Thursday, July 09, 2009

Raser Tech Performs Its Best -- At Raising More Money!

Raser Technologies (RZ-$2.30), focused on the construction of geothermal power plants, demonstrated once again that it is better at raising money than actually delivering megawatts of geothermal power. CEO Brent Cook said the company received net proceeds of $23.8 million from its most recent offering of common stock and warrants. As constructions costs per megawatt of capacity can run upwards of $6.0 million, it is unlikely that this latest capital raising will be the company’s last.

The 10Q Detective has followed the alleged progress of the Company for
more than three years. As we said back in December 2005, Raser is a stock-promoter's dream--hyped PR with no content.

Since re-inventing itself as a builder of geothermal power plants almost five years ago, Raser has accumulated deficits of about $96.2 million—on cumulative revenues of approximately $1.0 million! In addition, at March 31, 2009, negative working capital totaling $58.7 million.

“There are some people so addicted to exaggeration that they can’t tell the truth without lying.” ~ American humorist Josh Billings (1818 – 1885)

Listening to the promulgations of chief executive Cook, one might think that Raser would single-handedly reduce the country’s dependence on OPEC crude. To date, the company has opened one facility, the Hatch Geothermal Power Plant, located in Beaver County, Utah, commonly referred to as the Thermo No. 1 project. In April 2009, Raser began
selling electricity generated by the Thermo No. 1 geothermal power plant to the City of Anaheim, pursuant to a power purchase agreement previously entered into with Anaheim. Management expects the Thermo No. 1 Plant to be fully operational in the third quarter of this year [doubtful]. At full capacity, the plant is expected to produce up to 12 megawatts of geothermal power (enough to light up about 9,000 homes in Anaheim).

Despite the new financing, existing shareholders have about as much chance of seeing a return on their common shares as a Paleolithic Era caveman had of stumbling onto a copper cooking pot! The balance sheet is a mindless mess. In addition to owing $9.3 million in long-term debt obligations due in November 2009, the balance sheet is riddled with millions in warrants (most with reset pricing features). The company has also guaranteed cost overruns in construction-in- progress agreements with a plethora of sub-contractors—from drillers to vendors of transmission and cooling tower equipment. No sense even asking what the contingent exposure is, as the company has historically settled outstanding invoices and overdue promissory note obligations through the issuance of additional stock and warrants.

In additions, rumors are surfacing that service providers, tiring of late payments—if received at all—are walking away from some of the
eight geothermal projects currently under development.

Raser’s business outlook is ambitious, including expectations to finish construction on additional geothermal power plants that will add an additional 50 megawatts, 40 megawatts, and 125 megawatts of electricity sold to utilities during 2010, 2011, and 2012. By 2013, Raser expects to have geothermal capacity totaling 377 megawatts of electricity for sale.

“An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper.” ~ Lebanese American poet Khalil Gibran (1883 – 1931)

Given its relentless struggle to improve its liquidity situation, a more likely scenario is that Raser curtails operations or liquidates assets. In any case, existing shareholders have a right to lose their tempers, for exaggeration is a bitter pill to swallow.

Editor David J Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.


SEO Company said...

I am glad someone like yourself actually monitor and publish these findings.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the company is a risk for investors of which I am one (via IRA, i.e., long term, high risk tolerance). However, I find your comments exceptionally if not enthusiastically, blunt and negative and perhaps even a bit un-professional.

Without risk, there is no reward.

David J. Phillips said...

Race car drivers take a risk each time they circle the track at 200 mph -- but they do not take stupid risks, like blidfolding themselves prior to their races for glory!

EHS Director said...

All energy projects have the potential to be grossly over/underestimate due to the nature of naive investors towards the aspects of complex technical, land use, water, transport, storage and utility contracts in these sectors. It makes many other market sectors 'look easy'.

Unlike traditional 3-5 year red to black business investments... renewables can take decades to turn profits even with massive subsidizes and secured loan programs.

However, there many that make nice margins when they are developed and balanced with resource demographics, population load, water and municipality demands (market demands and supply chains - what a concept).

Investors have to ask if projects will float alone? If not, it is NOT and investment... it's a ponzi.
These investors need to sit down, call or email a few 'non-bias' energy experts (may find a few at TOD and EIA ;-) to conduct project fiscal feasibility studies prior to writing checks. And third party audits throughout... always making projections based on a 'competitive' non-subsidized marketplace.

I am enveloped and have dedicated vast efforts to help the renewable energy sectors float, yet grossly over hyped and over publicized 'problem projects' attract the wrong investor and push the right investors out of the market. The right investors already perform and understand my previous soapbox marketing 101 statements.

But for every 'one example' of a 'low on return' geothermal plant, I can give you dozens of fallen, wind, oil and utility hyped ponzis since the carter energy bill.

This project may have had some of these issues that were 'not calculated for'... but, the T.boone fall is a better example than the highly competitive geothermal field.

Lets not focus on a 0.1% example of a sector but on the gross root problems plaguing our energy investment futures.

Green is very attractive and is a strong 'long term' investment people should be doing now and as long as we spend trillions on foreign and finite energy sources every month....

But, investor beware - 'if it were that easy', would be in this big of an energy mess?

And if they think it's hard now, wait for 'crap n trade' to pass next year.