VANCOUVER, BC – BioteQ Environmental Technologies, Inc. (TSX : BQE), a leader in the treatment of industrial wastewater, reports its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2012. All figures are in Canadian dollars.
BioteQ’s management will host a conference call to discuss its annual financial results on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM eastern time. Participants can dial in at 416-695-7806 or 888-789-9572; participant pass code: 3207139.
2012 was a successful year for BioteQ. In 2012 BioteQ generated the highest level of revenues it has achieved in its history. The company also made significant progress with respect to cash usage levels and further reported progress in a range of operational areas.
At the beginning of 2012, the Company established a set of financial and operational milestones for the year. The following is a summary of our progress against these milestones.
Increase revenues by at least 30%.
Revenues for the year grew 27% over 2011, in line with guidance provided by BioteQ. Total revenues for the year were $9.4 million compared to $7.4 million in 2011. This represents a record level of revenue for the company and was achieved even with the negative impacts associated with significantly lower copper pricing in 2012 vs. 2011.
Further, BioteQ’s 2012 revenues do not include the sale of equipment by BioteQ to NWM at NWM’s mine site in Mexico. Total proceeds from this sale were USD $650,000. This amount is included in the “Reversal of impairment of Lluvia de Oro operations”. Had this sale been to a typical BioteQ customer other than NWM Mining, it would have been accounted for as revenue.
Reduce cash used in operations (including changes in working capital) from $2.5 million in 2011 to less than $1.5 million in 2012 (40% reduction).
Cash usage for the year was also in line with guidance provided by the company in March 2012. Total cash used in operations, after changes in working capital, for 2012 was $1.46 million compared to $2.5 million in 2011 representing a 43% improvement over 2011. BioteQ’s adjusted EBITDA improved by 49% from ($3.7) million in 2011 to ($1.9) million in 2012.
Secure an initial sale to a strategic alliance partner
In Q2 2012, BioteQ announced a contract with strategic alliance partner EcoMetales, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Codelco Limited, to conduct laboratory testing and basic engineering relating to arsenic removal for a treatment facility to be built in Chile. The work was completed during the year. The project is now in the next phase of review, which will include environmental and other regulatory approval procedures.
Close sales bookings in Latin America
BioteQ completed engineering review and start-up support services for a Kinross SART project that commenced in 2011. Upon completion of the services, Kinross renewed the ongoing technical support contract into 2013.
In 2012, BioteQ also secured a number of testing contracts with mining companies in South America. One contract was with a leading international mining company to carry out validation test work for the recovery of copper and other high-value trace metals and the removal of arsenic from smelter effluent at a site in Chile, applying the Company’s ion exchange technology. The work, which includes laboratory testing and evaluation, was completed in the first quarter of 2013, and will provide the design basis for a commercial plant.
Initial pilot undertaken in a market vertical outside of hard rock mining
BioteQ completed construction of a mobile Sulf-IXTM unit that will provide pilot scale testing for sulphate removal. The mobile pilot plant, a joint initiative with Newalta Corporation, provides on-site field testing for sulphate removal from wastewater. Subsequent to year end, the parties announced the successful commissioning of the unit at a Newalta site. BioteQ also announced it had secured the first test contract for the unit with a US based industrial (non-hard rock mining) customer.
2012 Financial Results
With the exception of Adjusted EBITDA figures, all figures are in accordance with International Reporting Standards (IFRS). Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure that is utilized by the Company to provide appropriate transparency of financial results to interested observers. Please refer to the Company’s 2012 year end Management’s Discussion and Analysis for further details.
Key 2012 financial results were:
- Total revenues for the year were $9.4 million compared to $7.4 million in 2011 which represents 27% growth over 2011. The increase in revenue over the prior year was mainly due to higher revenue from engineering services and plant sales.
- Gross margin for the year was $3.7 million, compared to $2.8 million in 2011.
- Adjusted EBITDA in 2012 was ($1.9) million compared to ($3.7) million in 2011 – a 49% improvement over 2011.
- Net loss for the year was $3.4 million, or $0.05 per share, compared to a loss of $5.1 million in 2011, or $0.07 per share – a 34% improvement.
- Cash used in operating activities, after changes in working capital, was $1.5 million compared to $2.5 million in 2011 – a 43% improvement year over year.
- Working capital at the end of 2012 was $7.4 million which included $7.5 million in cash and short-term investments.
BioteQ had three active water treatment operations contributing to revenue during the fourth quarter – plants in Arizona, Quebec, and China. BioteQ had concluded its water treatment operations at a fourth site in the Yukon in mid July. Combined, the plants treated 2.2 million cubic metres of water during the quarter, and removed over 288,000 pounds of metals from the environment, bringing total production for the 2012 year to over 10.6 million cubic metres of water treated and 2.5 million pounds of metal recovered.
The Bisbee, Arizona operation produced approximately 123,000 pounds of copper and treated 253,000 cubic metres of water during the quarter, bringing total production to 492,000 pounds of copper and 974,000 cubic metres of water treated for the year. Revenues for this operation are based on the sale of copper recovered.
The Dexing, China operation produced approximately 165,000 pounds of copper and treated 1.7 million cubic metres of water during the fourth quarter, bringing total production to 2 million pounds of copper and 8.7 million cubic metres of water treated for the year. The operation was inactive for a portion of Q4 due to routine annual plant maintenance. Revenues from this operation are based on the sale of copper recovered.
The Raglan, Quebec ChemSulphide® plant concluded its operating season in late November and treated 241,000 cubic metres of water during the fourth quarter. Year-to-date treatment volumes were 864,000 cubic metres, slightly lower than originally forecast, due to lower than expected precipitation levels over the treatment season. Revenues for this seasonal operation are based on fees for the volume of water treated.
Sales & Engineering Projects
During the year, BioteQ continued to build its business of providing technology solutions – including design, engineering, commissioning and other technical services to mining and other industrial customers.
- In Q1 2012, BioteQ delivered a mobile ion exchange water treatment plant to an international mining customer.
- BioteQ and its joint venture partner Jiangxi Copper Company announced plans to build a second ChemSulphide® copper recovery plant at the Dexing site. The plant is expected to be completed by Q3 2013 at a total cost of approximately $3 million.
- BioteQ obtained 7 paid testing contracts relating to a number of different applications. These testing contracts typically constitute the initial phase in the development of projects that could lead to the provision of full-scale treatment plants.
- Significant technology development progress was made in the areas of:
- Selective high-value metals recovery (one test contract signed); and
- Selenium removal (two test contracts signed).
2012 was the first year in which BioteQ began to implement its new corporate strategy. It was also a year in which the Company strived to show measured but meaningful financial and operational progress. However, the primary focus for the Company in 2012 was to lay the foundation that would enable continuing rapid growth over the coming 5 years.
In 2012 BioteQ achieved a record level of revenue and reduced its cash used in operations by over 40%. In addition, the Company made several operational changes that included:
- Creation of a focused and dedicated sales and marketing organization;
- Establishment of a technology innovation and business development function; and
- Enhanced and made more rigorous our engineering and project execution functions.
In 2013, BioteQ expects to continue to build on the progress made in 2012. Key financial milestones for 2013 are:
The Company expects to grow revenue in 2013, on a proportionate revenue basis, by 25% over 2012 to approximately $11.8 million. Revenue growth is expected to be generated from: the completion of plants currently under construction at the Dexing site; large scale piloting campaigns with customers in North and South America; plant sales; and engineering and technical development projects.
b) Adjusted EBITDA
BioteQ will provide guidance for 2013 and beyond in terms of Adjusted EBITDA (adjusted to exclude the effects of foreign exchange and stock based compensation charges). BioteQ believes that this non-GAAP measure will provide investors and observers with enhanced transparency and understanding of the underlying performance of the Company.
In 2012, BioteQ’s adjusted EBITDA was ($1.9) million. For 2013, the Company expects to improve its adjusted EBITDA by approximately 50% to less than ($1 million). The projected improvement in adjusted EBITDA is expected to come from additional margin generated via increased sales revenues and from continued improvements in the efficiency of our operating and engineering activities.
Jonathan Wilkinson, BioteQ’s Chief Executive Officer, stated “2012 was a year in which significant progress was made with regard to development and implementation of a new strategy that we believe will stabilize the existing business and provide a platform for rapid growth going forward. Given the numerous financial, sales and operational accomplishments made by the company over the past 12 months, I believe that we are poised for sustained growth and that we are well on our way towards creating a robust, innovative and financially sound organization.”
BioteQ Corporate Profile
BioteQ is an innovative clean technology leader in global industrial water treatment, serving the mining and energy markets. The company’s proven technologies have been applied at sites around the world to recover dissolved metals and remove sulphate, producing clean water and eliminating residual waste. BioteQ is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and trades on the TSX under the symbol BQE. Please visit our website at www.bqewater.com for additional information.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or the accuracy of this release.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
Certain information contained herein may not be based on historical fact and therefore constitutes “forward-looking information” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. This includes without limitation statements containing the words “plan”, “expect”, “project”, “estimate”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “may”, “will” and other similar words or expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual events or results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, the Company’s dependence on key personnel and contracts, uncertainty with respect to the profitability of the Company’s technologies, competition, technology risk, the Company’s ability to protect its intellectual property and proprietary information, fluctuations in commodity prices, currency risk, environmental regulation and the Company’s ability to manage growth and other factors described in the Company’s filings with the Canadian securities regulators at www.sedar.com (including without limitation the factors described in the section entitled “Risks and Uncertainties” in the Company’s Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2012 and the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2012). Given these risks and uncertainties, the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All forward-looking information contained herein is based on management’s current expectations and the Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update such forward-looking information to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.