It was a pretty bland year for cleantechs in Canada. The S&P/TSX Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Index ended pretty much where it began, and as of Friday, December 12th, the index contained just a single stock that had posted a triple digit gain, and that was just barely.
A quarter of the way through the year, the story was at least a little different. The global fuel cell stock rally may have been initiated by U.S.-based Plug Power, but the movement had a decidedly Canadian bent, with Vancouver’s Ballard Power and Mississagua’s Hydrogenics soaring on a bullish feeling about hydrogen, which had been essentially dormant since the 1990’s. Both stocks trickled off as the feeling dissipated.
With two weeks left in 2014, this year’s cleantech winners are a smattering of companies engaged in different businesses at various stages of the life cycle. There is no clear fad or trend powering their modest gains.
We count down the ten best performing stocks listed in the TSX Cleantech Index.
1. Catalyst Paper (TSX:CYT)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $1.35
Price on December 12th, 2014: $2.70
Percentage Gain: +100%
Richmond, B.C.-based Catalyst Paper posted gains early in 2014 and held on. The company, whose roots go back a century, lost $3.2-million on revenue of $272-million in its recently reported third quarter. Catalyst says that while it expects the specialty printing paper markets will remain challenging for the remainder of the year, declines in demand will be somewhat offset by recent capacity reduction in the market.
2. Carmanah Technologies (TSX:CMH)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $1.50
Price on December 12th, 2014: $2.73
Percentage Gain: +82%
Carmanah’s up and down history was punctuated by a 2014 that was decidedly up. In mid-November the company reported third quarter results that saw a jump in revenue to $12.2 million from just $4.9-million in the same period last year. “Our positive momentum continued in the third quarter with revenues up 149% compared to 2013’s third quarter,” said CEO John Simmons. “While some of the gain was attributed to the inclusion of revenues from our acquisition of Sol, Inc., our traditional Carmanah revenues were up 105% on a comparative basis. Naturally, we are delighted with the results.”
3. Clearwater Seafoods (TSX:CLR)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $8.22
Price on December 12th, 2014: $11.38
Percentage Gain: +38.4%
Shares of Nova Scotia-based Clearwater Seafoods began rising in the second half of the year, after the company posted record second-quarter sales of $113.4 million, up from $95.4 million in the same period a year prior. “We posted strong sales results across our portfolio of sustainably harvested, wild caught seafood and are maintaining our annual financial targets,” said CEO Ian Smith. “Also, we have continued to invest and advance several major capital projects that are key to sustaining our long-term growth, profitability and competitive advantage.”
4. DIRTT Environmental Solutions (TSX:DRT)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $2.55
Price on December 12th, 2014: $3.46
Percentage Gain: +35.7%
DIRTT, a newer addition to the TSX Cleantech Index, is a disruptor in a market that has grown stale, says Paradigm Capital analyst Spencer Churchill, who launched coverage of the Calgary-based company in May. Founded in 2004, DIRTT, an acronym for ”Doing It Right This Time”, employs a 3D software platform to design and produce custom prefab interiors. The company compares its product to Lego in that its components connect using a repeated interface, but produce a unique result. DIRTT IPO’d in November of last year after raising $45-million through a syndicate of underwriters that was led by Raymond James and included Canaccord Genuity, National Bank Financial, TD and Cormark.
5. Ballard Power (TSX:BLD)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $1.61
Price on December 12th, 2014: $2.15
Percentage Gain: +33.5%
While casual observers still associate Ballard with the automobile market, recent results show that more of its revenue comes from telecom backup power. The company’s fuel cell systems have performed especially well in places like Indonesia and in the Bahamas, where they helped maintain consistent power during when Hurricane Sandy hit the area in October of 2012. Management sees this division as part of a three-pronged “path to profitability” that includes product sales, engineering services and IP licensing.
6. U.S. Geothermal (TSX:GTH)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $0.40
Price on December 12th, 2014: $0.53
Percentage Gain: 32.5%
U.S. Geothermal continues to show progress at it geothermal power projects in Oregon, Nevada California and Idaho and is moving forward at El Ceibillo, an advanced stage, geothermal prospect located near Guatemala City. Shares of U.S. Geothermal leapt to more than a dollar in March, but could not hang on to that lofty gain.
7. Algonquin Power & Utilities (TSX:AQN)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $7.34
Price on December 12th, 2014: $9.34
Percentage Gain: 27.2%
Oakville-based Algonquin Power was formed as an income fund in September, 1997. The fund was formed to buy hydro facilities in Ontario, Québec, New Hampshire and New York. After the Canadian government decided to change the favourable tax laws for income trusts in 2009, the entity became a corporation. Algonquin now owns a direct or indirect equity interest in dozens of clean energy assets including hydroelectric, wind, thermal, and solar power facilities. In August, several analysts raised their target on Algonquin after a better than expected second quarter.
8. Primary Energy Recycling (TSX:PRI)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $4.91
Price on December 12th, 2014: $6.19
Percentage Gain: +26.1%
Primary Energy Recycling has four wholly projects that turn waste into energy, and a 50% interest in a fourth. On December 11th, the company announced that a consortium led by Fortistar LLC will indirectly acquire all its outstanding common shares for (U.S.)$5.40 per common share. The company said it will delist from the TSX.
9. Boralex (TSX:BLX)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $10.82
Price on December 12th, 2014: $13.37
Percentage Gain: +23.6%
Boralex, which is headquartered in a small Quebec town called Kingsey Falls, was founded in 1982. The company, which was once a subsidiary of packaging and tissue products giant Cascades, built one of the first power stations in Québec to supply electricity to the Hydro-Québec grid. Today, the company owns and operates cogeneration and hydroelectric power plants. Shares of Boralex jumped early in the year after the company announced it would begin paying a dividend in March.
10. SunOpta (TSX:SOY)
Price on December 31st, 2013: $10.62
Price on December 12th, 2014: $12.89
Percentage Gain: +21.4%
SunOpta, as its ticker symbol suggests, is a company that specializes in organic and specialty food items. On November 11th, the company announced third quarter results that saw its revenue grow 10.1% to $318.5-million. “Our results reflect strong demand for healthy foods products combined with our continued investment in our core business as we position SunOpta for long-term growth,” said CEO Steve Bromley.