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Consolidated Water Co Ltd reports 2011 operating results

Consolidated Water Co Ltd, which operates in The Bahamas and throughout the region, reported that total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2011, increased 9 per cent to approximately $55.2 million, compared with approximately $50.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2010. 

Friday, March 16, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012

GEORGE TOWN, GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS, Mar 15, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. CWCO +0.13% , which develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent, today reported its operating results for the year ended December 31, 2011. The Company will host an investor conference call tomorrow — Friday, March 16, 2012 — at 11:00 a.m. EDT (see details below).

Total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2011 increased 9% to approximately $55.2 million, compared with approximately $50.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2010.

Retail water revenues rose 7% to approximately $23.4 million (42% of total revenues) in 2011, versus approximately $21.9 million (43% of total revenues) in the previous year, reflecting a 2% increase in base rates due to an upward movement in the consumer price indices used to determine such rate adjustments, and higher energy price pass-through charges, partially offset by a 3% decline in the number of gallons of water sold by the retail segment. The decline in gallons sold during 2011 was due to the absence of water sales made in the first quarter of 2010 at bulk water rates to the Water Authority-Cayman (“WAC”) to replace water previously supplied by the Red Gate plant while such plant was under refurbishment. Excluding this water sold to the WAC, the number of gallons of water sold by the retail segment increased by approximately 3% from 2010 to 2011.

Bulk water revenues increased 22% to approximately $30.8 million (56% of total revenues) in 2011, compared with $25.3 million (50% of total revenues) in 2010, reflecting a 6% increase in the number of gallons of water sold and energy pass-through charges due to higher energy prices. Bulk revenues in 2011 benefited from $770,000 in revenues generated in the fourth quarter from the expansion of CW-Bahamas’ Blue Hills plant.

Services revenues declined 71% to approximately $1.0 million in 2011, compared with approximately $3.5 million in 2010, reflecting substantially lower plant sales revenues due to a lack of plant construction activity for third parties, the expiration of the management services contract for the Bermuda plant on June 30, 2011, and lower fees earned on the Company’s management agreement with OC-BVI (the Company’s equity investment affiliate) due to the incremental fees earned on the higher earnings generated by this affiliate in 2010.

Net income attributable to stockholders declined 3% to $6,113,218, or $0.42 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared with net income of $6,292,025, or $0.43 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2010. A modest increase in operating income during 2011 was more than offset by a reduction in OC-BVI’s earnings. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company recognized earnings on its investment in OC-BVI of $838,652, compared with $1,235,146 in 2010.

Consolidated gross profit rose 15% to approximately $19.0 million (34% of total revenues) in 2011, versus approximately $16.6 million (33% of total revenues) in 2010. Gross profit on retail revenues improved 3% to approximately $11.9 million (51% of revenues) in the most recent year, compared with approximately $11.5 million (53% of revenues) for the year ended December 31, 2010. The slight decline in retail gross profit as a percentage of retail revenues reflected the increase in energy pass-through charges and higher non-revenue water volumes during 2011. Gross profit on bulk revenues increased to approximately $6.6 million (22% of revenues) in 2011, from approximately $4.4 million (17% of revenues) in the prior year, primarily due to improved operating efficiencies and the increase in bulk segment revenues. A significant portion of the bulk segment’s production costs are relatively fixed in nature and do not increase proportionately with an increase in the volume of water sold. The services segment recorded a gross profit of approximately $0.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, compared with a gross profit of approximately $0.7 million in 2010. The lower gross profit for 2011 in the services segment stems primarily from the decrease in revenues discussed above.

General and administrative expenses increased 21% to $13,651,650 in 2011, versus $11,329,648 in 2010, primarily due to (i) approximately $1,286,000 of incremental expenses related to the project development activities of the Company’s consolidated Mexico affiliate and (ii) approximately $1,045,000 in higher employee costs due to additional management bonuses, higher stock-based compensation, the hiring of additional personnel, and salary increases.

Interest income decreased 13% to $1,200,999 for the year ended December 31, 2011, versus $1,375,827 for the previous year. Interest expense decreased 28.0% to $1,141,744 in 2011, from $1,584,771 in 2010 as a result of $246,851 in interest capitalized for the expansion of the Blue Hills plant and the prepayment on September 30, 2010 of $1.5 million of our 7.5% bonds payable.

“We were pleased with our ability to achieve a level of net income attributable to common stockholders comparable to that of the prior year while incurring an incremental $1.3 million in expenses for our Mexico joint venture and experiencing a 32% decline in earnings from our OC-BVI affiliate,” stated Rick McTaggart, Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. “The performance of our bulk water segment was particularly gratifying given our recent efforts to improve these operations. Margins in the Bahamas increased because of a strict cost-control program, efficiency gains resulting from various operational improvement programs that we have implemented over the past four years and increased water production. In November, we commissioned a 67% expansion in the capacity of our Blue Hills plant in Nassau. This expansion contributed $770,000 to our revenue during the fourth quarter of 2011, while allowing the island of New Providence to eliminate its dependence upon the expensive barging of fresh water from Andros Island. We expect the increased revenue resulting from higher production at the Blue Hills plant to have a positive impact upon the performance of our Bahamas subsidiary in 2012 and future years.”

“In our retail market on Grand Cayman Island, we continue to produce and distribute water under the terms of our previous license agreement, which, although it formally expired in July 2010, has been extended through June 30, 2012,” noted Mr. McTaggart. “While the government has not requested further retail license negotiations since our last meeting in February 2011, we believe the lack of recent license negotiations results from government’s focus on other matters, including the government’s publicly acknowledged intention to privatize certain government-owned assets, including the Water Authority-Cayman. Although we cannot state with any certainty when our retail license negotiations will be completed, we are confident that our Company and the Government can ultimately reach an agreement on terms satisfactory to both parties.”

“We strengthened our management team in September, in anticipation of future growth opportunities, when John Tonner joined our Company as Chief Operating Officer. John has acquired extensive practical and engineering expertise involving all commercially viable desalination processes during a career in the industry that spans more than 25 years. His experience and knowledge not only enhances our existing operations, but he represents an extremely valuable addition to our new market assessment capabilities.”

“I am pleased to report that we have negotiated an agreement with one of the other shareholders in our Mexican joint venture, NSC Agua S.A. de C.V. (‘NSC’), and we now control 75% of the shares of NSC,” continued Mr. McTaggart. “With the resolution of certain internal NSC issues that delayed the project, we are again moving forward with the development of a proposed 100 million US gallon-per-day seawater desalination plant in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. We are enthusiastic about this project and its prospects for success given the growing need for water on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Recent natural events, including the earthquake in Mexicali in April 2010 and increasingly frequent droughts on the Colorado River system, have highlighted the fragility of existing water resources and heightened interest in seawater desalination as a permanent solution to water problems in the region.”

“Looking forward, we have deployed full-time engineering and management assets to Asia, where we are currently pursuing several new projects in markets that have characteristics similar to our traditional Caribbean market, including tourism-based economies, stable political and economic environments and limited supplies of potable water. We expect some of these projects to materialize soon and hope to initiate business in Asia by the end of 2012,” concluded Mr. McTaggart.

This is an excerpt from Marketwatch as it appeared on March 16, 2012. For updates or to read the current version of this post in its entirety, please click here.

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