Friday, July 22, 2016
Biomaterials developer Metabolix, Inc. (MBLX: Nasdaq) has announced a major change in strategic direction. The company will now focus on its Yield10 Bioscience platform for improving crop yields. The biopolymer business will be wound down by first eliminating about 50% of the workforce and then selling the biopolymer assets. Following the restructuring Metabolix estimates approximately $5 million per year in cash resources will be required to support operations, a dramatic reduction from the current cash burn near $25 million.
The move follows a similar change in strategy two years ago when the company undertook what management described at the time as a “comprehensive strategic review.” At that time the biopolymer business came up the winner and crop yield improvement research was discontinued.
Now we have to wonder if the Yield10 Bioscience platform is sufficiently robust to serve as the foundation for a profitable operation.
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Glyeco recycles waste glycol into reusable antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and air conditioning coolants for the automotive and industrial markets. The used coolant and antifreeze liquids are frequently contaminated with water, dirt, metals and oils. The company uses a proprietary technology at the foundation of its recycling system to eliminate contaminants. The company focuses mainly on ethylene glycol in its six processing plants.
Last month chemical recycler Glyeco, Inc. (GLYE: OTC/QB) acquired Brian’s On-Site Recycling, a provider of antifreeze and air conditioning coolant disposal services in the Tampa, Florida area. The deal extends Glyeco’s market share and geographic footprint. The company also gains expertise through the members of Brian’s management team who have agreed to join Glyeco to advance the Glyeco brand in Florida. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed and Glyeco is keeping mum on the revenue and earnings contribution expected from Brian’s
Still the idea of recycling a hazardous chemical is beguiling. Ethylene glycol and propylene glycol are the preferred raw materials used for water-based antifreeze due to a mix of favorable properties: high boiling point, low freezing point and thermal conductivity. Glycol is typically made from natural gas or crude oil - non-renewable and polluting sources. Glycol does breakdown in water, but it can deplete oxygen levels and kill fish and other aquatic life. While propylene glycol is more or less non-toxic, it can be extremely corrosive when exposed to air. On the other hand, ethylene glycol is decidedly poisonous.
Friday, July 15, 2016
It is always fun due diligence for companies with food products. Consideration of EnWave Corporation (NWVCF: OTC or ENW: V) requires a trip to Starbucks for ‘Moon Cheese’ - a crunchy, cheese treat made with EnWave’s proprietary knowhow. So head to the first Starbucks you can find and grab a bag to eat while reading the rest of this post.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Casella Waste Systems (CWST: Nasdaq) is scheduled to report financial results for the June quarter in two weeks. Casella is worth watching because of its position as a well-established but smaller competitor in the waste collection and handling industry. The company operates 44 transfer stations and 9 landfills with waste-to-energy installations on a regional basis. As a public company it is overshadowed by the larger operators such as Waste Management (WM: NYSE), which operates 297 transfer stations and 249 landfill sites across the continental U.S. However, within its local markets Casella is able to hold its own.