The value proposition
After surging almost 17% yesterday on no major news, Westport’s shares currently trade hands for $5.32 each. At these levels, it’s easy to make the argument that they’re trading at less than the sum of all the assets on the balance sheet.
Westport has a book value of US$237 million, including more than US$130 million in cash and nearly US$45 million in receivables. It also has some debt on the balance sheet, to the tune of US$55 million. The company’s book value works out to US$3.75 per share, or $4.68 in Canadian dollars.
But is that book value telling the whole story? Normally, value investors will strip out goodwill and intangibles from a book value calculation, because they generally aren’t worth much if a company were to liquidate. With Westport, it’s easy to make the argument that the intangible assets are worth more than the $72 million that’s listed on the balance sheet. I’m not sure what they’re worth, but I’d take the over on that bet.
Not only does the company have more than 400 patents and new technology on the way, but it also has partnerships with Cummins and Ford. Both of these partnerships are easily worth more than just the value on the balance sheet. And the company’s new technology is so promising that many customers delayed purchases for a few months until the new engines came out.
As Canadians, it’s easy to scoff at the Westport story. Outside of big trucks and busses, I don’t know anybody who drives a natural gas vehicle.
In Asia, it’s a whole other story. Although natural gas in Asia is more expensive than what it is in North America — we’re essentially awash with the stuff, they’re not — it’s still cheaper than using gasoline or diesel. In South Korea, where I’ve spent the last few months, just about every truck, bus, or taxi runs on natural gas.
Westport knows this as well as anyone, and has entered into a partnership with Weichai, one of China’s largest auto parts manufacturers.
At a research facility in Copenhagen, a unique ship’s engine has been developed. Powered by both diesel and liquefied natural gas, it has been designed to reduce the emissions of gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
Its performance differs little from normal diesel engines, say the scientists involved in this European research project
“Ship operators will have extra screens to monitor on the operation panel. The only extra function that they will have to take care of is to press gas when desired,” says Michael Johnsen Kryger, a mechanical engineer with MAN Diesel & Turbo.
The biggest challenge was to develop components from new materials that would still be safe and reliable, says Kryger: “The gas is under pressure of about 300 bars. And we have a double wall system consisting of an inner pipe and an outer pipe. The outer pipe is ventilated and we are monitoring the flow, and we are monitoring the gas so we are able to see if there is any gas leakages in the system”.
It was crucial to see inside the engine during testing, as Johan Fredrik Hult, an optical engineer with MAN Diesel & Turbo explains: “We used high-speed cameras together with an endoscope to actually look inside the interior of the engine.”
“We’ve increased our understanding of how natural gas, which comes in a high pressure, is being ignited by the diesel pilot inside the engine. And this, of course, allows us to optimize, for example, timing, geometrical arrangements of the different injectors in order to ignite the gas as efficiently as possible.”
Over 100 of these engines have already been sold to ship owners refitting their fleets. Buyers are convinced that, in a sector constantly submitted to ever stricter environmental regulation, their investment will eventually pay off, says Peter Andersson, Head of Ship Management at UECC: “You have to look at the long picture. You have a vessel that is going to operate between 25 and 30 years.
“And then, in this eco-zone when you can’t burn
A 50% drop in the price of crude oil since last summer hasn't slowed the move by companies with diesel-powered vehicles to shift their fleets to compressed natural gas.
Fueling the change are station developers with ties to Wisconsin, which has become a national leader in the move to add compressed natural gas stations across the country.
The drop in petroleum prices since last summer has caused some in the industry to pause their expansion plans, but not Appleton-based U.S. Gain, a division of privately held U.S. Venture Inc, said Bill Renz, general manager of U.S. Gain.
"A lot of folks ask me, 'With oil dropping are you guys in trouble?' We've signed more deals in the last three months than in the prior four years," Renz said.
But for a variety of reasons, from the federal stimulus package to the state's reliance on manufacturing to the numerous CNG-focused companies based here, Wisconsin has pushed this alternative fuel more than most states.
Wisconsin has more CNG stations than all of four of its neighboring states combined, and more than all but three states in the country: Texas, Oklahoma and the national leader, California.
But leaders in the expansion of stations across the country are watching closely the volatile price of oil and falling price of diesel.
"What drives our market is the difference between diesel and the natural gas alternative, and that margin or spread has compressed quite a bit over the last six months," said William Zobel, vice president of market development and strategy at Trillium CNG, which has opened six CNG stations in Wisconsin and more than 50 overall. "That's a driver for us."
Trillium has opened 52 stations nationwide, and remains committed to opening nearly 50 more by the end of next year.
At U.S. Gain, Renz says the drop in crude oil prices coincided with a surge in contracts. Business prospects are so strong that U.S. Venture created U.S. Gain as a stand-alone business unit for its compressed natural gas division to
The truck was the city's first and only compressed natural gas garbage truck. In 2013, the city's Public Services department paid $356,787.20 for the truck and thousands of dollars in upgrades. The problem is that the city has put around 100 miles of trash collection on the truck since it was delivered to the Public Services offices on Bates Avenue in November 2013.
It wasn't until weeks after the purchase that the city realized three problems with it: The city has no way of fueling it, it's too big for most of city streets and the city doesn't have the infrastructure in place to utilize the truck's automated features. The city stopped the original payment on the truck in 2013 after city staffers found multiple issues with the truck at delivery. Those problems were eventually repaired and Cincinnati's Public Services department cut the check.
That left the city with a major problem: How to get the $356,787.20 in tax dollars back.
COUNCIL VOTES TO LOSE $100,000 WHILE LAUGHING
On Dec. 8, 2014, the city's Budget and Finance Committee debated a request from city manager Harry Black to sell the city's $356,000 CNG truck to Lexington, Kentucky. Black wanted an emergency ordinance approved to sell the truck after the city shopped it around the Tri-State looking for buyers.
The committee voted to approve Black's request, sending it to full council for approval. But committee chairman Charlie Winburn didn't let the deal go through without scrutiny.
“This is a dumb project. This was a waste of tax payer money,” Winburn said to current Public Services Director Gerald Checco during the Dec. 8 meeting. Checco was called into Winburn's committee to provide background and the reasons why the department couldn't use the truck.
Winburn said he found out about the truck months after the city bought it. Winburn discovered it from what he called “whistleblowers ” at Public Services. This came after he discovered the department spent $314,000 on new salt in 2014 while the department had hundreds of tons on hand that it appeared they'd forgotten about, according to Winburn.
"During the time of saltgate, I discovered garbage truckgate,” Winburn said during the Dec. 8 meeting. "I felt I had to challenge the process today - tell us what you know about this boondoggle," Winburn asked Checco.
"Mr. Chair, we actually agree with your analysis," Checco responded. Winburn told FOX19 NOW Checco took over the department long after former director Mike Robinson's administration purchased the CNG truck and that he does not blame Checco for the “dumb project.”
Checco acknowledged his department made a mistake with buying the truck, saying: “This truck was purchased without a clear analysis of what the truck could do in our city and the truck does not work for our city."
On Dec. 10, 2013, the full Cincinnati city council voted to sell the truck to Lexington, KY for $250,000 - a $106,000 loss on the original purchase. The vote was unanimous and some council members asked not to have Charlie Winburn discuss the issue again during the Dec. 10 meeting.
Some members laughed among themselves as they joked about Winburn again debating the truck issue after he spent more than an hour on it during the Dec. 8 committee meeting.
Mayor John Cranley also had an opportunity to discuss the truck in public, but commented from his council chair during the Dec. 10 meeting, "I'm having a hard time biting my tongue, as well."
While some members were laughing about keeping Winburn quiet, council voted to sell the truck to Lexington for $250,000. The vote went through as an “emergency ordinance,” making the deal happen as soon as the city could possibly get it done.
On Feb. 5, 2015 Winburn spoke with FOX19 about the truck and council's vote to sell it. Winburn said he agreed with taking the $106,000 loss so taxpayers could salvage something on the deal.
When questioned him about the laughter during the vote, Winburn chastised his fellow council members.
"Some of my council colleagues ought to be ashamed of themselves, giggling and laughing about a serious issue of $350,000 of taxpayer money that has been squandered,” Winburn told FOX19.
okulawd • 43 minutes ago Flag
And your point is......?
no real point...just thought it was funny
there are plenty of municipalities that have effectively switched to cng for refuse that would take this truck
NEW DELHI — For years, this sprawling city on the Yamuna River had the dirtiest air in the world, but few who lived here seemed conscious of the problem or worried about its consequences.
Now, suddenly, that has begun to change. Some among New Delhi’s Indian and foreign elites have started to wear the white surgical masks so common in Beijing. The United States Embassy purchased 1,800 high-end air purifiers in recent months for staff members’ homes, with many other major embassies following suit.
Indeed, there has not been a single 30-day period in Beijing over the past two years during which the average PM2.5 level was as bad as it was in December and January in Delhi.
Worse yet, the numbers tell only half the story because Delhi’s PM2.5 particles are far more dangerous than those from many other locales because of the widespread burning of garbage, coal and diesel fuel that results in high quantities of toxins such as sulfur, dioxins and other carcinogenic compounds, said Dr. Sarath Guttikunda, director of Urban Emissions, an independent research group based in Delhi.
“Delhi’s air is just incredibly toxic,” said Dr. Guttikunda, who recently moved to Goa to protect his two young children from Delhi’s air. “People in Delhi are increasingly aware that the air is bad, but they have no idea just how catastrophically bad it really is.”
Already, an estimated 1.5 million people die annually in India, about one-sixth of all Indian deaths, as a result of both outdoor and the indoor air pollution, a problem caused in part by the widespread use of cow dung as cooking fuel. The country has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases, and more deaths from asthma than any other nation, according to the World Health Organization. Air pollution also contributes to both chronic
The USPS is looking for about 180,000 “next-generation delivery vehicles” which would eventually replace its 163,000 light-duty mail trucks it’s using now.
Gee skypeing with you sounds like a great idea
And after you prove yourself perhaps we could view pictures of your recent vacations and pictures of your kids !
The government is car shopping.
The United States Postal Service has issued an open call to automakers to bid for a commercial van contract as the agency works to launch a new delivery fleet by 2018, Automotive News reported.
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According to the initial specifications, the USPS contract would comprise 180,000 vehicles at $25,000 to $35,000 each, costing a total of $4.5 billion to $6.3 billion.
The current fleet of Long Life Vehicles comes from the aerospace company Grumman Corp., which was later purchased by Northrop; the trucks have had numerous problems during the last 30 years that include faulty doors, leaking windshields and low fuel economy.
"At some point, the fleet has to be dealt with," Tom Day, chief sustainability officer at the Postal Service, said at a 2014 hearing of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, as quoted by Automotive News. "The wheels are just going to fall off at some point in time. Whether we refurbish it or replace it, something has to be done."
USPS will meet with potential bidders next week in Washington, planning to select carmakers this summer to build prototypes for testing in 2016. The plan is to award the contract in early 2017.
While a government project typically isn't that profitable, a contract as large as the USPS fleet could be tempting to automakers such as Ford Motor Co., Daimler AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to Automotive News.
One hurdle for the company that takes on the project will be developing a vehicle with right-hand drive, which allows postal workers to reach through windows and put mail into mailboxes on the side of the road. In other challenges, USPS is also looking for alternative power options as well as modifications that will better fit the average mail carrier's everyday routine.
Natural gas heavy duty trucking fleet could benefit US economy and security, but not necessarily climate
Posted on February 20, 2015 at 6:49 am by Amy Myers Jaffe in General
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The decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) decision to favor a market-share approach rather than defend prices – and the subsequent fall in oil prices– has prompted a drop in drilling activity in the United States and layoffs in the oil and gas sector.
While the U.S. economy benefits from falling oil and gas prices overall, policy makers might want to consider ways to shield the benefits of a healthy U.S. domestic natural gas sector from the negative fallout from the OPEC price war.
One way to help U.S. natural gas producers beat OPEC would be to nurture natural gas as a fuel for the U.S. heavy-duty trucking fleet. While launching a national network for liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled trucks might be difficult and expensive, an initial small-scale natural gas transportation network for heavy trucking could be launched in U.S. regions situated near high-volume travel corridors, according to a new UC Davis-Rice University study. Our research shows that California, the Great Lakes and mid-Atlantic areas as places that are well-positioned to launch a small, initial natural gas transportation network for heavy trucking due to their proximity to high-volume travel corridors.
With the so-called “shale revolution,” the recent emergence of natural gas as an abundant, inexpensive fuel in the United States has raised the possibility of a larger shift in the level of natural gas used in transportation. The study examines the economic and environmental viability of such a shift, and whether it could enable a transition to lower carbon transport fuels.
A shift to natural gas in transportation could provide several advantages. The shift could
CUMMINS READY FOR RENTAL WITH SERVICE NETWORK EXPANDED TO 500 LOCATIONS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA
23 February 2015
Rental Fleet Support Initiatives Shaped By 4-Cylinder Engine Growth At Tier 4 Final
NEW ORLEANS (Feb. 23, 2015) – Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) announced today that the latest generation of 4-cylinder QSF2.8, QSF3.8 and QSB4.5 engines is set to drive a significant growth of Cummins-powered compact equipment with rental fleets moving forward to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 Final low-emissions regulations. Ahead of the anticipated population increase of QSF and QSB 4-cylinder engines, the Cummins service support network is expanding to around 500 distributor and dealer locations in North America by the end of 2015.
The foundation of the support network is based on 170 Cummins distributor locations providing expert technical, service and warranty support for rental companies. Specialist advice on maximizing fuel efficiency and best service practices for Cummins engines is readily available.
Cummins distributors are leading a Tier 4 Final program focused on 4-cylinder engine support that will increase the number of certified dealer locations to around 330 this year. This increased geographic spread means that rental companies can expect Cummins support whenever and wherever they need it.
“The expanded support capability we have established will ensure that rental fleets are able to achieve very high equipment utilization rates and maximum uptime availability with their Cummins-powered equipment, be it a small skid steer or a high-capacity crawler crane,” said Chris Uhlmansiek, Cummins Account Executive – Off-Highway Rental.
“The simplified Tier 4 Final technology offered by our QSF and QSB 4-cylinder engines for compact construction, material handling and industrial equipment across 49 hp-to-173 hp (37-129 kW) range will also enhance the residual value of rental machines as they bri
just the idea of westport having a quarterly report gives investors the shudders :)
Nassau County Transit Company Orders Slew of CNG Buses
New Flyer Industries Inc. has won a deal to supply up to 110 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses to Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE), a transit company operated by Transdev Services in Nassau County, N.Y.
The contract contains a firm order for 52 heavy-duty, 40-foot Xcelsior CNG buses, with an option for 58 additional buses. New Flyer says the contract is valued at approximately $53 million.
“Sustainability is a top priority for NICE, and their purchase of New Flyer CNG buses reflects their commitment to minimize environmental impact,” says Paul Soubry, New Flyer’s president and CEO. “We are very pleased to partner with NICE in their sustainability efforts. This is a transit company that walks the talk by taking great strides to continue to offer environmentally conscious transit .