporation (Nasdaq: EPG) (“we”, “us”, “EPC”, or the “Company”) announced results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009 and is providing the following business update.
During the last quarter, the Company continued to pursue a number of initiatives aimed at moving from a development stage company to a sustainable operating company. Accomplishments included the following, which will be further described later in this press release:
- Huckabay Ridge operations are performing at or exceeding targeted reliability levels and producing our RNGÃ‚® product in accordance with expectations.
- We entered into an on-site energy services agreement with Alcor Energy Services to allow us to redirect 147,000 MMBtus of RNG now used as parasitic load at Huckabay Ridge into saleable RNGÃ‚® product, which is expected to result in improved operating margins.
- The Company has been working with Marathon Capital, LLC to obtain final financing proposals from prospective investors in support of its announced project pipeline. As a result of these activities, Environmental Power and its subsidiary, Microgy Holdings, LLC, have entered into a non-binding letter of intent with a potential investor relating to, among other things, the purchase of newly issued equity interests in Microgy Holdings.
- We reduced G&A costs by more than 25%, and expect to maintain these reductions for the remainder of 2009.
We are presently negotiating with our tax exempt bondholders to establish a new agreement related to the build out of our Texas and California portfolios. In addition, we continue to actively seek interim financing which will be required during the fourth quarter of 2009 in order for us to meet our financial obligations.
We continue to experience very positive market conditions for our RNGÃ‚® product as a source of carbon neutral gas for utility and industrial companies and we anticipate that federal renewable energy incentives, a national Renewable Electricity Standard (“RES”), and a mandatory cap-and-trade program will increase the demand and value of our RNGÃ‚® product and associated greenhouse gas offset credits.
Demand for our RNGÃ‚® product remains high because it can be used as a fuel in existing plant assets, is available 24/7, does not require new electric transmission capacity and does not impact the market for food-related crops. While “brown” natural gas prices remain relatively low, we believe that our principal competition is not this form of gas but rather the cost of other renewables such as wind and solar on an equivalent energy basis and our agreements support this pricing. In July 2008, the California PUC published an analysis showing that biogas is still the most competitive form of renewable energy available in the market today. As such, we have been able to secure long term sales agreements with PG&E and Xcel, both of which have received their respective PUC approvals.
Utilities are becoming more proactive in pursuit of renewable options as they prepare for a new carbon constrained world and the requirement of a national RES. We expect demand for our RNGÃ‚® product to remain high and even increase as both utilities and industrial organizations strive to improve environmental stewardship and address the new regulatory regime related to renewables and carbon.
We believe the market for our unique product, which addresses the environmental needs of the agricultural and food processing sectors while creating a versatile and renewable energy product with greenhouse gas offset credits, will be a key component in addressing the future energy and environmental needs of the US.
The Company had a net loss applicable to common shareholders of $8.3 million, or a loss per common share of $0.53, for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, as compared to a net loss applicable to common shareholders of $5.1 million, or loss per common share of $0.33 for the quarter ended September 30, 2008. The results for the third quarter 2009 included a one-time, non-cash write-down of certain assets of $5.9 million required by applicable accounting rules as a result of the expected redemption of a portion of the California and Texas bonds. Without this write-down, our net loss applicable to common shareholders would have been $2.4 million, a substantial improvement over the loss for the third quarter of 2008 of $5.1 million. The reduction in net loss for the third quarter of 2009 as compared to the third quarter of 2008, before impairment of assets, was $2.7 million. The reduction in the net loss in 2009 is primarily due to a reduction in general and administrative expenses in 2009 as a result of management’s cost reduction program and improved operating results at the Huckabay Ridge facility.
Revenues. Revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2009 increased to $1.4 million, as compared to $0.5 million during the third quarter of 2008. The increase in revenues is principally due to increased revenues at Huckabay of $0.9 million as a result of substantially reduced down time and increased productivity.
Operations and maintenance expenses. Operations and maintenance expenses declined by $1.0 million in the third quarter of 2009 to $0.7 million, as compared to $1.8 million for the third quarter of 2008. The reduction in operations and maintenance expenses principally reflects lower operating expenses at Huckabay Ridge. In the third quarter of 2009, start-up and non-recurring expenses at Huckabay Ridge were significantly reduced from 2008 levels. Insurance proceeds received in the third quarter of 2009 also resulted in lower operations and maintenance costs in the third quarter of 2009.
General and administrative expenses. General and administrative expenses were $1.6 million for the three months ended September 30, 2009, as compared to $2.9 million for the three months ended September 30, 2008, a reduction of $1.3 million. This reduction reflects lower salary expenses as a result of the Company’s cost reduction program, lower non-cash compensation expenses in 2009 and reduced development expenses in 2009 as we slowed development efforts in order to conserve cash pending our fundraising initiatives. Excluding the decline in non-cash compensation expenses, general and administrative expenses declined to $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2009 as compared to $2.8 million for the third quarter of 2008, a reduction of $1.3 million.
Depreciation and amortization expenses. Depreciation and amortization expense was $0.4 million for the third quarters of both 2009 and 2008.
Operating loss. As a result of the factors described above, the operating loss from continuing operations during the third quarter of 2009 was $7.2 million (or $1.4 million before the non-cash write-down for the impairment of assets described above), as compared to an operating loss of $4.6 million for the third quarter of 2008.
Interest income. Interest income declined to $0.02 million in the third quarter of 2009, as compared to $0.1 million in the third quarter of 2008. Interest income declined due both to lower invested cash balances and lower interest rates on such balances.
Interest expense. Interest expense increased by $0.4 million to $0.7 million for the third quarter of 2009, as compared to $0.3 million for the third quarter of 2008. The increase in interest expense was due principally to the fact we accrued $0.3 million in interest expense on $8.0 million original principal amount of our 14% convertible notes which were issued in March and May 2009. Interest expense in the third quarter of 2009 also increased because we expensed $0.1 million related to our Swift facility in Grand Island, Nebraska in connection with our temporary suspension of construction as of April 1, 2009, whereas we had capitalized these costs in the third quarter of 2008.
A complete presentation of the Company’s financial results for the three months ended September 30, 2009, and management’s discussion and analysis thereof, is included in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 9, 2009 and is available on the Company’s web site.
Our accountants, Caturano & Company, P.C., noted in their audit opinion included in our annual report on Form 10-K that the financial statements included in the 10-K were prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. This qualification continues to apply to our financial statements set forth in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009. The Company’s recurring losses from operations, its need to raise substantial additional capital and its current cash balance relative to obligations, contractual commitments, and corporate overhead requirements raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. The consolidated financial statements included in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty.
As of September 30, 2009, the Company’s unrestricted cash and cash equivalents amounted to $1.1 million. The Company continues to aggressively pursue capital from a number of sources, with the goal of securing financing during the fourth quarter of 2009. The level of funds that the Company is able to raise, if any, will determine the level of development and construction activity that it can pursue and whether it will be able to continue as a going concern. Currently, our facility at Huckabay Ridge, Texas, which is operating reliably, is anticipated to generate cash flow over the balance of the year. However, the cash we project to be generated from Huckabay Ridge, by itself, will be insufficient to meet our short-term and long-term corporate and project-related capital requirements.
As previously announced, the Company has been working with Marathon Capital, LLC to obtain final financing proposals from prospective investors in support of its announced project pipeline. As a result of these activities, Environmental Power and its subsidiary, Microgy Holdings, LLC, have entered into a non-binding letter of intent with a potential investor relating to, among other things, the purchase of newly issued equity interests in Microgy Holdings, the proceeds of which would be used for the completion of certain projects currently under development and construction by Microgy Holdings and its subsidiaries, as well as reimbursement of certain intercompany receivables owed by Microgy Holdings to Environmental Power. The letter of intent also addresses the development and funding of future projects based on Microgy’s technology. The letter of intent is not binding, and the transactions contemplated thereby remain subject to investor due-diligence and the negotiation, execution and delivery of definitive agreements. We cannot assure you that any such definitive agreements will be entered into or that the transactions contemplated by the letter of intent will be executed. The potential investor has the right to terminate the non-binding letter of intent at any time for any reason. In addition, Environmental Power will need to continue to seek interim financing to fund operations while it seeks to finalize and close the transactions contemplated by the letter of intent.
Tax Exempt Bondholder Negotiations
Microgy Holdings and the holders of the California tax-exempt bonds (the “Bondholders”) have entered into a series of agreements to extend the time in which the Bondholders may redeem the California bonds in anticipation of a modified agreement described below. We currently anticipate signing this amended agreement on or about November 15, 2009. If executed, we expect that the amended and restated agreement would have the following significant terms:
- 50% of the California bonds would be redeemed (representing bonds allocable to one of the two projects originally financed) or $31,212,500.
- 25% of the Texas bonds would be redeemed (representing bonds allocable to the Mission project) or $15,000,000.
- Microgy Holdings would be required to raise at least $32,500,000 by March 31, 2010, with certain specified amounts dedicated to capitalized interest and equity contributions in respect of the remaining Texas and California facilities. If Microgy Holdings fails to raise the required capital, the Bondholders would have the right to demand on or before April 15, 2010, redemption of all of the remaining California bonds and repayment of the remaining Texas bonds except for those bonds allocable to Huckabay Ridge.
Upon successful negotiations, the redemption and repurchase would be funded solely out of restricted cash. Our unrestricted cash balances will be unaffected, except for the payment of certain transactional fees and expenses.
Because we believe that the transaction will be completed on or about November 15, 2009, and a portion of our Texas and California tax-exempt bonds will be redeemed, we are required to record non-cash impairments, basically writing-off the respective projects construction-in-progress on our financial statements for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2009, as set forth in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2009. The majority of this write-off is capitalized interest, totaling $5.9 million for our Mission Dairy, Texas project and one of our three California projects. It should be noted that the recording of these impairments is required by the accounting rules and does not mean we that we may not complete these projects at a future date. We still retain valid permits at these sites and other items of value to us, such as relationships with local farms and preliminary designs and plans, which we may utilize when we are able to obtain financing for these projects and proceed with their development.
Our previously reported comprehensive upgrades to process-instrumentation and controls, the gas conditioning system and the gas-collection system at Huckabay Ridge continue to deliver improved online reliability. Indeed, during the period from July through September, we were producing product between 90% and 96% of the time versus a targeted level of 90%. After an outage in early October to repair and modify elements in the gas processing system, the Huckabay Ridge facility produced RNGÃ‚® product 97% of the time with production averaging 87% of target for the period. RNGÃ‚® production for the last 11 days of the month averaged 95% of target as the system stabilized. We achieved this level of performance while meeting or exceeding pipeline-quality standards for the removal of C02, H2S, and H2O. These results confirm our confidence in our operating model and give us added confidence in our ability to manage the biogas-generation process as we look forward to our next generation of operating units.
We continue to experience biogas production at or above expected levels based on substrate characteristics. We have successfully managed through the recessionary conditions experienced earlier in 2009, which had resulted in our suppliers curtailing operations or experiencing lower quantities of materials, which in turn had caused us to transport substrate material from greater distance, impacting our cost to transport. As a result, we established a substrate sourcing plan to address our needs, have executed on the plan and have achieved the results we expected – reduced costs, increased biogas production and more consistent supply. Our budgeted net substrate cost was $30,000 for the month of September and $25,000 for October. Our actual performance was much better, as we had net substrate costs of $4,000 in September and $2,000 in October.
A positive result of expanding our reach of suppliers based on this sourcing plan is the improvement in the pool of suppliers for Huckabay Ridge as well as an enlarged and secure pool of suppliers for our other Texas projects. In addition, as the biodiesel industry turns around we are prepared to take delivery of glycerin, an excellent form of substrate, as project economic conditions dictate.
As part of our continuing efforts to optimize RNGÃ‚® product sales, we entered into an energy services agreement with Alcor Energy Solutions, which will install a combined heat and power (CHP) plant at our Huckabay Ridge project to provide efficient thermal and electrical energy under a long term agreement. This arrangement will allow us to increase sales of our RNGÃ‚® by redirecting gas now used for the facility’s parasitic load, which had increased due to modifications required by the gas conditioning process, to revenue generating product. The net effect is expected to be an increase in revenue, as we now anticipate producing an estimated annual sales volume of 782,000 MMBtus per year, an estimated increase of 147,000 MMBtus per year of RNGÃ‚® product sales above the previously announced target. We expect that this enhanced sales volume and the resulting increased revenue will be partially offset by increased thermal costs, but at a lower value than our RNGÃ‚® product sales under the long term PG&E contract. We expect that overall operating margins will further be enhanced due to reduced electric costs for the facility. The CHP facility is expected to be in operation during the first quarter of 2010, as Alcor has begun permitting initiatives and procuring major equipment to support project implementation.
As previously noted, we are actively assessing the benefits of producing or purchasing lower cost energy for our parasitic requirements at all our development projects, either by utilizing a similar CHP process as at Huckabay Ridge or other means which would result in an additional increase in RNGÃ‚® product sales volume, offset by the net cost of energy procured.
Other Texas Facilities
The Rio Leche and Cnossen projects are slated to resume site construction activities upon successful completion of our financing initiatives presently underway. Both facilities are fully permitted and have undergone partial site preparation and other precursor steps to construction. Engineering work is underway for these projects and we are in the process of preparing RFPs for the procurement of long lead-time equipment packages.
We are presently awaiting final resolution of the Tax Exempt Bondholder agreement and the capital raise contemplated by the Marathon initiatives to determine the next course of action with regards to the scheduling of the build-out of our California projects. All material permits are in place for three projects and full engineering specifications are being completed.
Construction at Microgy’s Grand Island biogas facility progressed through the first quarter of 2009, with major equipment procurement nearly complete. We temporarily suspended construction on this facility effective April 1, 2009, pending the results of our financing initiatives. Operations are expected to commence in 2010, pending the Company securing the equity funds necessary for the completion of this project. The plant is expected to produce 235,000 MMBtu per year of biogas that will be purchased by Swift under a fifteen year gas purchase agreement to offset natural gas consumption at Swift Grand Island. Swift will be providing all the necessary feedstock material, both manure and substrate, required by our process.
Federal Initiatives Update
As part of our continuing pursuit of grants, credits, loans and loan-guarantees available under federal and state programs, we applied for and have been approved to receive payments under a new program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Cooperative Service known as the “Advanced Biofuel Payment Program.” The objective of this USDA program is to accelerate the investment in and production of biofuel to increase America’s energy independence and spur rural economic development.
The program will operate for four years, offering payment incentives to encourage the production and use of verifiable quantities of biofuel meeting certain criteria. The Huckabay Ridge facility met the definition of being an advanced biofuel producer because it produces pipeline-grade renewable gas from cellulosic biomass and other feedstocks including waste material from animals, animal byproducts, and food waste.
Payments are expected to begin this month and under present program terms are expected to amount to approximately $400,000 over four years.
As we track the many pending legislative initiatives at the federal level, we are of course gratified by the growing recognition of biogas as a valued byproduct of biomass. For example, HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, specifically includes biogas produced from biomass as a renewable energy resource for purposes of the proposed federal renewable electricity standard as proposed therein. More, however, needs to happen at the federal level, and we therefore continue to pursue parity for renewable gas production under the Internal Revenue Code. The existing tax-credit and grant programs as currently interpreted by Treasury are not helpful to our sector, as those programs require the production of electricity to qualify. Biomass sources such as those that we use are located in remote areas where power rates do not support on-site generation, where air permits may be difficult to obtain depending on state rules, and/or where electrical interconnection may not be feasible. We and others in our sector – along with major users of our renewable product — are thus working diligently to secure an appropriate tax credit and grant program for pipeline-quality renewable gas production.
The organization has been focused and committed to transforming itself from a late stage development company to a sustainable operating entity and leader in its field. We believe that our RNGÃ‚® product continues to be one of the most reliable, cost effective renewable sources of energy that can be used in existing electric production facilities. The uniqueness of our Company, the shovel-ready nature of our projects, and our leadership present a unique opportunity for others to participate in our projects. While we face serious financial challenges in both the short and long-term, we are aggressively pursuing the financing we need. We like to thank all the investors who have supported our organization, especially during these challenging economic times.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL POWER CORPORATION
Environmental Power Corporation is a developer, owner, and operator of renewable energy production facilities. Our principal operating subsidiary, Microgy, Inc., develops and operates proven large scale, commercial anaerobic digestion based projects which produce a versatile methane-rich biogas from livestock waste and other organic sources. For more information visit the Company’s web site at http://www.environmentalpower.com.
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, referred to as the PSLRA, provides a “safe harbor” for forward-looking statements. Certain statements contained in this press release, such as statements concerning financing, our planned manure-to-energy systems, our sales pipeline, our backlog, our projected sales and financial performance, statements containing the words “may,” “assumes,” “forecasts,” “positions,” “predicts,” “strategy,” “will,” “expects,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “projects,” “intends,” “plans,” “budgets,” “potential,” “continue,” “targets” “proposed,” and variations thereof, and other statements contained in this press release regarding matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as such term is defined in the PSLRA. Because such statements involve risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to: uncertainties involving development-stage companies; uncertainties regarding corporate and project financing and our ability to continue as a going concern, the lack of binding commitments and/or the need to negotiate and execute definitive agreements for the construction and financing of projects, the sale of project output, the supply of substrate and other requirements and for other matters; financing and cash flow requirements and uncertainties; inexperience with the development of multi-digester projects; risks relating to fluctuations in the price of commodity fuels like natural gas, and our inexperience with managing such risks; difficulties involved in developing and executing a business plan; difficulties and uncertainties regarding acquisitions; technological uncertainties; including those relating to competing products and technologies; risks relating to managing and integrating acquired businesses; unpredictable developments; including plant outages and repair requirements; the difficulty of estimating construction, development, repair and maintenance costs and timeframes; the uncertainties involved in estimating insurance and implied warranty recoveries, if any; the inability to predict the course or outcome of any negotiations with parties involved with our projects; uncertainties relating to general economic and industry conditions, and the amount and rate of growth in expenses; uncertainties relating to government and regulatory policies and the legal environment; uncertainties relating to the availability of tax credits, deductions, rebates and similar incentives; intellectual property issues; the competitive environment in which Environmental Power Corporation and its subsidiaries operate and other factors, including those described in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K or Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, well as in other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date that they are made. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
CONTACT: Company Contact Public Relations Contact Scott Tetenman John Abrashkin Manager of Project Financing and Treasury Ricochet Public Relations Environmental Power Corporation (212) 679-3300 x121 914 631-1435 x42 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
SOURCE Environmental Power Corporation