Exclusive update

Clean Energy Fuels released earnings for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2012. The company beat revenue expectations on a non-GAAP basis with $99.1 million versus $86.2 million in the same quarter last year. This translated to a non-GAAP loss of $0.23 per share. Revenue from last year's quarter included the volumetric excise tax credit, revenue that was not available in this year's quarter. There will also be revenue recognized for the first-quarter 2013 thanks to the extension of CNG and LNG tax credits, which were included as a part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act.

Gallons delivered for the quarter totaled 51.7 million gallons, up 29% from 40 million gallons delivered in the same quarter a year ago. For the full-year 2012, gallons delivered totaled 194.9 million gallons, up 25% from 155.6 million gallons for 2011.

As America's Natural Gas Highway goes, so goes Clean Energy Fuels, therefore it's important to note that the company completed 127 stations for the year. This has set the company up to continue the build out into 2013. Not only has Clean Energy Fuels established a partnership with GE for additional financing, but partnerships with Pilot Flying J, ChesapeakeWaste ManagementRepublic ServicesUPSAT&TFedExVerizon,CovantaHertzAvis, and many others have established Clean Energy Fuels as a leader in the natural gas for transportation movement.

The 2013 build will correlate with the anticipated truck deployment. New Cummins engines are being shipped with products from Freightliner, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Volvo, and Navistarto follow later in the year. Here is a breakdown of performance in the company's core markets for the quarter:

  • Refuse: There were 455 new CNG trucks delivered and 567 additional ordered.
  • Taxi/Airport/Shuttle: There are now has 37 airport stations across the country with aggressive fleet expansion throughout, including new station at Hertz LAX property.
  • Transit: Chicago has added 63 new taxis, now with over 400 natural gas vehicles in service representing 40% growth. Notable new deals signed with Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Orange County Transit.

There was a good question on the earnings call in regard to the gross margin line; it has experienced some pressure as of late. While management doesn't give guidance, it did pinpoint a couple of items that it believes will help improve margins in the coming quarters. Sales in BAF (a vehicle conversion business CLNE acquired in 2009) and IMW Industries (compressed natural gas fueling equipment that CLNE acquired in 2010) have been lackluster; however, expansion into new markets and anticipated improvements in sales should help bring margins slowly back up.

As I've said before, the more quarters that pass and the further along the build-out goes, the better the chances of success for this company. With a plan in motion, strategic partnerships in place, and financing in order, things continue to look good for Clean Energy Fuels.

At the time of publication, Jason Moser didn't own shares of the companies mentioned. At the time of publication The Motley Fool owned shares of Waste Management, Ford Motors, and Westport Innovations. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors Company, Waste Management, Ford Motor, Republic Services, Clean Energy Fuels, Cummins, and Westport Innovations. Motley Fool newsletters have recommended writing a covered strangle position in Waste Management and creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motors.