REG Earnings Demonstrate Leadership in Biofuels

The nation's leading biodiesel producer had an amazing second quarter and continued its ascension as one of the best biofuel stocks on the market. Renewable Energy Group (NASDAQ: REGI  ) grew by double digits in almost every important category; including revenue and production volume. The stock has risen almost 150% this year, so should investors be wary of jumping in now? The answer may just lie in the earnings announced this week.

Financially speaking...
REG had a remarkable quarter compared to the same period of 2012. Of course, investors should expect nothing less considering all of the operational improvements and acquisitions made in the past year. The company completed upgrades at its Albert Lea biorefinery, started production at the recently acquired and renovated New Boston facility, closed the acquisition of a 30 million gallons per year multi-feedstock plant from Soy Energy, began construction of new barge offloading capabilities at its 60 million gallons per year Seneca biorefinery, and boosted storage capacity at the same location by 1.5 million gallons. Phew!

So how did the numbers stack up?

 

2Q13

2Q12

% Growth

Gallons Produced

56.5 million

43.1 million

31%

Gallons Sold

69.2 million

54.3 million

28%

Average Selling Price (per gallon)

$4.70

$4.58

3%

Revenue

$387 million

$271 million

42%

Adjusted EBITDA

$41.9 million

$26.4 million

59%

Adjusted EBITDA Without BTC

$41.5 million

$43.1 million

(4%)

Diluted EPS

$0.62

$0.39

 

Source: REG 2Q13 presentation

You'll notice one negative number in the chart above, which is adjusted EBITDA without the blenders tax credit, or BTC. If you have been following the company or the industry then you are aware that the BTC for 2012 was retroactively instated in early 2013. GAAP requires the credit to be realized in the quarter the law was passed (the first quarter) -- REG just provided adjusted totals in its release. Either way, I wouldn't be overly concerned with the change since growing production will help offset falling BTC revenue in the years ahead.  

Another bright spot for the quarter was cash flow. REG ended June with $95.5 million in cash -- almost double the $49 million at the end of March. The boost can be chalked up to more efficient operations and distribution over the last three months; improvements which are still working their way through the system.

The bearish take
No investment is perfect, so let's evaluate some negatives surrounding the second-quarter earnings and outlook. The first thing to note is that there is always uncertainty when it comes to the current Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS2. While biodiesel subsidies are much, much further from the guillotine than those for corn ethanol, production mandates always seem to be handed down just before the clock strikes midnight. Investors can also expect the BTC to once again get caught in the crosshairs of this year's budget battle.

A few other things should concern investors about REG. First, take a look at the growth in inventory and accounts receivable:

 

2Q13

2Q12

% Growth

Inventory

$76.83 million

$58.63 million

31%

Accounts Receivable

$77.14 million

$29.85 million

158%

Source: REG 2Q13 press release and SEC filings  

Some of that is expected for a company with growing revenue and production, but I would keep an eye on the numbers. Just remember that it will be difficult to compare numbers in subsequent quarters given the seasonality of the biodiesel industry. The company's outlook may also be in trouble. Guidance for the second half of the year calls for between 110 million and 135 million gallons sold and $59 million-$84 million in adjusted EBITDA. That may be a big range, but it is also contingent on RINs holding their currently lofty value.

Source: REG 2Q13 presentation

Biodiesel RINs are in high demand right now since they can be used to fill first-generation blending requirements. With corn ethanol RINs at such high levels and refiners wary of the 10% blend wall (90% gasoline/10% ethanol mixtures), biodiesel RINs could very well stay at current highs or even trek higher. The sustainability of the trend would be a concern for me, though.

Foolish bottom line
Even with legitimate concerns I think future growth opportunities remain intact for REG. Once the company completes construction at new state-of-the-art facilities its annual nameplate production capacity will jump from 257 million gallons per year to 395 million gallons per year -- a 52% increase! REG is also trading roughly on par with its shareholders' equity. Looking at the undeniable growth ahead suggests that investors have room to profit even at near today's prices.

Not convinced of the sustainability of biofuels subsidies? If you're on the lookout for some currently intriguing energy plays, check out The Motley Fool's "3 Stocks for $100 Oil". For FREE access to this special report, simply click here now.


Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2570779, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 12/20/2014 1:55:22 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement