BioteQ Reports 2014 Annual Financial and Operating Results
March 26, 2015
VANCOUVER, BC – BioteQ Environmental Technologies, Inc. (TSX : BQE), a leader in the treatment of mine impacted waters, releases its financial and operating results for the year ended December 31, 2014. Further information on the annual results can be obtained from the Company's 2014 Annual Report which includes the Audited Consolidated Annual Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”).
BioteQ will hold a conference call on March 30 at 11:00 AM EDT to discuss results for the quarter. Participants can dial in as follows:
North America: toll free at 1-800-505-9568
United Kingdom: toll free at 08002790444
Switzerland: toll free at 0800200345
Participant pass code: 8686176
As noted at the beginning of 2013, due to changes in Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (“GAAP”), the results of the Company’s joint ventures are accounted for as equity investments in BioteQ’s financial statements. In prior years before 2013, the results of the Company’s joint ventures were accounted for through proportionate consolidation.
To ensure clarity and comparability with historic results, certain statements in this news release and in the MD&A are characterized as BioteQ’s “proportional" share, which means the effective portion of results that BioteQ would have reported if each of its joint ventures had been reported in accordance with past accounting standards. For further details, please see “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in the Company’s 2014 MD&A.
2014 Financial Results
The Company has reported improved financial results for the year. Highlights of results include:
Revenues as reported under GAAP were $3.6 million compared to $4.1 million in 2013, a decline of 12% year over year;
Proportional revenues for the year were $7.8 million compared to $7.6 million in 2013, an increase of 3% year over year;
Net loss as reported under GAAP was $1.7 million compared to $6.4 million in 2013;
Adjusted loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (“adjusted EBITDA”) for the year was $929,000 compared to a loss, excluding impairment of Bisbee and Dexing IX investments, of $2.3 million in 2013; and
Cash and cash equivalents and short term investments, including our share held in joint ventures, was $2.2 million compared to $3.2 million at the end of 2013.
In January 2014, BioteQ closed a financing under a Share Rights Offering to raise gross proceeds of $1.2 million. Net proceeds, after transaction costs, were approximately $1 million;
In February 2014, BioteQ announced changes to its executive management team and roles on its Board of Directors. David Kratochvil, previously BioteQ’s President and Chief Technology Officer, rejoined the Company in the capacity of President and Interim Chief Executive Officer. In December 2014, he became the Company’s permanent Chief Executive Officer;
During 2014, NWM Mining made total payments of $700,000 towards the legal settlement reached with BioteQ back in April 2012. All payments under that settlement have now been received; and
In October 2014, a settlement was reached in BioteQ’s litigation with Aditya Birla Minerals (“Birla”). Under the terms of the settlement, BioteQ paid approximately $73,000 (AUD $75,000) to Birla. Birla took ownership of all demobilization obligations and residual plant equipment currently at their Mt. Gordon mine site. Both parties also agreed to release and withdraw their claims against each other. The settlement agreement involves no admission of liability or violation of law by either party, and bars the parties from pursuing further associated claims in the future.
Water Treatment Operations
BioteQ successfully completed its 11th operating season at the Raglan mine site. During the year, BioteQ treated and discharged a total of 1.1 million cubic metres of water compared to 838,000 cubic metres in 2013. The 2014 season was the second highest volume of water we have treated at the site since we began operations in 2004;
BioteQ’s joint venture in China with partner, Jiangxi Copper Company (“JCC”), operated three plants during the year. In addition to its existing water treatment plant at the Dexing mine site, the joint venture completed construction and commissioning of two new copper recovery plants during the year: one at the Yinshan mine site and a second treatment plant at the Dexing mine site. Both mine sites are owned by JCC. The joint venture treated a combined total of 11.4 million cubic metres of water and recovered 2.6 million pounds of copper during the year.
The existing water treatment operation at the Dexing mine site treated 8.1 million cubic metres of water and recovered a total of 2.1 million pounds of copper compared to 2013 when the plant treated 8.9 million cubic metres of water and recovered 1.8 million pounds of copper;
The new plant at JCC’s Yinshan mine site began operations in early June and treated 1.2 million cubic metres of wastewater and recovered 240,000 pounds of copper; and
A second copper recovery plant at JCC’s Dexing mine site began operations in August. The plant treated 2.1 million cubic metres of wastewater and recovered 270,000 pounds of copper.
Sales and New Technology Development
Since the personnel changes announced at the beginning of 2014, management has been actively engaging existing and potential new customers to advance joint business opportunities and have been working with several new channel partners to broaden BioteQ’s outreach and capacity to execute projects.
The following is an update on key projects that commenced in 2014 and are currently in progress:
Selenium Removal - Selen-IXTM
In Q2 2014, BioteQ secured a contract with a Canadian gold exploration company, to conduct pilot scale testing of its Selen-IX™ technology for selenium removal utilizing its mobile Selen-IXTM pilot plant that was built in 2013. The pilot testing is being used to demonstrate the capacity of the Selen-IX™ process to meet stringent discharge limits for selenium and provide engineering design data required for evaluating the overall capital and operating costs of a full scale plant that would treat up to 43,000 m3/day of wastewater. The current value of the contract is now approximately $1.4 million. Piloting is expected to be completed in Q1 2015 and final results will be reviewed with the customer during the second quarter 2015.
EcoMetales Limited – BioSulphide® Plant Design
In Q2 2014, BioteQ secured a technical services contract with its Chilean strategic partner EcoMetales Limited (“ECL”) for the detailed process engineering of a smelter effluent treatment plant using its BioSulphide® process. The plant removes arsenic from wastewater originating from a smelter operation in Chile. The objective of the project is to reduce the mass and volume of hazardous waste generated, as well as to improve water re-use from the existing process. BioteQ’s work on the project is expected to be completed by Q2 2015. Upon completion of the current contract, the client will internally assess the feasibility of the proposed plant.
In mid-2014, BioteQ provided financial estimates for its full year results. The following is commentary on final year end results against these estimates and outlook for 2015.
BioteQ anticipated its Proportional Revenues to be in the range of $6.8 million to $7.3 million for the year. Actual results exceeded estimates at $7.8 million. The increase was driven by high water volumes treated at the Raglan operation and an increase in the scope of work for the current Selen-IXTM pilot project in late Q4.
In terms of its Adjusted EBITDA estimate, BioteQ expected a significant improvement in its loss compared to 2013. BioteQ estimated its Adjusted EBITDA loss to be in the range $1 million to $1.5 million. BioteQ ended 2014 with an Adjusted EBITDA loss of $929,000. This is a significant improvement from the prior year’s loss, excluding impairment of Bisbee and Dexing IX investments, of $2.3 million and reflects the impact of cost control measures implemented throughout the year.
In terms of BioteQ’s outlook for the upcoming year, the mining sector as a whole continues to be challenging. Metal prices continue to be depressed, several mining companies have announced significant reductions in capital expenditures for the year, and external financial resources for new or developing mines are limited. However, BioteQ believes that its progress in new technology development and the commercial structure BioteQ is proposing to prospective customers is generating increasing interest and awareness in BioteQ beyond its historical sales channels. BioteQ has established relationships with decision makers on water treatment projects that include external consultants, engineering firms and industry associations. BioteQ has also engaged with potential strategic partners that could help accelerate its technology development and can support expanded sales efforts. BioteQ feels that its ongoing efforts will put it in a position to capitalize on opportunities as the mining industry begins reinvesting in water treatment projects.
For 2015, based on current copper prices, foreign exchange rates and project pipeline, BioteQ anticipates its Proportional Revenues to be in the range of $8.0 million to $8.5 million. Its Adjusted EBITDA loss is expected to be in the rage of $400,000 to $700,000.
In 2014, BioteQ made significant progress towards long-term profitability by reducing costs, increasing the amount of copper recovered from our Chinese operations, and rebuilding its sales pipeline.
Over the past year, BioteQ has made significant reductions to the Company’s expenses. The majority of savings was achieved through the reduction in staffing levels which, in management’s opinion, is currently down to the minimum level required for ongoing successful and safe operations while providing for some limited revenue growth in the short-term. The next largest overhead expense category for the company are direct costs associated with remaining a publically listed company. BioteQ anticipates these costs to be approximately $500,000 for 2015. While management is actively reviewing measures to reduce these costs further, any impact will be limited.
In 2015 and beyond, BioteQ will also benefit from a full year of operations at its two new water treatment plants in China. These new plants, along with its existing operations, are expected to provide additional cashflows on a recurring basis. While cashflows from these recurring operations are expected to increase over prior years, they will not be sufficient to solely cover all of the Company’s expenditures. BioteQ will need to continue generating revenues from new projects and contracts to ensure sufficient cash flows to sustain the Company.
The ability to reach profitability in 2015 will depend on the increase in revenue from one time services such as pilot and lab testing, engineering, and/or recurring revenue from new contracts for plant operations or operations support for existing treatment plants outside of the BioteQ’s current portfolio of plants. Since capital spending has been seriously curtailed across the mining industry, it is unlikely that the company will reach profitability in the short-term through projects that involve the construction of new treatment plants. In 2014, BioteQ demonstrated that these revenue sources could be significant but they are also very difficult to predict in terms of timing which gives rise to large fluctuations in the company’s working capital resources. It is for this reason that the company may need to access non-operational sources of capital that would help provide a buffer in working capital.
BioteQ is a service provider that specializes in treating mining wastewater and specific hydrometallurgical streams with the focus on reducing Life Cycle Costs while achieving compliance and introducing sustainability into water management. We have extensive expertise and operations experience in sulphide precipitation, ion exchange, alkali/lime neutralization and SART process technologies. Over the past decade, BioteQ has designed and commissioned plants at mine sites for leading organizations including Glencore Canada, Freeport McMoran, Jiangxi Copper and the US EPA and is currently operating six plants under long-term contracts. These plants remove dissolved metals and sulphate to well below the required regulatory discharge limits while reducing or eliminating the production of waste sludge and/or recovering valuable metals from waste streams for sale which reduces the life cycle cost of water treatment. BioteQ is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and trades on the TSX under the symbol BQE. Please visit our website at www.bioteq.ca for additional information.