Rentech closes on sale of alternative energy technologies

By Erin Voegele | November 06, 2014

On Nov. 4, Rentech Inc. announced it has closed on the sale of its alternative energy technologies to Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group Co. Ltd. for a total of $15.3 million. The transaction was first announced in March.

Rentech received a cash payment of $14.4 million from Kaidi in addition to $500,000 in previous payments. Rentech indicated Kaidi will pay an additional $400,000 to purchase equipment currently located at Rentech’s decommissioned product demonstration unit (PDU), which is located in Commerce City, Colorado. The pending $400,000 transaction is expected to close before the end of the year.

“We are pleased to have closed this sale as part of our cost reduction efforts and focus on our wood fibre processing and nitrogen fertilizer businesses,” said D. Hunt Ramsbottom, president and CEO of Rentech, in a statement. “By monetizing these non-core assets, we have improved our balance sheet and will be realizing significant SG&A savings going forward.”

According to information released by Rentech, the transaction also allows for up to $16.2 in success payments. The payments would be triggered if Kaidi successfully builds and operates, at its costs, a demonstration-scale plant in China that uses the technologies acquired from Rentech. To trigger the payments, the facility would have to perform at specified levels. Rentech also specified the two companies will share equally in any proceeds from the future sale of the PDU site, net of transaction fees and carrying costs of the property incurred by Rentech after Sept. 30. Rentech is expected to close on the sale of the site during the first half of 2015.

In March, Rentech announced the equipment purchased by Kaidi will be relocated to Wuhan, China, where the company is expanding its biomass-to-liquids demonstration facility to employ Rentech’s technologies.

The sale of these technologies and the PDU is expected to be Rentech’s final step in existing its alternative energy technology-related operations, said Ramsbottom in March.

Prior to entering the wood pellet industry, Rentech was active in the biorefining and bioenergy space. In March 2013, the company announced plants to mothball its PDU and eliminate all related research and development activities. At that time, the company’s technologies included the Rentech-ClearFuels and Rentech-SilvaGas biomass gasification technologies, as well as the Rentech Fischer-Tropsch process. Two months later, the company announced its entrance into the wood pellet industry. In late October, Rentech announced it has commenced start-up of its 100,000-ton-per-year Atikokan pellet plant in Ontario.