Fuel Tech Reports 2010 Fourth Quarter and Annual Financial Results

WARRENVILLE, Ill.--()--Fuel Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ: FTEK), a world leader in advanced engineering solutions for the optimization of combustion systems and emissions control in utility and industrial applications, today reported results for the three- and 12-month periods ended December 31, 2010.

Fourth Quarter 2010

Revenues for the fourth quarter totaled $25.0 million, a 34% increase from the comparable prior-year quarter. Net income for the quarter was $1.0 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, compared with net income of $0.2 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the same year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $3.8 million, up from $3.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The Air Pollution Control technology segment (APC segment) recorded revenues of $13.2 million, an increase of 25% versus the fourth quarter of 2009. Segment gross margins were 32% in the fourth quarter of 2010 versus the 39% reported in the fourth quarter of 2009, primarily due to a mix of lower margin projects and the timing of project milestones for other contracts that primarily involve activities such as initial engineering design and project start-up activities, in support of APC existing projects.

FUEL TECH, INC. REPORTS THIRD-QUARTER RESULTS Page

The FUEL CHEM® technology segment (FUEL CHEM segment) generated revenues of $11.8 million, an increase of 45% from the comparable 2009 quarter. Increased revenues were predominately due to the addition of new customer accounts. Current quarter revenues include $10.9 million from coal-fired units, a 59% increase versus a year ago, and $0.9 million from non-coal-fired units, down 28% from the comparable prior-year quarter, reflecting lower sales to oil-fired units as reduced industrial loads and the high cost of oil suppressed its use as a fuel source. Segment gross margins increased from 48% in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 51% in the current quarter due to reduced domestic FUEL CHEM demonstration program expenses.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses totaled $7.6 million in the current quarter versus $7.1 million in the same year-ago period. Increases in expenses related to sales commissions and employee incentive programs were directly attributed to favorable results for the quarter. Partially offsetting these increases were reductions in stock compensation expense and expenses relating to a reduction and restructuring of the workforce.

Research and development (R&D) expenses were $0.4 million, compared with $0.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, as R&D activities ramp up to provide additional enhancements to the Company’s existing suite of technologies.

Full Year 2010

Revenues for 2010 were $81.8 million, up 15% from $71.4 million in 2009. Net income for the year was $1.8 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, up from a net loss of $2.3 million, or ($0.10) per diluted share, for the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA in 2010 was $12.1 million, an increase of 54% from the $7.8 million recorded in the prior year.

The APC technology segment recorded revenues of $40.9 million, an 18% increase versus fiscal 2009, as utility and industrial customers continue to make operation improvements and prepare to comply with Federal and State regulations. Segment gross margins decreased to 34% versus 38% reported for full year 2009. The decline was primarily due to the mix of lower margin project work including one large capital project that contained a significant amount of installation work that was passed through at a nominal margin.

Revenues for the FUEL CHEM segment totaled $40.9 million versus $36.7 million in total 2009 segment revenues. Of the $40.9 million in total 2010 segment revenues, $37.4 million was associated with coal-fired units (a 15% increase versus the comparable prior-year period) while revenues from non-coal-fired units declined 16% to $3.5 million. Segment gross margins increased to 51% for fiscal 2010 from 43% for fiscal 2009, reflecting the impact of lower demonstration costs and a one-time contingent risk share payment of $2.0 million that was recognized in 2010 but related to a demonstration that occurred in 2009. At December 31, 2010, no contingent payments existed for carryover to 2011.

SG&A expenses totaled $30.9 million versus $32.3 million in the same year-ago period. This decrease can be mainly attributed to expenses related to a reduction and restructuring of the workforce and decreased stock compensation expense. Partially offsetting these reductions were increases to employee incentive programs and commissions relating to favorable financial performance for both the quarter and year ending December 31, 2010. R&D expenses for fiscal 2010 were $0.9 million versus $0.6 million for fiscal 2009 as a continued focus on R&D activities to enhance product offerings is maintained.

For 2010, the Company announced contract awards with a value of approximately $32.3 million. After accounting for the conversion of backlog to revenues during this period, the APC segment capital projects backlog stood at $19.3 million as of December 31, 2010. Subsequent to December 31, 2010, the Company has announced APC orders with a value of $2.7 million.

Douglas G. Bailey, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “I am very proud of what we have achieved in 2010. Despite the sluggish economy, weakness in the power market, and continued domestic regulatory uncertainty, we finished the year with record annual revenues and strong operating income gains, driven by increases in both the APC and FUEL CHEM segments.”

Mr. Bailey continued, “The FUEL CHEM segment achieved record revenues and operating income for both the quarter and the year. This is especially remarkable given that most of our domestic coal utility customers experienced reductions in coal-fired power generation due to the operation of natural gas and alternative energy sources at heavier loads. Despite this challenging environment, we are winning new business and commencing new programs on coal-fired boilers, predominantly on larger-size units.”

Mr. Bailey added, “With power generating stations under pressure to achieve maximum availability, higher efficiency, and minimum environmental emissions at the lowest possible cost, fuel flexibility for utility operators has become a high priority, both financially and operationally. The wide spread in U.S. coal prices continues to be a significant driver for our FUEL CHEM business as utilities are increasingly attracted to the compelling economic benefits of shifting from Appalachian coals, generally one of the fuels with the higher heat content and fewest operational issues, to the lower priced and lower British thermal unit (BTU) coals originating in the Illinois Basin and Powder River Basin.”

Mr. Bailey continued, “On the APC front, interest in our pollution control technologies, on both a new and retrofit basis, remains strong, both domestically and abroad. During 2010, we were pleased to have announced an alliance agreement with a major domestic power producer that resulted in the receipt of nine Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) orders on coal-fired boilers. We also received an order in Spain for two aqueous ammonia Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems for NOx reduction, which represented our largest single contract for a system operating in Europe. In China, important milestones were also achieved as we announced our first Low NOx Burner (LNB)/ Over-Fire Air (OFA) project and our first ULTRA™ award on district heating units.”

“Domestic quotation activity remains quite active, due in part to the EPA’s proposed Transport Rule, which was released in July 2010 and is expected to be finalized around July 2011. While the final requirements of the proposed rule are under review and the final structure is yet to be determined, we view the proposed accelerated compliance schedule and the incremental NOx reduction requirements as a positive driver for future business.”

“We are off to a strong start in 2011 with the following China APC awards: our first Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) design services project, an award from China’s largest electric utility for two ULTRA systems, and an ASCR™ Advanced SCR project which incorporates our combined LNB/OFA/NOxOUT® SNCR and SCR technologies. These awards highlight our unique ability to combine multiple technologies on a project-specific basis and afford us a competitive position in bidding on power plant units of all sizes.”

“In China, as we have consistently stated, we believe the NOx control market will increasingly emerge after the country’s Twelfth Five-Year Plan is approved and is soon expected to go into effect. The requirements in the Policy align well with our portfolio of NOx reduction capabilities, which cover the full spectrum from combustion modifications to ASCR™ systems, and we anticipate receiving future orders as a result of this new Policy.”

Mr. Bailey concluded, “We are very encouraged about our business prospects and believe that we are well positioned to increase our market-share both the multi-pollutant emissions control and energy efficiency markets. With respect to 2011, we believe that revenues and profits will exceed 2010 results as APC orders steadily improve, the result of upcoming regulations in the U.S. and China, and FUEL CHEM announcements are forthcoming, as utilities strive to enhance fuel flexibility by adding Powder River Basin and Illinois Basin coals to their fuel mix.”

Conference Call

As a reminder, Fuel Tech will host a conference call on Thursday, March 10 at 9:00 AM EST to discuss the results. The call will simultaneously be broadcast over the Internet at www.ftek.com and can be accessed under Upcoming Events” on the Home page. The call can also be accessed by dialing 800.798.2864 (domestic) or 617.614.6206 (international) and using the passcode “Fuel Tech.” A replay of the call will be available on the website and can be accessed by dialing 888.286.8010 (domestic) or 617.801.6888 (international) and using the passcode “64105338.” The replay will be available until April 9, 2011.

About Fuel Tech

Fuel Tech is a leading technology company engaged in the worldwide development, commercialization and application of state-of-the-art proprietary technologies for air pollution control, process optimization, and advanced engineering services. These technologies enable customers to produce both energy and processed materials in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner.

The Company’s nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction technologies include advanced combustion modification techniques - such as Low NOx Burners and Over-Fire Air systems - and post-combustion NOx control approaches, including NOxOUT® and HERT™ SNCR systems as well as systems that incorporate ASCR™ (Advanced Selective Catalytic Reduction), CASCADE™, ULTRA™ and NOxOUT-SCR® processes. These technologies have established Fuel Tech as a leader in NOx reduction, with installations on over 640 units worldwide, where coal, fuel oil, natural gas, municipal waste, biomass, and other fuels are utilized.

The Company’s FUEL CHEM® technology revolves around the unique application of chemicals to improve the efficiency, reliability, fuel flexibility and environmental status of combustion units by controlling slagging, fouling, corrosion, opacity and operational issues associated with sulfur trioxide, ammonium bisulfate, particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon dioxide and NOx. The Company has experienced with this technology, in the form of a customizable FUEL CHEM program, on over 110 combustion units burning a wide variety of fuels including coal, heavy oil, biomass, and municipal waste.

Fuel Tech also provides a range of combustion optimization services, including airflow testing, coal flow testing and boiler tuning, as well as services to help optimize selective catalytic reduction system performance, including catalyst management services and ammonia injection grid tuning. In addition, flow corrective devices and physical and computational modeling services are available to optimize flue gas distribution and mixing in both power plant and industrial applications.

Many of Fuel Tech’s products and services rely heavily on the Company’s exceptional Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling capabilities, which are enhanced by internally developed, high-end visualization software. These capabilities, coupled with the Company’s innovative technologies and multi-disciplined team approach, enable Fuel Tech to provide practical solutions to some of our customers’ most challenging problems. For more information, visit Fuel Tech’s web site at www.ftek.com.

This press release may contain statements of a forward-looking nature regarding future events. These statements are only predictions and actual events may differ materially. Please refer to documents that Fuel Tech files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements.

       
FUEL TECH, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in thousands of dollars, except share and per-share data)
 

 

December 31,

  2010       2009  
ASSETS
Current assets:
Restricted cash $ - $ 200
Cash and cash equivalents 30,524 20,965
Accounts receivable, net of allowance for doubtful
accounts of $82 and $70, respectively 21,175 17,877
Inventories 807 450
Deferred income taxes 89 636
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   1,861       2,294  
Total current assets 54,456 42,422
 
Property and equipment, net of accumulated
depreciation of $15,767 and $14,562, respectively 14,384 15,549
Goodwill 21,051 21,051
Other intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization
of $3,203 and $2,817, respectively 6,050 6,749
Deferred income taxes 5,000 4,183
Other assets   2,262       2,308  
Total assets $ 103,203     $ 92,262  
 
 
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Short-term debt $ 2,269 $ 2,925
Accounts payable 7,516 5,824
Accrued liabilities:
Employee compensation 2,863 671
Income taxes payable 1,857 -
Other accrued liabilities   3,306       2,424  
Total current liabilities 17,811 11,844
 
Other liabilities   1,482       2,196  
Total liabilities 19,293 14,040
 
Stockholders' equity:
Common stock, $.01 par value, 40,000,000 shares authorized,
24,213,467 and 24,211,967 shares issued and
outstanding, respectively 242 242
Additional paid-in capital 129,424 125,458
Accumulated deficit (46,075 ) (47,828 )
Accumulated other comprehensive income 243 269
Nil coupon perpetual loan notes   76       81  
Total stockholders' equity   83,910       78,222  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 103,203     $ 92,262  
 
 
FUEL TECH, INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(in thousands, except share and per-share data)

 

       

 

Three Months Ended

December 31

Twelve Months Ended

December 31

  2010       2009     2010       2009  
 
Revenues $ 24,997 $ 18,683 $ 81,795 $ 71,397
 
Costs and expenses:
Cost of sales 14,758 10,658 46,821 42,444
Selling, general and administrative 7,551 7,143 30,857 32,273

Gain from revaluation of

contingent performance obligation

- - (768 ) (781 )
Research and development   373     151     948     542  
  22,682     17,952     77,858     74,478  
 
Operating income (loss) 2,315 731 3,937 (3,081 )
 
Interest expense (33 ) (37 ) (143 ) (120 )
Interest income 5 2 11 32
Other income (expense)   50     (75 )   (119 )   (241 )
Income (loss) before taxes 2,337 621 3,686 (3,410 )
 
Income tax (expense)/benefit   (1,306 )   (389 )   (1,933 )   1,104  
 
Net income (loss) $ 1,031   $ 232   $ 1,753   $ (2,306 )
 
Net income (loss) per common share:
Basic $ 0.04   $ 0.01   $ 0.07   $ (0.10 )
Diluted $ 0.04   $ 0.01   $ 0.07   $ (0.10 )
 

Weighted-average number of

common shares outstanding:

Basic   24,213,000     24,126,000     24,213,000     24,148,000  
Diluted   24,432,000     24,126,000     24,405,000     24,148,000  
 
         

FUEL TECH, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(in thousands of dollars)

 

For the years ended December 31

  2010  

 

 

2009

      2008  
OPERATING ACTIVITIES
Net income (loss) $ 1,753 $ (2,306 ) $ 3,360
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided
by operating activities:
Depreciation 3,195 3,796 2,810
Amortization 886 1,312 184
Loss on equipment disposals/impaired assets 20 94 35
Gain on revaluation of ACT liability (768 ) (781 ) -
Deferred income tax (588 ) (1,492 ) 814
Stock compensation expense 4,179 6,011 5,815
Deferred director fees 95 - -
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:
Accounts receivable (3,365 ) 5,488 8,491
Inventories (354 ) 563 (828 )
Prepaid expenses, other current assets and other
noncurrent assets (27 ) 3,293 (3,509 )
Accounts payable 1,765 (2,372 ) (5,436 )
Accrued liabilities and other noncurrent liabilities 5,379 (113 ) (3,720 )
Other   20       34       31  
Net cash provided by operating activities 12,190 13,527 8,047
 
INVESTING ACTIVITIES
Proceeds from sales of short-term investments - - 1,998
Decrease (increase) in restricted cash 200 (200 ) -
Purchases of property, equipment and patents (2,206 ) (2,004 ) (9,839 )
Acquisition of businesses   -       (20,185 )     (3,928 )
Net cash used in investing activities (2,006 ) (22,389 ) (11,769 )
 
FINANCING ACTIVITIES
(Payments) / proceeds from short-term borrowings (737 ) 737 137
Proceeds from exercise of stock options and warrants 10 605 619
Reclassification of liability award - 90 -
Excess tax benefit for stock-based compensation - 78 548
Other   (5 )     86       73  
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities (732 ) 1,596 1,377
 
Effect of exchange rate fluctuations on cash   107       82       21  
 
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents 9,559 (7,184 ) (2,324 )
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year   20,965       28,149       30,473  
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year $ 30,524     $ 20,965     $ 28,149  
 
Supplemental Cash Flow Information:
 
Non-cash activities:
 
(Decrease) increase in contingent consideration payable $ - $ 2,307 $ -
Cash paid for:
Interest $ 143 $ 120 $ 135
Income taxes paid $ 297 $ 195 $ 5,905
 
               

FUEL TECH, INC.

BUSINESS SEGMENT FINANCIAL DATA
(in thousands of dollars)
 
Q4 - 2010 For the three months ended December 31, 2010
Nitrogen Oxide           Fuel Chem           Other   Total
               
Net Sales from external customers 13,160 11,837 - 24,997
Cost of sales (8,985)     -68.3%     (5,773)     -48.8%     -   (14,758)
Gross margin 4,175 31.7% 6,064 51.2% - 10,239
Selling, general and administrative - - (7,551) (7,551)
Gain from revaluation of ACT liability - - - -
Research and development -           -           (373)   (373)
Operating Income 4,175 6,064 (7,924) 2,315
 
Q4 - 2009 For the three months ended December 31, 2009
Nitrogen Oxide           Fuel Chem           Other   Total
 
Net Sales from external customers 10,542 8,141 - 18,683
Cost of sales (6,422)     -60.9%     (4,236)     -52.0%     -   (10,658)
Gross margin 4,120 39.1% 3,905 48.0% - 8,025
Selling, general and administrative - - (7,143) (7,143)
Gain from revaluation of ACT liability - - - -
Research and development -           -           (151)   (151)
Operating Income 4,120 3,905 (7,294) 731
 
Q4 YTD - 2010 For the twelve months ended December 31, 2010
Nitrogen Oxide           Fuel Chem           Other   Total
 
Net Sales from external customers 40,917 40,878 - 81,795
Cost of sales (27,024)     -66.0%     (19,797)     -48.4%     -   (46,821)
Gross margin 13,893 34.0% 21,081 51.6% - 34,974
Selling, general and administrative - - (30,857) (30,857)
Gain from revaluation of ACT liability - - 768 768
Research and development -           -           (948)   (948)
Operating Income 13,893 21,081 (31,037) 3,937
 
Q4 YTD - 2009 For the twelve months ended December 31, 2009
Nitrogen Oxide           Fuel Chem           Other   Total
 
Net Sales from external customers 34,721 36,676 - 71,397
Cost of sales (21,518)     -62.0%     (20,926)     -57.1%     -   (42,444)
Gross margin 13,203 38.0% 15,750 42.9% - 28,953
Selling, general and administrative - - (32,273) (32,273)
Gain from revaluation of ACT liability - - 781 781
Research and development -           -           (542)   (542)

Operating Income

13,203 15,750 (32,034) (3,081)
 

Note: Fuel Tech is an integrated company that segregates its financial results into two reportable segments, both providing advanced technology and engineering solutions for the optimization of combustion systems in utility and industrial applications. The “Other” classification includes those profit and loss items not allocated by Fuel Tech to each reportable segment.

         
FUEL TECH, INC.

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION

(in thousands of dollars)

 
For the years ended December 31   2010   2009   2008
 
Revenues:
United States $ 69,002 $ 55,395 $ 68,433
Foreign   12,793   16,002   12,641
$ 81,795 $ 71,397 $ 81,074

 

As of December 31   2010   2009   2008
Assets:
United States $ 92,485 $ 82,261 $ 80,999
Foreign   10,718   10,001   7,632
$ 103,203 $ 92,262 $ 88,631
 
           
FUEL TECH, INC.

RECONCILIATION OF GAAP NET INCOME (LOSS) TO EBITDA AND ADJUSTED EBITDA

(in thousands of dollars)

 
Three Months Ended Twelve Months Ended
  2010     2009   2010     2009  
Net income (loss) $ 1,033 $ 232 $ 1,753 $ (2,306 )
Interest expense 33 37 143 120
Income tax expense (benefit) 1,306 389 1,933 (1,104 )
Depreciation expense 755 954 3,195 3,796
Amortization expense   221   230   886   1,312  
EBITDA 3,348 1,842 7,910 1,818
Stock compensation expense   484   1,383   4,179   6,011  
ADJUSTED EBITDA $ 3,832 $ 3,225 $ 12,089 $ 7,829  
 

Adjusted EBITDA

To supplement the Company’s consolidated financial statements presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (GAAP), the Company has provided an Adjusted EBITDA disclosure as a measure of financial performance. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) before interest expense, income tax expense (benefit), depreciation expense, amortization expense and stock compensation expense. The Company’s reference to these non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to results prepared in accordance with GAAP standards, but are not a substitute for, or superior to, GAAP results.

Adjusted EBITDA is provided to enhance investors’ overall understanding of the Company’s current financial performance and ability to generate cash flow, which we believe is a meaningful measure for our investor and analyst communities. In many cases non-GAAP financial measures are utilized by these individuals to evaluate Company performance and ultimately determine a reasonable valuation for our common stock. A reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to the nearest GAAP measure of net income (loss) has been included in the financial table above.

Contacts

Fuel Tech, Inc.
David S. Collins, 630-845-4500
Chief Financial Officer
or
Tracy H. Krumme, 203-425-9830
Vice President, Investor Relations

Contacts

Fuel Tech, Inc.
David S. Collins, 630-845-4500
Chief Financial Officer
or
Tracy H. Krumme, 203-425-9830
Vice President, Investor Relations