Enviva to expand capacity at Northampton, Southampton plants

By Erin Voegele | November 12, 2018

Enviva Partners LP has released third quarter financial results, reporting increased revenue, net income and gross margin. The company also announced plans to expand its operations, including the addition of new capacity at two existing pellet plants.

During an investor call, John Keppler, chairman and CEO of Enviva, discussed expansion and growth opportunities that he said could more than double the size of the company over the next few years.

Subject to receiving the necessary permits, Keppler said Enviva plans to invest approximately $130 million to increase the aggregate production capacity at its Northampton, North Carolina, and Southampton, Virginia, pellet plants by approximately 400,000 metric tons per year. Information released by Enviva indicates the $130 million investment would include new production assets and emissions control equipment. In a statement, the company said the ability to expand capacity and improve the energy density of pellets through increased pine utilization at the two plants will create incremental, high-margin pellet sales opportunities. Construction on the expansion project is expected to be complete in early 2020, with startup shortly thereafter.

Keppler also discussed new plants under development by the partnership’s sponsor. He said the Hamlet, North Carolina, plant is currently under construction and expected to begin operations during the first half of next year. That plant will have a nameplate capacity of 600,000 metric tons per year.

The second joint venture between affiliates of Enviva’s sponsor and John Hancock is also continuing to invest in its wood pellet facility in Greenwood, South Carolina. The facility is expected to expand its capacity from 500,000 metric tons per year to 600,000 metric tons per year, subject to receiving necessary permits.

The second John Hancock joint venture is also expected to make a final investment decision on a deep-water marine terminal in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and a wood pellet plant in Lucedale, Mississippi, in late 2018 or early 2019. A statement released by Enviva also notes the joint venture continues to evaluate additional development locations.

Enviva Partners said it expects to have the opportunity to acquire these assets from its sponsor and its joint ventures with John Hancock.

During the investor call, Keppler also discussed the impact of Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael on its operations. He said Enviva builds its production plants and terminals to withstand these types of storms and noted the company’s facilities sustained only limited damage. The company, however, did lose production due to downtime at its Sampson County, North Carolina, and Cottondale, Florida, plants. The Greenwood plant was also impacted. According to Keppler, disruption in terminal operations during mandated closures of the Port of Wilmington and Port of Panama City required the company to reschedule several shipments. However, he said despite these events, the company believes it will be able to achieve its previously forecasted 2018 adjusted EBITDA of $118 million to $122 million.

Enviva reported net income of $13.4 million for the quarter, compared to $5 million during the same period of last year. Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter was $30.2 million, up from $25.8 million during the third quarter of 2017.

For the third quarter, the company generated net revenue of $144.1 million, up 9 percent when compared to last year. Included in net revenue were product sales of $142.5 million on 762,000 metric tons of wood pellets sold during the quarter, up from $125.4 million on 668,000 metric tons of wood pellets sold during the third quarter of last year.

For the third quarter, Enviva generated gross margin of $30.1 million, up from $20.4 million for the same period of 2017. Adjusted gross margin per metric tons was $55.64 for the third quarter, up from $46.9 million for the third quarter of 2017.