Live Conference Call and Webcast Scheduled at 11 a.m. EST Friday, March 1 at: http://ir.ltbridge.com/eventdetail.cfm?EventID=124882
MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lightbridge Corporation (Nasdaq:LTBR), a leading innovator of next generation nuclear fuel designs and provider of nuclear energy consulting services to commercial and governmental organizations, today provided a business update on the progress of its nuclear fuel technology and consulting operations and reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2012.
"Lightbridge advanced strategically and tactically on every business front in 2012," said Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The stage is set for continued achievement in 2013 because of the compelling value of our patented fuel technology and proven expertise of our consulting services. Lightbridge is well positioned as global recognition grows of nuclear energy as a source of long-term, efficient, base-load and carbon-free electric power."
Lightbridge is developing and commercializing next generation nuclear fuel technology with benefits of increasing power output of existing and new reactors, reducing nuclear waste, improving safety and enhancing proliferation resistance of spent fuel. Lightbridge's comprehensive advisory services are helping existing clients with on-time and on-budget development and regulation of nuclear power plants to expand electricity generation capabilities.
2012 Business Update
"We made measureable progress and achieved strategic milestones in 2012 toward commercialization of our fuel technology," Grae said.
In late 2012, an independent analysis of the Company's fuel design validated the technology's benefits of increased power output and enhanced operating economics for nuclear utilities. "The study by Siemens Industry, Inc. shows that Lightbridge's metallic fuel can deliver significantly improved economics to nuclear utilities from increased power output and extended fuel cycles, resulting in highly attractive returns on invested capital, even with conservative assumptions on reactor conversion and regulatory licensing costs, and fuel technology licensing fees paid to Lightbridge," Grae said. "The economics for a 10% power uprate case are quite favorable across both regulated and unregulated utility markets and provide the cheapest source of
incremental generating capacity compared to building a new nuclear or non-nuclear power plant."
A peer-reviewed article on Lightbridge metallic fuel technology was published in the December 2012 edition of the American Nuclear Society journal Nuclear Technology. An abstract of the article is available at http://www.new.ans.org/pubs/journals/nt/v_180:3. "The article's publication provides further validation of Lightbridge fuel technology at an important stage in Company negotiations on fuel fabrication for the planned irradiation testing at research reactors in Russia and the U.S.," Grae said.
Negotiations began in 2012 with fuel fabrication partners relating to Lightbridge metal fuel fabrication process development and demonstration work in the United States. These negotiations are expected to conclude in 2013. "Having our fuel fabricated in the U.S. would streamline production for a major segment of the fuel's addressable market," Grae said.
Lightbridge secured preliminary approval from Rosatom relating to fabrication of Lightbridge-designed metallic fuel samples for irradiation testing in the MIR research reactor in Dimitrovgrad, Russia, and the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at Idaho National Laboratory in the United States. As part of this process, the Russian fuel fabricator TVEL designated MSZ Electrostal as the facility for fabricating Lightbridge-designed fuel samples. "We are currently in commercial discussions with TVEL and MSZ Electrostal relating to fabrication of these fuel samples," Grae said. "We expect these discussions to be completed in the coming months."
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) notified Lightbridge that Rosatom provided non-proliferation assurances to DOE that become effective upon entry into an agreement between Lightbridge and Rosatom entities. "We believe that this is the last key step of the Part 810 export authorization review process prior to approval by DOE," Grae said.
At the ATR at Idaho National Laboratory, experiment planning and irradiation test design continues for the Company's metallic fuel samples. The team agreed to a single fuel rod design that is compatible with both capsule and loop irradiation rig designs in order to accommodate uncertainty in reactor availability between now and when the fuel samples are delivered to that laboratory.
- Lightbridge also strengthened its extensive intellectual property portfolio in 2012 with patent grants or extensions on the Company's fuel technology in Eurasia, Ukraine and the U.S. "In addition, national and international patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty were submitted for Lightbridge fuel technologies that, once granted, would extend patent protection for these fuel designs to 2028-2030," he said.
Lightbridge also reiterated key research and development milestones for its fuel technology.
Demonstrate the full-scale fabrication process for Lightbridge metallic fuel rods in 2013-2014.
Perform in-reactor and out-of-reactor experiments in 2013-2016.
Develop analytical models in 2013-2016 for the Company's metallic fuel technology that can be used for regulatory licensing.
- Begin lead test assembly (LTA) operation in a full-size commercial light water reactor in 2017-2018, which involves testing a limited number of the full-scale fuel assemblies in the core of a commercial nuclear power plant over three 18-month cycles.
"Our emergence in the field of nuclear energy consulting is in direct response to demand for independent assessments and expert technical consulting services from countries looking to establish nuclear energy programs," Grae said. "Lightbridge's comprehensive advisory services for developing safe, secure, efficient and cost-effective nuclear power have generated more than $40 million in revenue since 2008."
In 2012, Lightbridge submitted advisory services proposals to several countries, mostly in Europe and the Middle East. The review process for these complex, multi-million dollar contracts can be long. Responses are expected beginning in mid-2013.
- The Company's consulting contract with the nuclear regulatory authority in the United Arab Emirates was renewed in 2012 and extended to the end of 2014.
Financial Results and Guidance
For the quarter ended December 31, 2012, Lightbridge's net loss was $0.7 million, or a loss of $0.05 per share, on revenue of $0.8 million, compared to a net loss $1.9 million, or a loss of $0.15 per share, on revenue of $0.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. For the 12 months ended December 31, 2012, the Company's net loss was $4.1 million, or a loss of $0.32 per share, on revenue of $3.7 million, compared to a net loss of $5.9 million, or a loss of $0.47 per share, on revenue of $6.4 million in 2011. Lightbridge revenues are derived from consulting and strategic advisory services for foreign governments planning to create or expand electricity generation capabilities using nuclear power plants, and are used to help fund the continuing development of the Company's nuclear fuel technologies. Revenues were primarily generated from contracts in place with governmental entities in the United Arab Emirates.
"Over the next 12 to 15 months, we expect to incur approximately $3 million to $4 million in research and development expenses related to the development of our proprietary nuclear fuel designs," Grae said. "We spent approximately $2.1 million and $2.3 million for research and development during the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively."
Balance Sheet Overview
At December 31, 2012, the Company had approximately $4.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and marketable securities, and approximately $5.1 million of working capital, with no long-term debt. Stockholders' equity was approximately $5.8 million at December 31, 2012 compared with $8.8 million on December 31, 2011. Common shares outstanding at December 31, 2012 totaled 12,526,240.
"We expect to seek new financing or additional sources of capital in the next six months to support the remaining R&D activities required to advance Lightbridge fuel products to a commercial stage," Grae said. "The primary potential sources of cash available to us are equity investments from institutional investors; strategic investment through alliances with major fuel vendors, fuel fabricators and/or other strategic parties during the next three years; and new consulting contracts."
2012 and Fourth Quarter Conference Call
Lightbridge will hold a conference call on Friday, March 1, at 11 a.m. EST to discuss the Company's 2012 and fourth quarter results and provide an update on recent corporate developments. Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer, will lead the call and additional members of the senior management team will be available to answer questions. Questions may be asked live, using the telephone lines below. Questions also may be submitted in writing before or during the conference call to firstname.lastname@example.org. All written questions will be read and answered during the call.
|Lightbridge Corporation Conference Call - Business Update and 2012 & Q4 Financial Results|
|Date:||Friday, March 1, 2013|
|Time:||11 a.m. EST|
|Listen-only International Call-In:||970-315-0421|
|Replay:||Available for one year at the URL above.|
About Lightbridge Corporation
Lightbridge is a US nuclear energy company based in McLean, Virginia with operations in Abu Dhabi, Moscow and London. The Company develops proprietary, proliferation resistant, next generation nuclear fuel technologies for current and future nuclear reactor systems. The Company also provides comprehensive advisory services for established and emerging nuclear programs based on a philosophy of transparency, non-proliferation, safety and operational excellence. Lightbridge's breakthrough fuel technology is establishing new global standards for safe and clean nuclear power and leading the way to a sustainable energy future. Lightbridge consultants provide integrated strategic advice and expertise across a range of disciplines including regulatory affairs, nuclear reactor procurement and deployment, reactor and fuel technology and international relations. The Company leverages those broad and integrated capabilities by offering its services to commercial entities and governments with a need to establish or expand nuclear industry capabilities and infrastructure.
Lightbridge is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @LightbridgeCorp at http://twitter.com/lightbridgecorp.
The Lightbridge Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=17075
Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains statements that are forward-looking in nature, including statements regarding the Company's competitive position and product and service offerings. These statements are based on current expectations on the date of this news release and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ significantly from such estimates. The risks include, but are not limited to, the degree of market adoption of the Company's product and service offerings; market competition; dependence on strategic partners; and the Company's ability to manage its business effectively in a rapidly evolving market. Certain of these and other risks are set forth in more detail in Lightbridge's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lightbridge does not assume any obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as the result of new developments or otherwise.
|Consolidated Balance Sheets|
|December 31,||December 31,|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$ 2,197,555||$ 3,569,098|
|Accounts receivable - project revenue and reimbursable project costs||601,803||277,211|
|Prepaid expenses & other current assets||574,590||269,697|
|Total Current Assets||5,525,839||9,814,712|
|Property Plant and Equipment -net||17,221||46,514|
|Patent costs - net||600,596||537,075|
|Total Other Assets||600,596||657,561|
|Total Assets||$ 6,143,656||$ 10,518,787|
|LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY|
|Accounts payable and accrued liabilities||$ 385,223||$ 1,680,433|
|Total Current Liabilities||385,223||1,680,433|
|Commitments and contingencies|
|Preferred stock, $0.001 par value, 50,000,000 authorized shares, no shares issued and outstanding||--||--|
|Common stock, $0.001par value, 500,000,000 authorized, 12,540,686 shares issued, 12,526,240 shares outstanding and 12,476,414 shares issued, 12,427,220 shares outstanding at December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively||12,526||12,427|
|Additional paid in capital - stock and stock equivalents||71,955,631||70,946,951|
|Common stock reserved for issuance, 2,264 shares and 17,120 shares at December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively||3,125||34,750|
|Total Stockholders' Equity||5,758,433||8,838,354|
|Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity||$ 6,143,656||$ 10,518,787|
|Consolidated Statements of Operations|
|Consulting Revenue||$ 3,677,596||$ 6,356,424|
|Cost of Consulting Services Provided||2,266,815||3,992,153|
|General and administrative||3,841,486||6,342,673|
|Research and development expenses||2,064,568||2,349,749|
|Total Operating Expenses||5,906,054||8,692,422|
|Other Income and (Expenses)|
|Other income (expenses)||4,562||(6,018)|
|Total Other Income and (Expenses)||438,198||459,144|
|Net loss before income taxes||(4,057,075)||(5,869,007)|
|Net loss||$ (4,057,075)||$ (5,869,007)|
|Net Loss Per Common Share, Basic and Diluted||$ (0.32)||$ (0.47)|
|Weighted Average Number of shares outstanding||12,491,106||12,376,548|
|Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows|
|Net Loss||$ (4,057,075)||$ (5,869,007)|
|Adjustments to reconcile net loss from operations to net cash used in operating activities:|
|Stock based compensation||975,421||1,513,021|
|Depreciation and amortization||28,357||26,962|
|Unrealized gains on marketable securities||(195,892)||(93,951)|
|Changes in non-cash operating working capital items:|
|Accounts receivable - fees and reimbursable project costs||(324,592)||713,352|
|Prepaid expenses and other assets||(184,407)||95,564|
|Accounts payable, accrued liabilities and other current liabilities||(1,295,210)||(337,929)|
|Net Cash Used In Operating Activities||(5,053,398)||(4,050,098)|
|Proceeds from the sale of marketable securities||3,979,469||10,408,785|
|Purchase of marketable securities||(234,963)||(5,000,300)|
|Property and equipment||936||(1,297)|
|Net Cash Provided By Investing Activities||3,681,921||5,247,375|
|Proceeds from the issuance of common stock||1,733||--|
|Net Cash Used In Financing Activities||(66)||(1,600)|
|Net Increase (Decrease) In Cash and Cash Equivalents||(1,371,543)||1,195,677|
|Cash and Cash Equivalents, Beginning of Year||3,569,098||2,373,421|
|Cash and Cash Equivalents, End of Year||$ 2,197,555||$ 3,569,098|
|Supplemental Disclosure of Cash Flow Information:|
|Cash paid during the year:|
|Interest paid||$ --||$ --|
|Income taxes paid||$ --||$ --|
|Non-Cash Financing Activity:|
|Grant of Common Stock for Payment of Accrued Liabilities||$ --||$ 70,000|
CONTACT: Gary Sharpe Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Lightbridge Corporation 571-730-1213 email@example.com