Clean Energy Fuels Raises $32.5M, Losses Expand

Clean Energy Fuels, the natural gas vehicle distribution company of which T. Boone Pickens is a director and largest shareholder, finished raising $32.5 million in a combination of sold shares and warrants, Andrew Littlefair, CEO and President of Clean Energy Fuels, told us this week. The details were also revealed in its earnings statement release on Thursday. And yes, in this troublesome economic climate, it was a “difficult and painful process,” Littlefair says. Pickens has had his own problems with the debt markets, too.
The company needs money due to the fact that it has been investing in various new businesses, including development of a natural gas vehicle, and a landfill gas waste project. The company also needs the money because, according to its earnings, it had a net loss of $10.64 million for the three months that ended September 30, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million for the third quarter of 2007. That’s a drop of more than 85 percent. Clean Energy’s revenues were more positive, however: Revenues for the third quarter of 2008 rose 21 percent to $35.3 million, up from $29.2 million for the third quarter of 2007.

We’ve also been wondering if the financial crisis was one of the reasons why Clean Energy’s deal to buy the residential natural gas vehicle refueler FuelMaker fell through in October. But Littlefair tells us the deal to buy FuelMaker from Honda fell through because Honda couldn’t provide financials in time, so Clean Energy Fuels just couldn’t legally buy it. The stalled deal was also holding up the company’s ability to raise its needed funds, said Littlefar, so had to be ended. Littlefair says Clean Energy Fuels is still interested in buying into the home distribution market — and potentially even in a future deal with FuelMaker.
In addition to losing the FuelMaker deal, Clean Energy suffered another setback this month. Voters of California rejected Prop 10, the California Renewable Energy and Clean Alternative Fuel Act, which Clean Energy Fuels had been backing and from which it would have benefited. In Clean Energy Fuel’s second quarter earnings it said it had increased its expenses on advertising by $2 million to support the California clean alternative fuel proposition, saying that the Alternative Fuels Act represented “a significant opportunity for our business.” Well, better luck in the next ballot box.