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Lightbridge Announces Nuclear Fuel Development Update and 2014 Financial Results

Live Conference Call and Webcast Scheduled at 11 a.m. ET Thursday, March 26 at: http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/s5ndw8cs

MCLEAN, Va., March 25, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lightbridge Corporation (Nasdaq:LTBR), a leading innovator of nuclear fuel designs and provider of nuclear energy consulting services, today issued a business update on the progress of its nuclear fuel technology and reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2014.

"Lightbridge's success in 2014 and early 2015 in achieving strategic milestones in the development of our proprietary metallic nuclear fuel technology is keeping the Company squarely on track for commencing in early 2017 test reactor irradiation of our metallic fuel samples under prototypic power reactor operating conditions," said Seth Grae, President and Chief Executive Officer. "By addressing the most important safety and economic issues facing the commercial nuclear energy industry, Lightbridge is well positioned to realize high-margin revenue streams from technology licensing fees and royalties from a growing $25 billion annual market for nuclear fuel."

Lightbridge is developing and commercializing next generation nuclear fuel technology with benefits of enhanced safety, increased revenue and improved operating margins for both existing and new build reactors. Lightbridge's comprehensive advisory services help established and emerging nuclear programs, based on transparency, non-proliferation, safety and operational excellence.

The commercial nuclear energy industry is projected to grow rapidly at a time of rising global demand for reliable, carbon-free, base load electric power. There are currently 435 operable civil nuclear reactors in 32 countries around the world, with more than 70 reactors under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. By 2035, the International Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development projects a 60% increase in nuclear capacity from a combination of power uprates and reactor construction.

For a detailed description of the value proposition of Lightbridge fuel technology, including projected incremental annual net operating cash flows and return on investment for a nuclear power plant operator using Lightbridge fuel at various wholesale electricity prices, visit http://bit.ly/1jLXpoY. The advantages of Lightbridge's metallic fuel design were confirmed in independent third-party analyses published in 2012 and 2013. These reports, which include a peer-reviewed article published in Nuclear Technology, are available for download at http://ir.ltbridge.com/.

2014 Business Update and Outlook

Lightbridge is focusing its efforts in 2015 on its nuclear fuel development program. "We expect that the progress made in 2014 and other near-term catalysts in fuel technology development will lead to long-term value creation for Lightbridge stakeholders," Grae said.

  • In October 2014, an initial cooperation agreement was signed with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, for fabrication of Lightbridge's patented next generation metallic nuclear fuel samples at CNL's Chalk River facilities. "We expect to begin working with CNL to fabricate our metallic fuel samples in the first half of 2015," Grae said.
  • In February 2014, the Company was issued the key U.S. patent, number 8,654,917, covering its multi-lobed metallic fuel rod design and fuel assemblies. "This patent is the single most important patent in the Company's intellectual property portfolio and secures patent protection in the U.S. – the world's largest market of pressurized water reactors currently in operation," Grae said;
  • In the second quarter of 2014, the Commonwealth of Australia Patents Office approved and issued to the Company a foreign equivalent of the key U.S. patent. In addition, the Company was issued patents in China and South Korea based on a 2007 PCT application covering its seed-and-blanket fuel assembly design for Russian VVER-type reactors.
  • In the third quarter of 2014, Lightbridge filed with the U.S. Office of Patents and Trademarks a provisional patent application relating to use of the Company's metallic fuel in CANDU-type power reactors.
  • In November 2014, Lightbridge received export-controls approval from the U.S. Department of Energy for all of the Company's planned work in Canada.
  • Near-term catalysts in development of Lightbridge's metallic nuclear fuel include:
    • Fabricate fuel samples for test reactor irradiation under prototypic power reactor operating conditions (2016);
    • Secure a letter of interest from at least one U.S. nuclear utility to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicating interest in using Lightbridge fuel in a power reactor when available (2016);
    • Begin test-reactor irradiation of fuel samples (2017); and
    • Enter into a cost-sharing agreement with an industry partner and/or government to support deployment of a pilot-scale fuel fabrication facility, fabrication of lead test assemblies and their operation in a commercial reactor (2017-2018).

"In 2015, we will continue implementing a cost reduction program that we began in late 2014 aimed at significantly reducing our corporate overhead," Grae said. "We intend to use the resulting cost savings for investment in our research and development operations that are expected to increase over the next 12 to 18 months."

Financial Results

For the quarter ended December 31, 2014, Lightbridge's net loss was $1.0 million, or a loss of $0.05 per share, on revenue of $0.4 million, compared to a net loss $1.2 million, or a loss of $0.12 per share, on revenue of $0.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year, the Company's net loss was $4.8 million, or a loss of $0.31 per share, on revenue of $1.3 million. In 2013, the net loss was $4.9 million, or a loss of $0.37 per share, on revenue of $1.9 million. 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. Lightbridge's revenue from its consulting business decreased in 2014 due to increased external pricing competition and lack of countries that never previously had nuclear power starting reactor programs.

"Over the next 12 to 15 months, we expect to incur approximately $2.5 million to $3.0 million in research and development expenses related to the development of our proprietary nuclear fuel designs," Grae said. "We spent approximately $1.5 million and $2.0 million for research and development during the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively."

Lightbridge research and development activities are expected to increase over the next two to three years, with a primary focus on testing and demonstration of the Company's metallic fuel technology for Western-type pressurized water reactors (PWR). The main objective of this research and development phase is to prepare for full-scale demonstration of the Company's fuel technology in an operating commercial PWR.

Balance Sheet Overview

At December 31, 2014, the Company had approximately $4.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash, and approximately $4.6 million of working capital, with no long-term debt. Stockholders' equity was approximately $5.4 million at December 31, 2014 compared with $5.2 million on December 31, 2013. Common shares outstanding at December 31, 2014 totaled 18,082,874.

In November 2014, the Company received net proceeds of approximately $4.5 million after offering costs from a registered direct offering to an institutional investor of a fixed combination of 2.9 million shares of common stock and warrants. The purchase price was $1.75 per fixed combination, with each combination consisting of one share of common stock and a warrant to purchase 0.95 shares of common stock. William Blair & Company, L.L.C. served as placement agent for the offering, which was a takedown from a previously filed shelf registration statement on Form S-3.

2014 Fourth Quarter Conference Call

Lightbridge will hold a conference call and webcast on Thursday, March 26, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the Company's 2014 and fourth quarter results and to 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 ir@ltbridge.com. All written questions will be read and answered during the call.

Lightbridge Corporation Conference Call - Business Update and 2014 Financial Results
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Time: 11 a.m. ET
Conference Passcode: 7352709
Domestic Toll Free Dial-In: 888-424-8151
International Dial-In: http://bit.ly/1CCqjBW Link to list of country-specific dial-in numbers
Live Webcast: http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/s5ndw8cs
Replay: Available for one year at the URL above.

About Lightbridge Corporation

Lightbridge is a nuclear energy company based in McLean, Virginia. The Company develops proprietary next generation nuclear fuel technologies for current and future nuclear reactor systems. 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. 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 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 within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 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.

LIGHTBRIDGE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
Years Ended
December 31,
2014 2013
ASSETS
Current Assets
Cash and cash equivalents $ 4,220,225 $ 3,672,877
Marketable securities 0 15,731
Restricted cash 325,181 555,008
Accounts receivable - project revenue and reimbursable project costs 469,086 425,916
Prepaid expenses & other current assets 205,184 288,939
Total Current Assets 5,219,676 4,958,471
Property Plant and Equipment -net 0 0
Other Assets
Patent costs - net 833,560 699,168
Total Assets $ 6,053,236 $ 5,657,639
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
Current Liabilities
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 653,668 $ 476,628
Total Current Liabilities 653,668 476,628
Commitments and contingencies
Stockholders' Equity
Preferred stock, $0.001 par value, 50,000,000 authorized shares, no shares issued and outstanding 0 0
Common stock, $0.001 par value, 500,000,000 authorized, 18,082,874 shares outstanding and 15,057,243 shares outstanding at December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, respectively 18,083 15,057
Additional paid-in capital - stock and stock equivalents 81,276,339 76,243,764
Deficit (75,894,854) (71,077,810)
Total Stockholders' Equity 5,399,568 5,181,011
Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity $ 6,053,236 $ 5,657,639
LIGHTBRIDGE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
Years Ended
December 31,
2014 2013
Revenue:
Consulting Revenue $ 1,310,199 $ 1,901,354
Cost of Consulting Services Provided 756,277 1,109,890
Gross Margin 553,922 791,464
Operating Expenses
General and administrative 3,834,935 3,616,897
Research and development expenses 1,534,605 2,027,905
Total Operating Expenses 5,369,540 5,644,802
Operating Loss (4,815,618) (4,853,338)
Other Income and (Expenses)
Investment income 1,951 (8,133)
Other income (expenses) (3,377) (3,490)
Total Other Income and (Expenses) (1,426) (11,623)
Net loss before income taxes (4,817,044) (4,864,961)
Income taxes -- --
Net loss $ (4,817,044) $ (4,864,961)
Net Loss Per Common Share,
Basic and Diluted $ (0.31) $ (0.37)
Weighted Average Number of Shares Outstanding 15,463,392 13,009,575
LIGHTBRIDGE CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
Years Ended
December 31,
2014 2013
Operating Activities:
Net Loss $ (4,817,044) $ (4,864,961)
Adjustments to reconcile net loss from operations to net cash used in operating activities:
Stock-based compensation 282,275 329,499
Depreciation and amortization -- 17,221
Loss on marketable securities 1,297 49,116
Changes in non-cash operating working capital items:
Accounts receivable - fees and reimbursable project costs (43,170) 175,887
Prepaid expenses and other assets 83,755 285,651
Accounts payable, accrued liabilities and other current liabilities 177,040 91,405
Net Cash Used In Operating Activities (4,315,847) (3,916,182)
Investing Activities:
Proceeds from the sale of marketable securities 14,434 1,572,242
Purchase of Marketable securities -- (38,880)
Patent costs (134,392) (98,572)
Net Cash Provided by (Used In) Investing Activities (119,958) 1,434,790
Financing Activities:
Net proceeds from the issuance of common stock 4,753,326 3,958,040
Restricted cash 229,827 (1,326)
Net Cash Provided by Financing Activities 4,983,153 3,956,714
Net Increase In Cash and Cash Equivalents 547,348 1,475,322
Cash and Cash Equivalents, Beginning of Year 3,672,877 2,197,555
Cash and Cash Equivalents, End of Year $ 4,220,225 $ 3,672,877
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 1-571-730-1213 gsharpe@ltbridge.com

Source:Lightbridge Corporation