VANCOUVER, March 24 /CNW/ - Plutonic Power Corporation (the "Company") (PCC: TSX) announced today a progress update and its financial results in Canadian Dollars for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2009.
2009 ended with excellent construction progress being achieved at the East Toba River and Montrose Creek ("Toba Montrose Project") run of river hydroelectric project. Additionally, the Company strengthened its relationship with GE Energy Financial Services ("GE") through their joint purchase of the 300 megawatt ("MW") Dokie wind farm in northern British Columbia. Plutonic's balance sheet was strengthened through a $70 million bought deal financing in the fall.
The Toba Montrose Project being built with our partner GE through the Toba Montrose General Partnership ("TMGP") in conjunction with our First Nations partners, the Klahoose, Sliammon and Sechelt First Nations, is fully financed, on-budget and on-schedule to reach commercial operation during 2010. All the electricity to be generated from Toba Montrose will be sold to BC Hydro and Power Authority ("BC Hydro") under a 35-year Electricity Purchase Agreement ("EPA").
During the fourth quarter of 2009, the Company met its obligation to fund its $30 million equity commitment in TMGP.
Milestones during the fourth quarter of 2009 include:
- 86% completion of the engineering, procurement and construction
("EPC") contract, including access roads and bridges and the East
Toba powerhouse and intake structures
- Work nearing completion includes the East Toba penstock, the
Montrose intake and the transmission line
The transmission line from the Toba Montrose Project is expected to be energized in March with electricity purchased from BC Hydro to allow for commissioning and testing of electrical components related to the project. Once the East Toba Montrose generating units are synchronized to the BC Hydro system, TMGP will begin to use its own energy to complete testing. Commercial operation of East Toba is planned for July, and Montrose is planned for November 2010.
DOKIE WIND PROJECT
During the fourth quarter of 2009, the Company and GE formed Dokie General Partnership ("DGP"), to acquire, finance, complete the construction and operate the 144 MW Dokie Wind Project in conjunction with our First Nations partners, the Halfway River, West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations and McLeod Lake Indian Band. DGP acquired the partially completed and fully permitted Dokie Wind Project from EarthFirst Canada Inc. DGP arranged debt financing of $175 million and the Company and GE contributed $52.5 million of project equity to finance the completion of the Dokie Wind Project. The Dokie Wind Project is located 1,100 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, near Chetwynd, BC and it will use 48 3-MW wind turbines to generate and sell on average 333 gigawatt hours ("GWh") of electricity annually net of transmission line losses. Completion of construction and commencement of electricity sale to BC Hydro is scheduled for early 2011 under a 25 year EPA.
DGP entered into an EPC contract with Mortenson Canada Corporation ("Mortenson") to complete construction of the Dokie Wind Project. In December 2009, Mortenson assumed care, custody and control of the project site. Over the next few months shipment of all remaining wind turbines to Chetwynd, BC will be completed. Subsequent to December 31, 2009, Mortenson's field team mobilized to site and their "winter" program includes foundation preparation for the remaining 37 wind turbine generator sites, completion of site road sub-base and the widening of main and collector roads. The project activity is proceeding in conformance with the master project plan.
For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2009, the Company incurred a net loss of $3.1 million ($0.05 net loss per common share) compared with a net loss of $5.2 million ($0.12 net loss per common share) for the quarter ended December 31, 2008. The Company's net loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2009 is comprised of $3.5 million (2008 - $2.0 million) in net cash operating expenditures, and $0.4 million in non-cash operating gains (2008 - $3.2 million non-cash operating loss), including share based compensation, share based guarantee fees, and an unrealized gain on the fair value adjustment of interest rate swaps.
For the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company incurred a net loss of $19.3 million ($0.40 net loss per common share) compared with a net loss of $14.3 million ($0.34 net loss per common share) in 2008. The Company's net loss for the year ended December 31, 2009 is comprised of $10.3 million (December 31, 2008 - $6.5 million) in net cash operating expenditures, and $9.0 million (December 31, 2008 - $7.8 million) in non-cash items, including share based compensation, share based guarantee fees, and an unrealized loss on the fair value adjustment of interest rate swaps.
As at December 31, 2009, the Company had $14.4 million in consolidated cash, $51.9 million in consolidated cash restricted to construction and consolidated working capital of $57.5 million. Excluding its respective proportionate 40% share of TMGP cash and working capital and 51% share of DGP cash and working capital as at December 31, 2009, the Company had $11.9 million in cash and $13.4 million in working capital.
As at December 31, 2009, the Company had recorded $238.8 million in long term debt, $268.2 million in property plant and equipment and $5.6 million in intangible assets, based on its 40% share in TMGP and 51% share in DGP. The long term debt of TMGP and DGP are secured by the assets of TMGP and DGP respectively and are non-recourse to the other assets of the Company.
During the fourth quarter of 2009, the Company completed a bought deal equity financing co-led by Cormark Securities Inc., GMP Securities L.P. and Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd. pursuant to which the lead underwriters purchased 21,000,000 common shares of the Company at a price of $3.35 per common share for net proceeds of $66.5 million. The Company used the proceeds from this equity financing to fund its $30 million equity commitment in TMGP, its $26.8 million equity contribution to DGP and the balance for general working capital purposes.
This financial summary should be read in conjunction with the Company's December 31, 2009 audited consolidated financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis, both of which are available on www.sedar.com and on the Plutonic Power Corporation web site at http://www.plutonic.ca/s/FinancialReports.asp
2010 UPDATES AND FORECAST
In March 2010, BC Hydro offered an EPA for a modified Upper Toba Valley Project that now includes two power sites with a combined potential capacity of 124 MW and expected annual generation of 315 GWh of electricity net of transmission line losses. The original proposal included a third power site, which was removed during discussions with BC Hydro due to concerns about capacity constraints on a British Columbia Transmission Corporation transmission line between Saltery Bay and Malaspina. The Company and GE expect to enter into an EPA with BC Hydro for the modified Upper Toba Valley Project by April 1, 2010.
Negotiations with BC Hydro for an EPA on the Bute Inlet Project will not move ahead at this time, in order to allow for further data collection, studies and due diligence.
During 2010 the Company expects to complete construction and commissioning of the Toba Montrose Project. This will mark a transition of the company from a developer to that of a clean energy generator with positive cash flow.
Further, construction of the 144 MW Dokie Wind Project will be complete in late 2010 with commissioning and testing estimated to be completed in early 2011. Under the direction of GE, a feasibility study has commenced for the additional 156 MW Dokie expansion.
Work on Upper Toba during 2010 will focus on the entering into of a formal partnership agreement with GE, an Impact Benefit Agreement with the Klahoose First Nation, construction, permitting and financing arrangements.
About Plutonic Power Corporation
British Columbia based Plutonic Power is a Canadian leader in clean energy development. Our vision is to create a legacy through the development of renewable, reliable, clean energy projects. Plutonic is a partner in 340 megawatts of hydro and wind projects that are under construction. In 2010 commercial operations will start at the $660 million, 196 megawatt East Toba River and Montrose Creek run-of-river hydroelectric project. Active construction is also underway on the $227.5 million, 144 megawatt Dokie Wind Project, diversifying Plutonic Power's clean energy portfolio. Plutonic is committed to working in partnership with First Nations, stakeholder groups and local communities in the development of all of its projects. By developing its suite of projects, Plutonic will help British Columbia realize its goal of becoming electricity self-sufficient by 2016 utilizing 90% clean domestic generation sources, will create employment opportunities and will play a significant role in the fight against climate change.
The TSX Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements - This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the business and anticipated financial performance of the Company. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from results contemplated by the forward-looking statements. When relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update any forward looking statements, oral or written, made by itself or on its behalf.
SOURCE PLUTONIC POWER CORPORATION
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