Viridis Energy purchases Nova Scotia pellet mill

By Luke Geiver | February 09, 2012

Viridis Energy is bringing a pellet mill back online in Upper Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia, increasing the mill’s export shipment volumes from 6,000 metric tons of wood pellets to 25,000 metric tons.

British Columbia-based Viridis acquired the former Enligna Canada Inc. pellet mill for roughly $2.5 million and renamed it Scotia Atlantic Biomass Co. Its assets include 20 buildings on four properties totaling 157 acres, including a 22 acre wood lot and five pellet presses with the capacity to produce 110,000 tons of wood pellets annually. According the Viridis, the mill also provides an established reputation with customers in Europe and key relationships with raw materials suppliers.

According to Christopher Robertson, CEO of Viridis, the acquisition gives the company a skilled workforce where pellet use is high on the Canadian East Coast, not to mention the proximity to seaports for exporting to a European customer base. Europe has large demand for pellets because of government policies requiring renewable energy sources to represent an increasing percentage of energy consumption.

To purchase the facility, Scotia Atlantic Biomass obtained a $2.5 million short-term bridge loan. The loan has a six percent interest rate and must be repaid on or before March 31.

The facility is expected to fire up this quarter, and Scotia Atlantic Biomass Co. already has a job fair scheduled to fill open positions at the mill. The company will export its pellets through Halifax Grain Elevator Ltd. at the Port of Halifax, which offers storage capacity prior to sale and shipping.

Only a week after announcing its successful acquisition of the Nova Scotia mill, Viridis also announced a partnership with Grafton Upton Railroad, a short-line railroad, and Dana Transport, a national carrier and transportation company. The partnership will enable the shipping of wood pellets in bulk to a Grafton Dana Transport facility in central Massachusetts for final bagging and distribution to the New England states.

“In an industry measured by volume, cost efficiencies are essential to maximize competitiveness and profitability,” Robertson said. “With the growth in demand for biomass accelerating, Viridis needs to focus on building capacity and efficiencies to successfully grow with the market. We are exploring several opportunities that will expand the company’s production capabilities and market share in North America and overseas.”