Orange County Business Journal

Clean Energy Gets Another Deal in Florida

Chris Casacchia Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Seal Beach-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has signed a deal to build fueling stations for a Florida transportation company’s growing fleet of natural gas-powered vehicles.

Financial terms of the agreement—the company’s second with Saddle Creek Corp. in Lakeland, Florida—were not disclosed.

Investors welcomed news of the deal, sending Clean Energy shares up more than 4% on Tuesday to a market value of about $1.9 billion.

Its share price of about $22.60 in afterhours trading surpassed its 52-week high.

Saddle Creek provides trucking, warehousing, fulfillment services, contract packing and other logistical support for retailers and other companies.

Clean Energy struck its first deal with Saddle Creek it October, when it announced a deal to build and operate a compressed natural-gas truck fueling station for its headquarters, located between Orlando and Tampa.

Both deals call for Clean Energy to operate the stations for 10 years.

Saddle Creek expects to have 80 new natural gas trucks in use this year, executives said.

Its headquarters is designed to fuel up to 120 natural gas-powered trucks per day, with four fast-fill pumps. The company is considering new fueling stations in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

Clean Energy has annual revenue of more than $290 million and hopes to clear earnings hurdles by building a network of fueling stations for the largest segment of the market: heavy-duty haulers that consume some $30 billion of fuel annually.

That dwarfs the public sector and waste management industries combined.

The company lost $47.6 million in 2011 amid a push to build and expand what Clean Energy is calling “America’s Natural Gas Highway.”

When the multi-year project concludes, major transportation arteries in California, Texas and the Midwest are expected to have natural gas stations spread out every 250 miles or so.

Legendary oilman and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens started Clean Energy as a tiny part of his Dallas-based Mesa Petroleum in the late 1980s. He split it off in the late 1990s.