After the great market sell-off yesterday, stocks are rebounding slightly on Tuesday, including many of the greentech stocks that took a beating yesterday. But most of them are only up slightly. Here’s the latest:
Corporations are some of the few types of investors still pursuing new opportunities in greentech investing. Here’s the latest: natural gas company Chesapeake Energy announced on Monday that it plans to invest up to $1 billion into technologies that can use natural gas instead of oil.
Oil baron turned natural gas vehicle advocate T. Boone Pickens, and the company he founded Clean Energy Fuels, were crucial figures in terms of VPG scoring the DOE’s latest conditional loan commitment of $50 million just last week.
If T. Boone Pickens had it his way, not only would commercial trucks and enterprise fleets be run on natural gas, but potentially our consumer cars would, too — he’s been pushing natural gas powered vehicles as a solution to kicking the U.S.’s oil addiction for almost a year. So it’s too bad that a company of which Boone is a director and the largest shareholder, Clean Energy Fuels, could have potentially rescued a Toronto-based firm that makes natural gas vehicle fueling stations for the home user: FuelMaker. Well, Honda actually owns FuelMaker, so the blame for not investing more in this technology can be squarely placed on the American division of the Japanese car maker (as some outraged natural gas vehicle fans are doing).
Regardless, as of April 2, FuelMaker, which makes “Phill,” the residential natural gas vehicle fueller, says it has ceased operations and gone bankrupt (hat tip Autoblog Green and The Auto Channel). If you call the company’s mainline answering machine you can hear a short explanation of the bankruptcy proceedings. The Phill just never seemed to take off — FuelMaker was founded in 1989 and started selling Phill 6 years ago. The fueller compresses natural gas from home gas lines, takes about four hours to fill an empty tank after a 50-mile drive, and costs between $5,500 and $6,000.
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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.
Read More about Clean Energy Fuels Raises $32.5M, Losses Expand
Google said today it’s withdrawing from the so-called Yahoo-Google advertising partnership, mostly because it was getting too much scrutiny from the federal government.
Clean Energy Fuels, the natural-gas vehicle distribution company of which former oil barron T. Boone Pickens is a director and largest shareholder, said last month it planned to buy FuelMaker from Honda and the FuelMaker Trust for $17 million. Well, late yesterday the companies announced that they have agreed to terminate the deal.
There were few details given in the announcement as to why Honda (s HMC) and Clean Energy Fuels (s CLNE) changed their minds, and we’re still waiting to hear back from the companies. But in the regulatory filing it sounds like Honda was actually the initiator of ending the agreement. In the filing Clean Energy Fuels says both companies had the right to terminate the purchase agreement if it did not close on or before Oct. 3, and this didn’t happen due to the fact that the sellers (Honda and Fuelmaker) were unable to deliver audited financial statements for FuelMaker’s parent company, a subsidiary of Honda, by that date. Clean Energy Fuels says it continued to negotiate but that on Oct. 13, 2008:
Honda delivered to us a notice that it intended to terminate the purchase agreement; and, after subsequent discussions, on October 15, 2008, we and Honda mutually agreed to terminate the purchase agreement in accordance with its terms.
Clean Energy Fuels, the natural gas vehicle distributor founded by former oil baron T. Boone Pickens, has been on an acquisition and deal-making spree over the past few months. This morning it’s got another deal to build and operate a compressed natural gas station South of Seattle downtown that will supply fuel for 40 new garbage-hauling trucks for innovative trash collector CleanScapes. CleanScapes is an official Seattle waste contractor (which is a contract estimated to be worth nearly $80 million) and its deal with Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) is for 10 years, though no financial terms were released.
CleanScapes was founded over a decade ago by entrepreneur Chris Martin, who says in the release this morning that the new natural gas powered garbage trucks will be used mostly for residential collections, which will reduce both emissions and noise in populated areas. CleanScapes collects trash several times a day, picking up its color-coded bags for garbage, recycling and compost. The company also advocates trash reduction and is expanding into Portland and San Francisco.
Read More about Picken’s Clean Energy Fuels Links with Seattle Trash Collector
In case you were wondering how T. Boone Pickens was going to break the home distribution bottleneck in his plan to get the U.S. to power its vehicles with natural gas, here’s one possible answer: Natural gas vehicle distribution company Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE), of which Pickens is a founder, said this morning that it plans to acquire FuelMaker from American Honda Corp. and the FuelMaker Trust for $17 million in cash. Founded in 1989 and based in Toronto, FuelMaker makes natural gas refueling appliances for industrial fleets, as well as a home consumer product called the Phill (seriously, it’s called the Phill).
The Phill, which was unveiled by Honda and FuelMaker in 2002, compresses natural gas from home gas lines, takes about four hours to fill an empty tank after a 50-mile drive, uses 800 watts, and weighs about 100 lbs. The biggest barrier to consumers buying the Phill is its price tag — we called the customer service line and the representative said we could get the Phill for between $5,500 and $6,000, including installation ($1,500) and shipping ($200). The representative said we were also eligible for a tax rebate of $1,000, or 30 percent of the cost.
The increasingly loud rumors that California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D) got in early on the IPO of T. Boone Pickens’s natural gas vehicle distribution company, Clean Energy Fuels, have turned out to be true, according to the Wall Street Journal this morning. The WSJ reporter (and others recently) looked through Pelosi’s financial disclosure forms and says Pelosi and her husband’s investment in Clean Energy Fuels was valued at $50,000 to $100,000 when the shares opened at $12.10 on May 25, 2007 (the forms list investments at a range).
While a Pelosi spokesperson insists to the WSJ that the holding “does not raise any direct conflict-of-interest issues” Pelosi has been a supporter of legislation that would benefit increased use of natural gas. But the real question would be, has Pelosi been an advocate of California’s Prop 10? The ballot measure is backed by Pickens and would give thousands of dollars in rebates to natural gas vehicle buyers, as well as spending on R&D, and supposedly cost California $9.8 billion over 30 years. We haven’t heard her publicly backing Prop 10, and you can guess if she hasn’t yet, she definitely isn’t going to now.
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