Product sales boost Ormat net

Profits rose smartly at Reno-based Ormat Technologies during the first quarter, partly because its competitors are also busy.

Along with development of its own geothermal generation facilities, Ormat sells equipment to other developers of power plants. That business is growing.

Ormat said it sold $37.2 million worth of equipment during the first quarter, an increase of 277 percent from a year earlier.

And the margin on the product sales stood at 34.4 percent, nearly double the 18.4 percent of a year ago, said Joseph Tenne, Ormat's chief financial officer.

Margins improved, the company said, as higher production volumes improved efficiency and prices remained stable for steel and other commodities used to make the equipment.

Rising sales and profits in the equipment sector helped boost Ormat's quarterly earnings to $14.5 million. In last year's first quarter, the company earned $10 million.

Ormat expects the strong product sales to continue. Chief Operating Officer Yoram Bronicki said the company had a backlog of $153 million in orders on March 31, which included a new $65 million contract for a project in Costa Rica.

The company also continues to add to its portfolio of power plants that are driven either by geothermal energy or recaptured heat from industrial processes. It expects to add 34 megawatts of generating capacity this year, and another 50 megawatts next year.

The only hangup, said Chief Executive Officer Dita Bronicki, is winning regulatory approval for exploration programs a process that can take as long as a year.


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