Friday, August 10, 2012

Argan ( NYSE - AGX ) -- Monster Project Moves Forward

Argan (AGX $16.00) appears on track to produce excellent on target Q2 (July) results.  Progress on existing contracts is being achieved without meaningful setbacks.  The company employs percentage of completion accounting.  Near term results should parallel the amount of work performed.  The deals typically pay performance bonuses if Argan finishes on time and under budget.  Upside revisions could develop in upcoming periods.  Our estimates are unchanged.

The Moxie project is advancing on schedule.  Argan has a contract to build two 800 megawatt natural gas powered electricity generators on the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.  That's a prolific fracking region.  Each plant could yield $350-$400 million in sales.  The facilities are sited next to pipelines that are supplied by low cost fracked natural gas.  So input costs are likely to be among the lowest in North America.  The plan is to sell the electricity into the Northeast grid.

Poor economic growth is curtailing demand for clean energy.  The natural gas plant Argan is constructing in California, plus the two slated for Pennsylvania, are anomalies in the current environment.  The California project is benefiting from political support.  The Marcellus Shale units will replace coal fired units that are being decommissioned.  Coal replacement is likely to keep fueling demand for natural gas and other green energy systems, particularly if the Obama Administration remains in power after the upcoming elections.  Even a modest hike in GDP growth could amplify performance down the road.  Argan has proven experience with natural gas, wind, solar, and biofuel generation systems.  The company easily could become a billion dollar company with the help of a modest economic tailwind.

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