Weekly News Bulletin: Mar. 4-10, 2008


Decline in Construction Spending Bound to Affect Waste Industry

The Commerce Department released statistics confirming what many in the waste industry already know: that construction spending in the US is falling. In fact, total construction spending fell in January the most in 14 years, 3.3% below what is was a year ago. Spending fell by 1.7% in January alone. Builders slashed spending on residential projects, but the weakness spread beyond that ailing sector. There were cutbacks in spending on, among other things, hotels and motels, highways and various projects by state and local governments...Read More »



House Passes Legislation to Support Renewable Energy Development, Again

In a vote of 236 to 182, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 (H.R. 5351), a bill that would extend much-needed tax benefits to the renewable energy industry. In its current form, H.R. 5351 would extend the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy and qualified fuel cell projects for eight years. It would also extend by three years the production tax credit (PTC) for certain renewable energy facilities such as wind, biomass, and geothermal, and it would establish a new PTC for cellulosic ethanol production. The bill proposed to fund the ITC and PTC extensions through reductions in oil subsidies, resurrecting a provision removed from the energy legislation that was passed in December 2007...Read More »



Waste Management Sells $600 Million Senior Notes to Repay Debt

Waste Management Inc. is selling $600 million in senior notes to repay other debt and for general corporate purposes. Money from the notes, due in 2018, will go to repay borrowings from the company's revolving credit facility and to repay $244 million in senior notes that become callable in May. The notes have been assigned ratings of BBB by both Standard & Poor's and Fitch and Baa3 by Moody's...Read More »



Sacramento City Council to Consider Plasma Technology

The City Council of Sacramento California voted to enter negotiations with Westinghouse Plasma Corp. to possibly build a plasma-arc gasification plant that could conceivably dispose of the 146,000 tons of waste generated annually by the city. Currently, that waste is hauled to Waste Management's giant Lockwood Regional landfill in Sparks, Nev. Westinghouse Plasma is a division of Calgary, Alberta-based Alter NRG, an alternative energy developer. Plasma arcs have been used in research and industry for decades, but have not been deployed for large-scale waste disposal, at least in the United States. Westinghouse Plasma Corp., which developed the technology, has helped develop waste-to-energy plants in Japan, two under development in India, and one which is under development near Tallahassee, Fla...Read More »



Researchers at UC Davis Seeking Manure-Treatment Technologies

The increasing concern over air and water pollution emanating from large beef and dairy farms is leading researchers at the University of California in Davis to investigate effective manure-treatment technologies. The researchers are collaborating with the California Air Resources Board, as well as other regulatory and industry organizations under funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As part of the study, formally known as the California Dairy Manure Technology Review, they are asking vendors to provide scientific and cost data of their manure treatment technologies for objective assessment by a panel of experts from government, industry, academia and environmental groups...Read More »



Clean Harbors Earnings Rise 45 Percent

Clean Harbors said that growth in its technical services business helped increase fourth quarter earnings by 45% to $16.6 million, or $0.81 per share, from $11.4 million, or $0.56 per share, during the same period the previous year. Revenue increased 11% to $257.7 million. The news even surprised many analysts whom had been expecting earnings of about $0.67 per share. Alan McKim, Clean Harbors' chairman and chief executive said that an improved product mix helped the company win large-scale projects and drive business to its disposal facilities. Clean Harbors also got a boost from emergency response and small scale project revenue because of work on the clean up of an oil spill in the San Francisco Bay in November. For the full year, net income fell to $44 million, or $2.14 per share, from $46.4 million, or $2.26 per share, in 2006...Read More »



Clean Harbors Acquires Recycling Sites for $15 Million

Clean Harbors is acquiring two recycling facilities in Chicago and Hebron, Ohio and associated business with those facilities from Safety-Kleen Systems Inc. for $12.5 million in cash and the assumption of $3 million in liabilities. The two facilities generated about $16 million in revenue in 2007. The deal which is expected to close by the end of March, is also expected to boost earnings in 2008...Read More »



CRRA to Increase Fees but Less Than Previously Announced

The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority announced that it will not be raising tipping fees by as much as previously threatened. Citing newfound state money, the agency will raise fees from $60.97 per ton currently, to $72 per ton, which is $4 less than what had been already approved. Instead, the state's governor will give the agency $3 million from the State Bond Commission. The additional funding which had been needed to help pay for the closure of the Hartford landfill was also thought to be needed to help the agency settle a lawsuit with its 70-member municipalities over a previous deal with now defunct Enron Corp...Read More »



Casella Names New Board Member

Casella Waste has added a new board member Michael K. Burke who replaces outgoing member D. Randolph Peeler, who had served as a designee of the holders of the Series A Convertible Preferred Stock of the Company, which was redeemed in August 2007. Burke has served in a number of senior financial roles, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Intermagnetics General Corporation, a publicly traded medical device company. He has also served senior positions in manufacturing and investment banking, having spent twenty years as a Managing Director at CIBC Oppenheimer (now CIBC World Markets)...Read More »



Waste Industries USA Buys a Tennessee Hauler

Waste Industries USA recently acquired American Disposal Services, LLC, a commercial and industrial hauling service provider in Hendersonville, TN. It is expected to contribute $3 million in hauling revenues and will tuck into existing company operations there. According to Ven Poole, Vice President, Corporate Development, "This addition to our Nashville operation will improve our route density while adding no significant SG&A expense."...Read More »



Waste Services Announces Record Fourth Quarter Results

Burlington, Ont.-based Waste Services, Inc. reported that strong fourth quarter internal revenue growth of 6.8% combined with 21% growth through acquisitions increased operating margins and brought profits to breakeven from a net loss a year ago. For the year, net acquisitions added $72.8 million comprising 18.6% of revenues; which, together with internal growth of 5.5% coming from price increases and fuel surcharges, helped revenues expand by 24.8% to $488.3 million compared to $391.4 million in 2006...Read More »



WCA Waste Corp Grows Revenues; Earnings Off Slightly

WCA Waste Corp said that fourth quarter revenues were up by 23.7% to $49.7 million but that an interest rate charge brought profits to a net loss of $2.5 million, or $0.15 per share. That compared with net income of $351,000, or $0.02 per share, on revenue of $37.4 million, for the same quarter in 2006. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $0.11 per share. The company said the loss was due to a $2.9 million pre-tax loss from an interest rate swap. Tom Fatjo, Chairman of WCA Waste Corporation, stated, "During 2007 our Company was successful in investing over $100 million in acquisitions, growing the company internally by 6.9%, exceeding internal budgets overall even though Florida did not meet expectations."...Read More »



Allied Waste to Save Millions by Converting Preferred Stock

Allied Waste Industries says it will save $37.5 million in annual cash dividends by converting preferred stock into common shares. Holders of the Series D preferred stock are receiving 25.3 shares of common stock for each share of preferred stock they hold. This will add 60.7 million shares of common stock, bringing the company's total to about 443 million shares...Read More »



Startech Environmental Reports Strong 2007 Financials; Optimistic Outlook

Startech Environmental, which builds and operates a plasma converter system, reports that Shareholders' Equity is in excess of $4.4 million with approximately $11.6 million in Cash on Hand, along with Plasma Converter Sales Bookings of approximately $25 million. Startech VP and CFO, Peter Scanlon, said, "With sales in Asia, Europe and North America, and manufacturing well under way, the Company has never before been as strong as it is today, and getting stronger. We're all very optimistic about Startech's future."...Read More »


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