On January 28, 2002, The Northside Group Inc. changed its name to Wittke Inc. to align the corporate name with the company’s brand name. Wittke is a producer of front-load, side-load and automated side-load waste truck bodies and street sweepers. The company, which is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, operates through facilities in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Kelowna, B.C., and Saint-Jerome, Quebec, and employs 970 people. In addition to other customers, Wittke has a three-year semi-exclusive agreement with Waste Management Inc. of Houston, Texas that commenced in March 2001.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2002, ended December 31, Wittke’s revenues grew 79 per cent to $35.7-million. Net income was $1.6-million or $0.21 per fully diluted share versus a loss of $323,000. Growth was primarily driven by increased sales of truck bodies. The company’s truck unit sales grew to 264 units compared to 96 units the prior year.
In late March 2002, the company sold its Class 8 fuel manufacturing plant in Wytheville, Virginia to Fuel Systems LLC of Grand Rapids, Michigan in order to further focus on its dynamic truck mounted equipment business.
Hot Sector News
Allied Waste Industries Inc. of Scottsdale, Arizona announced that its 2001 revenues were US$5.5-billion, while it lost $14.5-million.
Waste Management Inc. of Houston, Texas recently announced that it plans to reorganize itself into a new management structure that will base its 1,200 sites around 85 market areas, eliminate one layer of management and approximately 2,000 jobs from its staff of 55,000. This move is expected to simplify its structure, provide clearer accountability, and reduce duplication. The company also recently noted that its Recycle America subsidiary has agreed to supply recycled PET flake to Southeastern Container Inc., to be used in soft drink containers.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a complaint alleging a number of charges against six former WMI officers for activities occurring in 1992 and continuing through 1997.
The U.S. SEC alleges that Former Chair and CEO Dean Buntrock was the driving force behind the fraud. The lawsuit was filed on March 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. Also named in the lawsuit are: former CEO, President and COO Phillip Rooney, former CFO James Koenig, former CAO Thomas Hau, former General Counsel Herbert Getz, and former Vice President of Finance Bruce Tobecksen.
In 1998, WMI acknowledged that the company misstated pre-tax earnings by $1.7-billion. These profit problems caused the company’s stock price to fall sharply, costing shareholders $6-billion in market value, according to the SEC.
The stock price of WMI seems unaffected by the lawsuit. On March 25 (the day before the SEC filed the lawsuit) shares closed at $26.90 and on March 28, shares closed at $27.25.
Waste Connections Inc. of Folsom, California reported fourth quarter revenues of US$100.7-million versus US$82.8-million, and a net income of US$9.1-million versus US$8.5-million. The company recently completed seven acquisitions that are expected to add US$32-million in revenues.
PPL Corp. of Allentown, Pennsylvania recently announced the opening of its new methane to electricity plant in Bradford. The plant will convert 600,000 cubic feet of landfill gas previously flared off to 800 kilowatts of electricity.
These articles are based on public sources deemed to be accurate. These articles are designed for information purposes and are not intended as a recommendation of the companies discussed. Individuals looking to invest in this sector should consult an investment advisor before proceeding.
Colin Cieszynski is an investment advisor at Canaccord Capital. Contact Colin at 416-867-4543; fax 416-879-7706; or email Colin_Cieszynski@canaccord.com.