Rentech announces possible IPO, pellet progress and sale of PDU

By Erin Voegele | March 13, 2014

Rentech Inc. has released 2013 financial results, reporting consolidated revenues of $374.9 million for the year, compared to $261.9 million in 2012. Gross profit for 2013 was $83.7 million, down from $131.9 million the prior year. Operating loss for the year was $8.9 million, compared to an operating income of $43.3 million in 2012.

On a quarterly basis, Rentech reported fourth quarter 2013 consolidated revenues of $79.3 million, compared to $92.5 million for the same period of 2012. Gross loss for the quarter was $2.6 million, compared to a gross profit of $28.6 million during the same three months of the prior year. Operating loss was $15.8 million, compared to a loss of $9.3 million during the fourth quarter of 2012.

According to information released by Rentech, its Fulghum Fibres division processed approximately 9.9 million green metric tons of wood from May 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013, generating revenues of $63 million during that time. Gross profit for the period was $12 million on margins of 19 percent.

Regarding its two wood pellet projects in Eastern Canada, Rentech announced that the majority of outside civil and concrete work is now complete, along with remaining detailed engineering packages. Nearly 80 percent of required equipment and materials have been procured.

Rentech’s nitrogen products manufacturing segment reported annual revenues of $311.4 million, up from $261.6 million the prior year. Gross profit margin for the year was 23 percent, compared to 50 percent in 2012.

The energy technologies segment reported sales, general and administrative expenses of $7.7 million last year. Rentech also noted the segment sold its Natchez site for proceeds of $8.6 million and a gain of $6.3 million last year.

During a call to discuss the results, D. Hunt Ramsbottom, president and CEO of Rentech, said the company is moving towards a potential initial public offering (IPO) in 2015. “The global market for wood chip and pellets sales we are targeting is very large,” he said, noting sales of wood chips and pellets are expected to grow from the current $15 billion to more than $25 billion by 2020.

According to Ramsbottom, Rentech’s pellet facilities under development in the Ontario cities of Wawa and Atikokan are expected to being production as scheduled this year. “We are developing a pipeline of projects to address the over 2 million metric tons of additional wood pellet demand from our existing customers,” he continued.

Ramsbottom also spoke briefly about plans announced earlier this month to see its alternative energy technology assets. On March 5, Rentech announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group Co. Ltd. to sell its alternative energy technologies and decommissioned product demonstration unit (PDU). Kaidi plans to relocate the equipment to China, where it is in the process of expanding its biomass-to-liquids demonstration facility to employ some or all of Rentech’s alternative energy technologies.

The transaction calls for an initial cash payment of $15.3 million and the possibility of a success payment of up to $16.2 million upon the successful construction and operation of the demonstration plant in China by Kaidi. Rentech and Kaidi wiuld also share equally in any proceeds from the utu resale of the PDU site in Commerce City, Colo. The sale is expected to close in mid-2014.