Buyer beware as (publicly traded) companies move to exploit hype around Ontario FIT program
On January 7 I wrote a post about Burnaby, B.C.-based solar manufacturer Day4 Energy and its sale of 5.1 megawatts of solar modules to Ontario’s Hybridyne Power Systems Canada, which designs and constructs utility-scale solar parks and — according to my post — “is 47.5 per cent owned by Atlantic Wind and Solar Inc.” I also wrote that “Atlantic and Hybridyne plan to use the panels for a 2 MW energy park in Newcastle, about an hour east of Toronto, and Atlantic will use the rest for a variety of rooftop solar installations, part of its plan to take advantage of Ontario’s new feed-in tariff program.”
The information about Atlantic Wind & Solar was taken right out of Day4 Energy’s press release, in which it said:
Since AWSL’s June 2009 acquisition of Hybridyne Power Systems Canada, the Company has been actively pursuing a number of exciting renewable energy projects that portend a successful 2010 with the achievement of several corporate milestones. The Hybridyne acquisition, followed by the revolutionary Green Energy Act introduced by Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, has led to a strong focus by Atlantic Wind and Solar Inc. on the exciting potential for growth in the rooftop solar business across Ontario, and has quickened the pace of its province-wide marketing efforts in that regard.
Day4’s confusion is understandable, given that Atlantic Wind has been indicating to everyone that the deal with Hybridyne was a done deal. Take the following Dec. 9, 2009, press release from Atlantic Wind, which begins as follows:
Atlantic Wind and Solar Inc. is pleased to report that its 47.5%-owned Canadian affiliate Hybridyne Power Systems Canada Inc. (HPSC) has commissioned the first Hybrid Renewable Energy Supplemented Data center in North America. The groundbreaking system was constructed over the past 6 months for Pizza Pizza Limited.
So you can imagine the confusion among investors in publicly traded (pink sheets) Atlantic Wind when they saw, buried low, this comment in a news release last week about how the acquisition that appeared a done deal is now suddenly “null and void”: “The cancellation of this transaction will be reflected in the upcoming restatement of the company’s quarterly and annual filings.”
Gotta say, this stinks — and regulators should be all over it. I mean, when the acquisition was first announced in March 2009 the company’s stock was trading at just 14 cents. It climbed as high as $4.22 a share by Dec. 11, and is now half that amount and falling. After a year — after repeated statements indicating this is a done deal — suddenly the transaction is null and void? Give me a break.
I raise this for three reasons: 1) I’ve had a couple of readers point it out, and they’re angry as hell; 2) Companies that do this need to be called out; 3) To point out that Ontario’s Green Energy Act and FIT program are going to lure many different folks to the market, some more professional than others, some more interested in talking than doing.