General Market Commentary

The Bank of Canada’s Monetary Policy Report, released on January 24, 2024, states that interest rates are working to moderate spending and inflation is easing gradually, though underlying pressures are proving persistent. According to Bank projections, inflation will stay around 3% through the first half of 2024, returning to target in 2025. The rate of borrowing holds at 5%.

Meanwhile, the federal government continues to support the cleantech market in Canada. Scott Pearce, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), recently announced that its Green Municipal Fund (GMF) is revising its core funding to enhance its flexibility and adaptability in order to maximize its impact.

“In twenty years since its inception, FCM’s Green Municipal Fund has built a strong track record of supporting municipalities in transitioning to sustainable practices. Thanks to its now updated offer, the quality of life for Canadians will be further enhanced and the transformation to resilient, net-zero communities will be accelerated,” said Pearce.

The new funding streams, which are part of GMF’s $1.65 billion endowment from the Government of Canada, aim to support a wide range of low-carbon initiatives: sustainable municipal buildings; community energy systems; municipal fleet electrification; organic waste to energy; and, local net-zero transformation.

Hot Sector News

This month we’re putting the spotlight on Oakville, ON-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (TSX: AQN), parent company of Liberty, a diversified international generation, transmission, and distribution utility with approximately $18 billion of total assets.

AQN is committed to providing secure, reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable energy and water solutions through its portfolio of generation, transmission, and distribution utility investments to over one million customer connections, largely in Canada and the United States. In addition, AQN owns, operates, and/or has net interests in over 4 GW of installed renewable energy capacity.

In the company’s ESG report for 2023, Interim CEO Chris Huskilson states:

“The energy transition to a lower carbon and more sustainable future is a significant undertaking and, for the energy and water industries, represents an evolution that is expected to impact all aspects of those businesses, from the beginning of the value chain to the end customer and beyond. Algonquin remains committed to doing our part to promote the transition and balance customer, employee, and other stakeholder considerations as we advance our journey.”

Algonquin Power & Utilities Office Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

With more than 30 years of experience developing and operating renewable and clean energy facilities, Algonquin Power & Utilities was focused on sustainable power generation long before the green economy became the market focus that it is today. (Image Credits: AQN.)

The company is divided into two main divisions: the Regulated Services Group and the Renewable Energy Group.

The Regulated Services Group operates a diversified portfolio of regulated utility systems located in the United States, Canada, Bermuda and Chile serving approximately 1,254,000 customer connections as at September 30, 2023 (using an average of 2.5 customers per connection, this translates into approximately 3,135,000 customers). This group is looking into long-term growth through accretive acquisitions of additional utility systems and pursuing “greening the fleet” opportunities.

The Renewable Energy Group generates and sells electrical energy produced by its diverse portfolio of renewable power generation and clean power generation facilities primarily located across the United States and Canada. This group seeks to deliver growth through new power generation projects and complementary projects, such as energy storage.

According to the Q3 2023 data, for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, AQN reported total revenue of $2,031.2 million as compared to $2,017.1 million during the same period in 2022, an increase of $14.1 million or 0.7%.  Adjusted EBITDA is $281.3 million.

The company, which is currently undergoing a strategic transformation to optimize its presence and potential in the industry, recently welcomed David Levenson to the Board of Directors. Levenson was the global head of Brookfield Special Investments (BSI) and managing partner at Brookfield Asset Management until March 2023. He joined Brookfield in 2004 and was chief investment officer of its infrastructure business as well as head of its U.S. private equity activities before starting and leading BSI.

Levenson holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Profile photo of David Levenson

Private equity veteran David Levenson recently joined the AQN Board of Directors.
(Credit: AQN.)

“We identified David through our normal course director search process, and we believe his experience and expertise will benefit the Company,” says Kenneth Moore, chair of the Algonquin Board of Directors. “[The] appointment is aligned with our commitment to simplifying the business, enhancing value for shareholders, and positioning the company for future growth.”

A presentation to investors in January featured comments from the leadership team about proactively making changes to address market conditions, specifically:

  1. Realigning capital allocation and reducing capital expenditures.
  2. Refocusing the portfolio with approximately $1 billion of additional asset sales targeted.
  3. Resetting the dividend.

The presentation also emphasized the core renewable and electric portfolio, an experienced roster of developers and operators, resilient water and gas networks, and the company’s reputation as an ESG and sustainability leader.

Today the stock price of AQN is $8.11.

Stocks to Watch

Here is a list of Canadian cleantech stocks that we are monitoring for this column. This list of public companies is by no means complete, and we are open to suggestions from our advisors and readers.

Name Symbol Price in $CDN

(January 15/24)

Price in $CDN
(February 15/23)
% Change  
Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. AQN $8.54 $8.11 -5.04%  
Anaergia Inc. ANRG $0.24 $0.28 +16.67%  
Ballard Power Systems Inc. BLDP $4.62 $4.42 -4.33%  
*Biorem Inc. BRM $1.02 $1.51 +48.04%  
Boralex Inc. BLX $33.00 $31.03 -5.97%  
*CHAR Technologies Limited YES $0.40 $0.42 -5.00%  
Electrovaya Inc. EFL $4.95 $5.48 +10.71%  
Engine No 1 Carbon Streaming ETF NETZ $76.23 $83.08 +8.99%  
EverGen Infrastructure Corp. EVGN $2.35 $2.13 -9.36%  
Greenlane Renewables Inc. GRN $0.14 $0.12 -14.29%  
Li-Cycle Holdings Corp LICY $0.73 $0.57 -21.92%  
Loop Energy LPEN $0.18 $0.18 0%  
Northland Power Inc. NPI $24.83 $24.15 -2.74%  
*Thermal Energy International Inc. TMG $0.26 $0.28 +7.69%  
TransAlta Renewables Inc. RNW $12.48 $12.48 0%  
UGE International Ltd. UGE $0.97 $0.84 -13.40%  
Westport Fuel Systems Inc. WPRT $8.01 $7.68 -4.12%  
Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc. ZAIR $0.20 $0.34 +70.00%  

*The authors of this column own equity. It is not meant to be an endorsement, but simply a statement of this fact.

James Sbrolla is a veteran of the financial and environmental industries and Connie Vitello is editor of Environment Journal. To pitch an idea for an upcoming Market Watch column, or to suggest a stock, please contact connie@actualmedia.ca.

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