Thursday, September 13, 2007

Black Ink: Forbes on the Coal Business

Getting Burned
Andrew T. Gillies

As the table below indicates, Wall Street has cooled on the coal business lately. Particularly hard hit, in share price terms at least, have been two concerns, Headwaters and Rentech, specializing in turning coal into liquid fuel.

At a Wednesday hearing on Capitol Hill, those two companies pleaded for Washington to nurture the fledgling coal-to-liquid industry.

“Oil price volatility continues to discourage potential [coal-to-liquid] investors,” Robert Freerks, Rentech’s (amex: RTK - news - people ) director of product development, told the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. “Congress should enact policy to help reduce risk and encourage investment in these plants.”

“Until we get the first few plants built, there’s tremendous resistance from the private capital market,” agreed John Ward, Headwaters' (nyse: HW - news - people ) vice president for marketing and government affairs (note: half of Headwaters’ sales come from residential construction materials).... MORE>
includes table on the lucky 13 companies