BUSINESS

Boralex wind farm on track despite Quebec construction strike in June

08/07/2013 02:23 EDT | Updated 10/07/2013 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - Renewable energy producer Boralex Inc. says construction of its large Quebec wind farm remains on schedule despite a one-week shutdown caused by a general strike in the province's construction industry in June.

The first 272 megawatts of power at the Seigneurie de Beaupre site will be commissioned in December, followed by an additional 68 MW in Phase 2 a year later.

"The corporation continues to develop several projects in Canada and France, which will significantly influence its asset profile in the next few years," stated president and CEO Patrick Lemaire.

Boralex (TSX:BLX) lost $1 million in its latest quarter, an improvement on a year-earlier loss of $6.2 million, as the power producer was helped by an acquisition in France and better weather conditions.

The renewable power producer said Wednesday that its loss amounted to two cents per share for the second quarter ended June 30, compared with a loss of 16 cents per share a year ago. Adjusting for one-time items, it lost four cents per share from continuing operations.

Revenue totalled $40.6 million, up from $39.1 million.

The company was expected to lose 12 cents per share on $36 million of revenues.

It said the improvement was due to the addition of the St-Patrick wind farm in France, acquired in June 2012, as well as from better wind conditions in Canada and improved water flows in the U.S.

The gains were offset in part by the shutdown of the Kingsey Falls thermal power station in Quebec.

Energy production increased 9.4 per cent, while EBITDA grew 23 per cent to $23.2 million.

Jeremy Rosenfield of Desjardins Capital Markets said Boralex's growth projects remain on track and it has enough cash to provide significant flexibility to pursue additional growth.

"We continue to see Boralex as an attractively priced, pure growth story driven by near-term construction projects in Canada and France," he wrote in a report.

The company is expected to add 334 MW of projects by the end of 2015 which analysts say should double its adjusted EBITDA by 2016 to $200 million.

Rupert Merer of National Bank Financial said Boralex's strong cash flows from operations of $17.8 million support an eventual dividend.

"A dividend would still be more than a year out, but Boralex is showing itself to be a good developer with plenty of growth potential," he wrote. "Solid progress on these development projects, particularly the Seigneurie de Beaupre project, should drive shareholder value."

Boralex has renewable power projects in Canada, the United States and France.

Its shares gained seven cents at $10.99 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.