Some companies take longer than others to get over a collapse. We last wrote about the AIM-listed HydroDec Group almost a year ago on September16, 2016. At that point shareholders were anxious about an ailing share price, amid scant reports of a ‘perfect storm’ of problems that had led to concerns about the financial health and operational fortitude of the company.
HydroDec has been involved in a number of renewable energy projects but its core business has become a clean- tech oil re-refining group with operations in the US and Australia. It applies proprietary technology to re-refine used and contaminated waste oil to produce, market and distribute its flagship SUPERFINE transformer oil and napthenic base oil.
The perfect storm culminated in the 2015 financial year after a number of protracted problems. Revenues from the Canton facility in the US (its major facility) were in the doldrums for a long time a following a ‘serious incident’ and fire as long ago as December 2013. There was also lost production at Hydrodec’s other (Australian) plant at Bomen in New South Wales, and the much lower oil price impacted adversely on the UK recycling business; which was subsequently sold.
The interim results revenues for the six months to June 30, 2016 released just before we wrote in September 2016 said revenue from the core re-refining business increased by 148 per cent to US$8.1m (H1 2015: 3.3m). Overall losses for the period (including discontinued operations) were down from US$8.4m in H1 2015 to US$3.4m for the comparable period. The expectation, the company said, was it would move to a positive EBITDA in H2 2016.
The next significant announcement was in May this year with the release of audited results for the year ending 2016. This was reasonably up-beat. With cost cutting, by new CEO Chris Ellis, the strategy was to focus during 2016 on the core transformer business and associated technology. There was a rigorous emphasis on making effective cost savings and delivering the ramp-up of production and sales in the US.
This meant that revenues arising from the continuing core re-refining business increased by over 100 per cent to US$16.8m (2015: US$8.2m) reflecting the full recommissioning of the Canton plant and ongoing refinements to operating procedures and technological efficiency. The overall loss for the year, including losses associated with the discontinued business reduced to US$7.8 m (2015: £31.1m).
So, the recovery is continuing in one sense (revenue), albeit slowly; but not in another (losses). In any event, shareholders and new investors do not seem to be in a rush to pile into HydroDec just now. Shares in the £12.6m market company are off the floor, but barely. Last evening they were 1.70 pence against a 52-week low of 1.53p.