MCLEAN, Va., May 8, 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 ended March 31, 2013.
"Strategic interest is growing in Lightbridge nuclear fuel designs together with increased awareness and independent validation of our metallic fuel's significant safety and economic benefits, compared to conventional uranium oxide fuel," said Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Lightbridge technology remains well positioned to answer the most pressing global questions facing the commercial nuclear energy industry as the industry works to deliver safer, 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.
2013 First Quarter Business Update
Over the past four months, two independent studies, a peer-reviewed article and analytical models were completed and published that validate the proliferation resistance and safety and economic benefits of Lightbridge fuel technology, Grae said.
"Nuclear fuel managers at the largest U.S. nuclear utilities are enthusiastic about the safety features of our metallic fuel design," he added. "Lightbridge fuel could help moderate the expense of post-Fukushima safety requirements that are driving up power plant operating and construction costs. Nothing is more expensive at a nuclear power plant than safety."
In a large break, loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) scenario, preliminary analytical modeling shows that the temperature of zirconium cladding on Lightbridge metallic fuel rods remains at least 200 degrees Celsius below the temperature at which steam begins to react with zirconium to generate hydrogen gas and an explosion risk. Additional tests are planned to confirm these preliminary results, Grae said. Under normal conditions, Lightbridge fuels are designed to operate approximately 1,000 degrees Celsius lower than conventional uranium oxide fuels.
In March, the proliferation resistance of the Company's fuel design was validated in an independent analysis conducted by Siemens Industry, Inc. "…(T)he proposed Lightbridge design (is) classified as low enriched uranium (that) cannot be used directly for the construction of nuclear weapons," the report says.
An earlier Siemens Industry analysis of the Company's fuel design validated the technology's benefits of increased power output and enhanced operating economics for nuclear utilities. "The value proposition of Lightbridge's metallic fuel, combined with its proliferation resistance and safety benefits, represent a compelling suite of solutions to big issues that confront nuclear utilities around the world," Grae said.
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.
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 activities.
- 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.
Lightbridge's comprehensive advisory services for developing safe, secure and cost-effective nuclear power have generated more than $40 million in revenue since 2008.
"We have submitted advisory services proposals to additional countries, mostly in Europe, Asia and the Middle East," Grae said. "While the review process for these complex, multi-million dollar contracts can be long, we are optimistic that in 2013 Lightbridge will obtain consulting contracts from other governments interested in deploying nuclear power in their countries. Responses are expected in coming quarters."
Financial Results and Guidance
For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, Lightbridge's net loss was $1.3 million, or a loss of $0.10 per share, on revenue of $0.5 million, compared to a net loss $0.8 million, or a loss of $0.06 per share, on revenue of $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2012. 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.
Lightbridge reiterated that nuclear fuel research and development expenses over the next 12 to 15 months are expected to be in the range of $3 million to $4 million, contingent on execution of R&D agreements with outside contractors. "We spent approximately $0.6 million and $0.5 million for research and development during the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively," Grae said.
Balance Sheet Overview
At March 31, 2013, the Company had approximately $3.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and marketable securities, and approximately $4.0 million of working capital, with no long-term debt. Stockholders' equity was approximately $4.6 million at March 31, 2013 compared with $5.8 million on December 31, 2012. Common shares outstanding at March 31, 2013 totaled 12,548,935.
"We expect to seek new financing or additional sources of capital in the next six months to support ongoing R&D activities required to continue to advance Lightbridge fuel products to a commercial stage," Grae said. "Potential sources of cash available to us include 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. Over the next two to three years, our R&D activities are expected to increase with continued tests and demonstrations of our metallic fuel technology for Western pressurized water reactors. These activities are necessary to prepare for full-scale demonstration of our fuel technology in an operating commercial PWR."
2013 First Quarter Conference Call
Lightbridge will hold a conference call on Thursday, May 9, at 11 a.m. EDT to discuss the Company's 2013 first 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 email@example.com. All written questions will be read and answered during the call.
|Lightbridge Corporation Conference Call - Business Update and 2013 Q1 Financial Results|
|Date:||Thursday, May 9, 2013|
|Time:||11 a.m. EDT|
|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.
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.
|Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$ 1,082,948||$ 2,197,555|
|Accounts receivable - project revenue and reimbursable project costs||418,113||601,803|
|Prepaid expenses & other current assets||706,369||574,590|
|Total Current Assets||4,374,238||5,525,839|
|Property Plant and Equipment —net||11,102||17,221|
|Patent costs — net||634,953||600,596|
|Total Other Assets||634,953||600,596|
|Total Assets||$ 5,020,293||$ 6,143,656|
|LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS EQUITY|
|Accounts payable and accrued liabilities||$ 393,619||$ 385,223|
|Total Current Liabilities||393,619||385,223|
|Commitments and contingencies|
|Preferred stock, $0.001 par value, 50,000,000 authorized shares, no shares issued and outstanding||--||--|
|Common stock, $0.001par value, 500,000,000 authorized, 12,548,935 shares outstanding and 12,526,240 shares outstanding at March 31, 2013 and December 31, 2012, respectively||12,549||12,526|
|Additional paid in capital - stock and stock equivalents||72,105,896||71,955,631|
|Common stock reserved for issuance, 2,264 shares at December 31, 2012||--||3,125|
|Total Stockholders' Equity||4,626,674||5,758,433|
|Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity||$ 5,020,293||$ 6,143,656|
|Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations|
|Three Months Ended|
|Consulting Revenue||$ 515,950||$ 1,257,521|
|Cost of Consulting Services Provided||284,337||769,685|
|General and administrative||881,778||945,362|
|Research and development expenses||643,273||496,708|
|Total Operating Expenses||1,525,051||1,442,070|
|Other Income and (Expenses)|
|Other income (expenses)||(1,040)||6,142|
|Total Other Income and Expenses||14,516||157,700|
|Net loss before income taxes||(1,278,922)||(796,534)|
|Net loss||$ (1,278,922)||$ (796,534)|
|Net Loss Per Common Share, Basic and Diluted||$ (0.10)||$ (0.06)|
|Weighted Average Number of shares outstanding||12,529,045||12,432,282|
|Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows|
|Three Months Ended|
|Net Loss||$ (1,278,922)||$ (796,534)|
|Adjustments to reconcile net loss from operations to net cash used in operating activities:|
|Depreciation and amortization||6,119||6,166|
|Unrealized (gains) loss on marketable securities||3,359||(87,929)|
|Changes in non-cash operating working capital items:|
|Accounts receivable - fees and reimbursable project costs||183,690||(648,043)|
|Prepaid expenses and other assets||(131,779)||(67,901)|
|Accounts payable, accrued liabilities and other current liabilities||8,396||(268,122)|
|Net Cash Used In Operating Activities||(1,061,974)||(1,511,618)|
|Purchase of Marketable securities||(17,866)||(63,010)|
|Net Cash Used In Investing Activities||(52,223)||(91,039)|
|Net Cash Used In Financing Activities||(410)||(549)|
|Net Decrease In Cash and Cash Equivalents||(1,114,607)||(1,603,206)|
|Cash and Cash Equivalents, Beginning of Period||2,197,555||3,569,098|
|Cash and Cash Equivalents, End of Period||$ 1,082,948||$ 1,965,892|
|Supplemental Disclosure of Cash Flow Information:|
|Cash paid during the year:|
|Interest paid||$ --||$ --|
|Income taxes paid||$ --||$ --|
CONTACT: Gary Sharpe Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Lightbridge Corporation 571-730-1213 firstname.lastname@example.org