Pinnacle enters new off-take contracts with Japanese customers

By Erin Voegele | May 07, 2018

On May 2, Pinnacle Renewable Holdings Inc. released first quarter 2018 financial results, reporting it generated record first quarter revenue and announcing it has entered into new off-take contracts with customers in Japan.

During an investor call, Robert McCurdy, chief executive officer of Pinnacle, discussed three contracts Pinnacle entered into during the quarter with customers in Japan. The first is an off-take contract with Ube for 70,000 metric tons per year of industrial wood pellets, with deliveries scheduled to begin in late 2019. The second is a long-term, take-or-pay contract that was signed on April 23 with Tsusho Corp., a group member of Toyota. Under the Tsusho contract, Pinnacle will supply 30,000 metric tons per year of industrial wood pellets beginning in late 2021 for use in a Japanese power generation plant. Also on April 23, Pinnacle entered into a long-term, take-or-pay contract with Sumitomo Corp. for the supply of 75,000 metric tons per year of industrial wood pellets beginning in late 2022 for use in a thermal power generation plant in Japan that is being converted to run on biomass.

Leroy Reitsma, president and CEO of Pinnacle, briefly discussed progress being made at the company’s two new pellet plants. He said Pinnacle began initial production of wood pellets at its 400,000-metric-ton-per-year Entwistle plant on March 8. He indicated the first unit train shipment of wood pellets left Entwistle last week. Pinnacle also commenced construction on the 125,000-metric-ton-per-year Smithers plant on March 12. That project is 70 percent owned by Pinnacle and 30 percent owned by West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.

Reitsma noted Pinnacle expects to continue to increase its production capacity through a variety of means, including improvement programs at existing facilities, expanded production capacity at existing plants, the development of new greenfield and brownfield production facilities, and potential acquisitions.

Pinnacle reported revenue of $71 million for the first quarter, up 4.7 percent when compared to the same period of last year. Adjusted gross margin was $14.9 million, or 21 percent of revenue, compared to $14.6 million, or 21.5 percent of revenue, during the first quarter of 2017. Net loss and comprehensive loss was $12.8 million, compared to $300,000 during the first quarter of last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $12 million, compared to $12.2 million during the same period of last year.