Calgon Carbon Corporation (CCC), in a letter to its shareholders, has updated them on its roadmap for value creation. The company intends to continue exploring alternative business structures, return capital beyond the accelerated share repurchase, and accelerate cost-cutting initiatives while investing in key growth opportunities.
In this context, the Board of Directors has decided to expand the share repurchase program initiated at the end of 2012 to authorize up to an additional $100 million of stock repurchases. This will bring the total amount authorized for share repurchase since Nov, 2012 to $200 million, of which, $150 million is still currently available.
The Board’s authorization allows share repurchases through open market operations or otherwise. It also includes an accelerated share repurchase, under the terms of a Rule 10b5-1 plan, in privately negotiated transactions and in round lot or block transactions. The share repurchase program will not hinder Calgon Carbon’s ability to fund other strategic investments.
Calgon Carbon also declared a $10 million extension of its cost reduction program which brings the total annual cost improvements to $40 million. The company further expects to realize annual improvements of $30 million in 2015 and the full $40 million in 2016.
Calgon Carbon also stressed the importance of securing high performing coal with the lowest total cost of ownership, for producing activated carbon at its two virgin plants. The company recently contracted two leading coal companies to supply bituminous coal for meeting its cost/performance criteria. The execution of both these contracts will begin soon and expire at the end of 2018. Coal under contract for that period is roughly 70%.
Calgon Carbon has reached certain additional transformation milestones on a number of fronts in 2013. The company saw improvements in key operating metrics including expansion of cost of goods sold, operating expense, earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation (:EBITDA) margin, and cash flow. These improvements were the result of implementation of the cost improvement program.
Calgon Carbon has increased the reactivation production capacity to roughly 250 million pounds a year to solidify the company’s leadership position and enhance the growth strategy incorporated in a highly attractive market.
Implementation of the new global regulatory framework has benefited Calgon Carbon as the combined orders in this fiscal year’s second and third quarter have exceeded compared with the previous two-year period. The launch of Hyde GUARDIAN Gold Ballast Water Treatment System earlier this month should add to this momentum.
Calgon Carbon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Better-ranked stocks in the pollution control industry worth considering include Sharps Compliance Corp. (SMED), Fuel-Tech, Inc. (FTEK) and Perma-Fix Environmental Services Inc. (PESI). While Sharps Compliance and Fuel-Tech carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Perma-Fix Environmental holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).