Ormat's Billion-dollar Shelf Registration Is Good Sign, Says Harel

Geothermal power company may be preparing to buy assets from Calpine, if and when it sells

The fact that Ormat Industries' (TASE: ORMT) subsidiary Ormat Technologies (NYSE: ORA) has filed a shelf registration to raise up to a cool billion dollars is an encouraging sign, in the view of Harel equity analyst Amir Avivi.

It signals that Ormat is preparing to buy assets, if any are sold, from the bankrupt Californian green-energy giant Calpine, he estimates.

Ormat builds and runs relatively environmentally friendly power stations, mainly fueled by geothermal forces, hear recovery, and the like. The company's shelf registration says it may, from time to time, sell shares, convertible bonds, straight bonds and/or options, to finance its investment plans and to buy additional companies or geothermal power production stations.

The shelf filing enables Ormat to raise up to a billion dollars, through three years, at the drop of a hat, Avivi points out. Specifically, it expedites the process to mere weeks from intention to counting the cash.

The impetus may well have arrived from Calpine, which is now sheltering under Chapter 11 but which is widely expected to be forced to sell assets, possibly including geothermally powered electricity production stations.

Another use Ormat could have for fresh money is new tenders in Nevada,  for the supply of 45 to 90 megawatts. If it wins the tenders, Ormat would have to invest between $120 million to $240 million in building new power stations.

Shares in Ormat are rising 3.6% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, as of writing, on hefty to of more than NIS 20 million. Over the last year, Ormat stock has returned 120%.

Ormat Industries stock in Tel Aviv from Jan 1, 2005