Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 10-16, 2009


Wheelabrator Offers to Buy Troubled Waste Authority SPSA

The troubled Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) representing eight member municipalities in southeastern Virginia received yet another offer to by all or part of its assets. This time, Wheelabrator Technologies, a division of industry giant Waste Management, modified an earlier proposal and now offers to buy the authority outright. In September, Wheelabrator offered to buy and SPSA agreed to sell them its Portsmouth waste to energy plant for $150 million. However, another company ReEnergy Holdings LLC, a New York firm, has already offered to buy SPSA for more than $240 million. ReEnergy made its initial offer in August, 2008 and has subsequently sweetened its bid. Wheelabrator has not yet disclosed details of its latest offer.

The proposals come nearly a year after SPSA revealed it was buried in $240 million worth of debt and faced a budget shortfall of $16 million. To help keep the agency afloat, residents of six member cities and counties are now paying the highest waste disposal rates in the country - $170 per ton...Read More »



New Study Projects $140 Billion Green Building Market by 2013

A new report indicates that 61% of construction contractors rate waste management practices as the second most important aspect of green building, just behind energy efficiency. The report, "Sustainable Construction Waste Management: Creating Value in the Built Environment," is the work of McGraw-Hill Construction with support from Waste Management, Inc. It quotes Waste Business Journal statistics that the US generated 143.5 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris in 2008, but only 28% (40.2 million tons) was reused, recycled or sent to waste-to-energy facilities. While total construction starts are expected to fall another 25% in 2009, green building has grown dramatically in recent years and is expected to continue its upward trend. By 2013, McGraw-Hill Construction projects that the green building market will be up to 25% of all new construction starts by value, equating to a $140 billion market. "This rapidly growing green share of the building market presents extensive market opportunities for green building aspects like waste management."

McGraw-Hill Construction's 2010 Construction Outlook forecasts an increase in the level of construction starts in 2010 that is expected to climb 11% to $466.2 billion, following the 25% decline predicted for 2009. McGraw's Outlook, a mainstay of business planning for construction and manufacturing executives, says the increase will result from improvement for housing from extremely low levels and broader expansion for public works...Read More »



Veolia's Operating Profit Drops 14% on Waste Business Slowdown

Veolia Environnement SA, the world's biggest water company and second largest waste company, said nine-month profit fell 14% as the recession cut demand for waste treatment and recycling. Operating income declined to 1.51 billion euros ($2.25 billion) from a restated 1.76 billion euros a year earlier. Overall revenue fell 2.8% to 25.36 billion euros from 26.07 billion euros. The Paris-based company said in a press release that demand for waste services fell as clients including carmakers and steel producers have closed factories to survive the economic slowdown. Revenue for the waste division fell 10.9% to 6.78 billion euros from 7.61 billion euros in the same period a year earlier. To keep up cash flow, the company has sold or agreed to sell assets totaling 813 million euros this year. Among those divestitures was the sale of its Montenay International portfolio of North American waste-to-energy contracts for $450 million. Veolia is retrenching from an active acquisition campaign in which thecompany spent over 4 billion euros in 2007 and 2008 on acquisitions including German waste company Sulo Group and TMT, the waste management unit of Italy's Termomeccanica Ecologia.

Veolia supplies water to about 110 million people worldwide and collects and manages trash for about 50 million. It provides public transportation in 27 countries and supplies energy in Europe and the U.S...Read More »



Senate Committee Passes Climate Bill despite Republicans' Boycott

The Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a climate change bill despite a boycott by the committee's Republican membership, thereby moving the bill to the Senate floor. In a 10-to-1 vote, with only Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) dissenting, the committee passed the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (SB 1733), which had been introduced by Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Leading Republicans on the committee said that they wanted a more detailed financial analysis of the bill before they would vote on it, but Boxer declared that the analysis already conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was "unprecedented in scope, and that she had the right to schedule the vote on the bill as long as a majority of the committee members were present. Democrats hold 12 of the committee's 19 seats. The partisan vote raises questions about whether Democrats will have difficulty earning support for the measure from some moderate Republicans who have expressed support for climate change legislation in the past...Read More »



Clean Harbors' Third Quarter Earnings Off on Fewer Disasters

Clean Harbors posted a 37% decline in third quarter profits and cut its revenue outlook for the year due to weaker than expected demand. The company said its field services segment was particularly affected by the continued slowdown at many of its utility and refinery customers, as well as limited waste remediation business. The company also noted that the third quarter lacked any major disasters requiring emergency cleanup. Net income fell to $9.2 million, $0.36 per share, from $14.6 million, or $0.61 per share, in the prior-year period. However, excluding one-time costs of $0.23 per share related to its recent acquisition of Canadian oil services firm Eveready Inc., Clean Harbors would have posted profit of $0.59 per share in the latest period. Revenue rose nearly 12% to $305.6 million from $273.2 million in last year's period. The company said it now expects to post revenues for the year of between $1.07 billion and $1.09 billion revised downward from previous guidance of $1.13 billion to $1.16 billion...Read More »



Waste Management and LG Electronics Launch E-waste Program for Hotels

Waste Management and LG Electronics announced a recycling program to help hotels dispose of outdated television sets and computer monitors. Under the program which is to launch next year, LG hopes to help hundreds of hotel operators who are expected to upgrade millions of old televisions to new flat panel digital versions by providing them with a one-stop delivery and recycling solution. Waste Management, though its subsidiary WM Recycle America LLC will provide the recycling services through its network of more than 200 recycling centers throughout the US and certify that electronics waste collected will be processed at one of four regionally designated Waste Management recycling facilities that are ISO 14001 and 9001 certified to protect the local environment and personnel...Read More »



Rhode Island's Big Landfill Gets $15 Million DOE Stimulus

The company building a proposed 42-megawatt landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) power plant at Rhode Island's Central Landfill has received $15 million in federal stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Energy. The company, Rhode Island LFG Genco, an affiliate of Ridgewood Renewable Power, said that the project which was originally expected to cost to $80 million, had risen to about $100 million. According to Stephen Galowitz, a managing director in charge of development and marketing at Ridgewood, the stimulus grant was part of about $150 million distributed by the DOE for industrial renewable energy projects and was welcome given the "challenging financing environment."...Read More »



German Utility Giant RWE Weighs Possible Entry into US Biomass Market

German utility giant RWE AG said it is considering a possible entry into the US biomass market, according to an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland. "Biomass is still a completely underrated treasure of the Americans," said to Fritz Vahrenholt, head RWE unit Innogy. He said the best way to get into the US market is through acquisition. Innogy currently operates biomass-based power stations with an output of 114 megawatts with plans to boost it to 400 megawatts in the next four years. RWE serves more than 20 million customers and earned revenue of EUR$49 billion last year...Read More »



Perma-Fix Swings to Third Quarter Profit Beating Expectations

Perma-Fix Environmental Services reported better than expected third quarter results that were a result of a sharp increase for nuclear-waste receipts. Net income rose to $2.62 million, or $0.05 per share, from a loss of $0.34 million, or $0.01 per share in the corresponding quarter last year. Quarterly net revenue rose to $26.5 million from $16.0 million last year...Read More »



New 3-MW Landfill Gas to Energy Operation Begins in Durham, NC

Officials with the City of Durham, NC and Duke Energy were on hand to open a new $5 million 3-megawatt landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) project at the city's old landfill. Methane Power (Tucson, AZ) built the plant that includes three 20-cylinder engines to generate enough electricity to power over 1,900 homes. Duke Energy has agreed to purchase that power under a 20-year contract with the developer which in turn will pay the city about $255,000 per year in royalties...Read More »



Casella Waste to Report Fiscal 2Q Earnings on Dec. 2

Casella Waste Systems said it plans to report fiscal second quarter earnings, for the period ending Oct. 31, after the close of the market on Wed., Dec. 2 and host an investor conference call the following day at 10 a.m. (Eastern)...Read More »


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