Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trials and Tribulations of a Meter Reader

Last week Badger Meter (BMI:  NYSE) joined a building fraternity:  companies reporting strong year-over-year sales growth, but delivering weaker than expected earnings.  However, the Badger Meter actually increased earnings by a greater magnitude than it grew sales.  The Company reported $83.5 million in net sales, representing 16.3% growth over the same quarter last year.  Net income grew by 59.3% year-over-year to $4.6 million or $0.32 per share.  As impressive as these results appear to be, the consensus had been for earnings per share of $0.41.  The stock declined sharply as investor registered their displeasure with the short-fall.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Crushin' in Brazil

In the last post we looked at Cosan Ltd. (CZZ:  NYSE), Brazil’s leading sugar cane grower and processor as well as ethanol producer.  The article came about because last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Cross Border M&A Symposium in New York City which featured the so-called BRICs and other cross-border opportunities.  Brazil figured prominently in the discussion.  I thought it a good idea to check up on Brazil’s participation in the alternative energy industry.  Of course, the first thing we think about Brazil in the context of alternative energy is sugar cane and ethanol.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh So Sweet Brazil

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Cross Border M&A Symposium in New York City which featured the so-called BRICs and other cross-border opportunities.  Brazil figured prominently in the discussion.  I thought it a good idea to check up on Brazil’s participation in the alternative energy industry.  Of course, the first thing we think about Brazil in the context of alternative energy is sugar cane and ethanol.

In the last growing season Brazil producer 596 million tons of sugar cane, a feat that secured Brazil’s position as the largest sugar cane grower in the world.  About 55% of the crop was used to producer ethanol and the balance ended up as sugar.  Brazil’s sugar cane industry association has predicted that despite a severe drought, the 2014-2015 growing season will be even more productive with expected sugar cane production in the range 632 million tons to 636 million tons.  About 40% of Brazil’s sugar cane is produced by a highly populated group of independent farmers. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Westmoreland Coal Makes its Own Sunshine

Last week a list of companies setting new 52-week high prices included an expected achiever  -  Westmoreland Coal Company (WLB:  Nasdaq) .  The stock has been on a tear since the end of last year and gathered momentum as the new year rolled around.  The coal industry has been under a cloud in recent years.  However, Westmoreland created its own sunshine by acquiring the Prairie and Mountain coal mining operations of Sherritt International.  The deal will double Westmoreland revenue and provide the company with new consumer product lines in activated carbon and char.