Xethanol Corp. founder creates new public company

Some of the key people behind Xethanol Corp. have resurfaced with a new public company – Waste2Energy Holdings Inc. – which gained a listing on the Over-the-Counter market through a reverse merger.

Christopher d’Arnaud-Taylor, who was Xethanol’s chairman and chief executive, also headed Waste2Energy (OTCBB: WTEZE.OB). He stepped down last week, in keeping with the terms of the merger agreement.

Although d’Arnaud-Taylor resigned as chairman and chief executive, he remains Waste2Energy’s biggest shareholder. He will continue to serve on its board of directors, and according to Securities and Exchange Commission Filings, he also got a $300,000-a-year consulting agreement with the company.

PRIOR INVESTIGATION

Xethanol was the subject of a Sharesleuth investigation in 2006. The company replaced d’Arnaud-Taylor as chief executive a few weeks later. Taylor told Sharesleuth that, despite the presence of other Xethanol alumni at Waste2Energy, he created the company without their involvement in early 2007.

According to a recent SEC filing, d’Arnaud-Taylor, his wife and a limited liability company he controls hold 6 million Waste2Energy shares, plus warrants to buy an additional 4 million shares exercisable at 50 cents a share.

Waste2Energy’s stock closed Thursday at $1.11 a share. That gave the company a market value of more than $55 million. According to the SEC filing covering the reverse merger, officers and directors control 44 percent of the company’s shares.

REVERSE MERGER AND PRIVATE PLACEMENT

Waste2Energy Holdings was formed through the merger of Waste2Energy Inc. and Maven Media Holdings Inc., a public shell company in Chula Vista, Calif. The deal was consummated on May 29, with shareholders of Waste2Energy getting 46 million shares of the combined company.

In the past three months, Waste2Energy has raised $2.5 million through a series of private placements, according to SEC filings. In return for the money, it issued $2.5 million in notes paying 10 percent a year in interest, plus 2.5 million shares of its stock. The company has not identified any of the investors.

Waste2Energy’s SEC filing on the reverse merger noted Taylor’s ties to Xethanol, including his role as a defendant in a securities class-action suit that the company settled for $2.8 million.

“Appropriate disclosure concerning any XNL issues was included in the 8-K filed with the SEC and will be included in other filings as appropriate,” Taylor told Sharesleuth in an email response to our questions. “However, there is no other connection with XNL that should be made.”

GAS FROM GARBAGE

Waste2Energy says it has a system for converting garbage and other solid waste into burnable gases. Its main subsidiary is pursuing deals to build cogeneration plants at industrial facilities and other locations to turn those wastes into “renewable green power.”

Xethanol claimed it had a process for turning wood chips, grass clippings and other plant material into ethanol. But the company never produced any commercial quantities of ethanol using the technology and eventually abandoned that business. It is now known as Global Energy Holdings Group Inc. (AMEX: GNH). The company’s shares, which topped $16 in early 2006, now trade for less than 20 cents.

SCOTTISH PLANT

Waste2Energy is involved in the construction of a waste-to-energy plant in Dumfries, Scotland, for a British company, Ascot Environmental Ltd. According to an SEC filing at the time of the merger, the waste-to-energy side of the business had revenue of $2.68 million for the nine months that ended Dec. 31, primarily from work on the Scottish plant. It reported a net loss of $4.01 million for that period.

The Scottish plant, known as the Dargavel Energy from Waste Facility (pdf), is in the final commissioning stages, and should be processing waste soon, Taylor said. Waste2Energy’s strategy, he said, is to capitalize on that project by selling other units to customers around the world.

“To support this roll-out, W2e has organized a design and fulfillment team in Scotland located in close proximity to the Dargavel site and forged a strategic alliance with a Scottish manufacturing company with a leadership position in thermal engineering processes.”

XETHANOL ALUMNI

Two other key players at Xethanol – Franz A. Skryanz and Jeffrey Langberg — also have been involved in Waste2Energy.

Skryanz was secretary and treasury of Waste2Energy before it merged with Maven Media Holdings. SEC filings show that he got 500,000 shares in the combined company. Skryanz was an officer and director of Xethanol.

Taylor said Skryanz is no longer an officer or director of Waste2Energy and is retiring.

Waste2Energy said in its SEC filing on the reverse merger that an entity called SilverFox LLC has provided services to the company under two consulting contracts. Other SEC documents have listed Langberg as SilverFox’s managing member. Langberg was a Xethanol director and was one of its investment bankers.

SilverFox got 300,000 shares of Waste2Energy stock under the first consulting contract, which was awarded in May 2008 and called for the firm to find potential investors in the company. According to the SEC filing on the reverse merger, the deal also included warrants to buy 300,000 more shares at 75 cents each.

SilverFox got a new contract in November that calls for it to identify and screen potential buyers for Waste2Energy’s plants. According to the merger filing, that agreement provides for a finder’s fee of 10 percent of the purchase price for each sale it brings in.

Taylor told Sharesleuth that SilverFox LLC is “a tad more” than just Langberg, and that Langberg is no long managing member.

Waste2Energy’s latest SEC filings list the company’s headquarters at the same New York City address used by Xethanol. The telephone number also is the same as Xethanol’s old number. Xethanol had originally leased that office space from Langberg.

The company is set to move to a new headquarters in Greenville, S.C.

A ROCKY START

Last July, Waste2Energy was sued by the former owner of EnerWaste International Corp., which it had acquired the previous year for $5 million. Thomas L. Dutcher alleged that Waste2Energy had defaulted on the payments for the business, whose “Batch Oxidization System” technology is at the core of its current activities.

Waste2Energy countersued, saying that Dutcher misled the company about the state of EnerWaste’s finances and business. EnerWaste’s European affiliate, based in Iceland, went bankrupt late last year because of the collapse of that country’s economic system.

The two parties settled their differences in April, just before Waste2Energy arranged its reverse merger with Maven Media Holdings.

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