Covanta Prices $400 Million in Notes

With even the White House talking about renewable energy in big, bold terms, it's no wonder that some companies are standing ready to benefit and steadying their legs in the wobbly economy -- with cash. Just see Covanta Holding ( CVA), which priced a $400 million private offering today.

After pricing the senior convertible notes, the New Jersey-based renewable energy company announced that it is expecting about $387.7 million in net proceeds from the offering. Covanta gave initial purchasers an option to buy an additional $60 million in notes to cover over-allotments.

Because of the private offering, the company cut its original 2009 earnings estimates to 65 cents to 80 cents a share, down from an earlier outlook of 75 cents to 90 cents.

In a statement, the company announced plans to use the cash for working capital and general corporate purposes. One purpose may be construction funding for a 1,700 metric tonne per day facility in Dublin, Ireland. The news blew up stock traffic, with Covanta volume nearing 14 million shares by closing, more than seven times the daily average.

The notes will mature on June 1, 2014 and will pay semi-annual interest of 3.24% per year. The notes may also convert to cash based on certain events before maturity. In the case of a cash conversion, Covanta said it's entered into hedging transactions with some affiliates of the initial purchasers to limit exposure. The company also entered into private warrant transactions.

Covanta specializes in creating energy from waste products. The company converts about 17 million tons of waste into more than 8 million megawatt hours of energy and 10 billion pounds of steam.

Covanta closed the day at $15.11, down from yesterday's $15.14 closing price.

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