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TheStreet Open House

Skip Enerkem, Erickson IPOs, but Retail Properties Promises Big Payout

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This week's IPO calendar doesn't look to have the snap and crackle of last week's deals. No Annie's (BNNY) or Millennial Media (MM)to give the market a spark.

Instead, the line-up includes two companies that are dependent upon either government business or tax benefits, and one shopping center. Luca Technologies was supposed to go public last week, but now it's day-to-day. So it could either launch or get pulled.

Normally, alternative energy gets lots of IPO buzz, unless its solar, but now those offerings get dim interest. Enerkem (NRKM) turns poop into gas and that makes it decidedly less sexy than smartphone advertising. The company has technology that turns municipal waste (not the administrative kind) into ethanol. Unfortunately ethanol prices are -- dare we say it -- in the crapper. Plus, Enerkem has tax credits to the tune of $1.01 a gallon that are set to expire at the end of 2012. There is also a government mandate that 16 billion gallons of biofuel a year must be blended into the national transportation fuel supply. If that mandate ends, Enerkem would be hurt.

Enerkem is hoping to raise $131 million and price its shares between $17 and $19 a share. It will use the proceeds for construction at the planned facilities as well as research and development. So, let's see: If you power your car with vegetable oil bio fuel and it smells French fries, what happens when you use your neighbor's poo?

Erickson Air-Crane (EAC) is a smaller deal; it only hopes to raise $76 million and price its shares between $13 and $15. The company makes heavy lift helicopters that are used for firefighting. Its customers are a small group that includes the U.S. Forest Service, Los Angeles and governments like Italy and Greece.

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However, Greece didn't renew its contract and hasn't paid the $5.8 million it owes Erickson, and the company was fighting with the Forest Service over $2.8 million and the courts ruled against it. Erickson has substantial debt which is coming due in October.

Erickson's backlog has dropped 29% from $298 million in February 2011 to $212 million in February 2012, and the company stated in its S-1 filing that $128 million of that backlog might not even be realized.

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Francis Gaskins, president of the IPO Desktop said, "With the backlog down and with $8.6 million in expected or actual accounts receivable write-offs, EAC's outlook is not favorable." Erickson plans on using the proceeds from the offering to pay down debts and comply with its credit covenants. It sounds like the fire that Erickson needs to put out is its own.

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