Additional Investment in North Fork Project
14 October 2021
("EQTEC", the "Company" or the "Group")
Additional Investment in North Fork Community Power Project
EQTEC plc (AIM: EQT), a world-leading gasification solutions company building the future of a cleaner waste-to-energy industry, has reinforced its commitment to California, to forest fire prevention and to clean energy production, by investing an additional c. US$2.8 million (c. £2.1 million) in the North Fork project in California, USA (the "Project"). The additional investment will increase the Company's equity in the project to 49%. Further to its announcement of 12 July 2021, the Company has also provided a US$4.5 million convertible loan facility to fund the development of the Project.
The Project will result in a 2 MWe biomass-to-energy plant based on EQTEC Advanced Gasification Technology that will transform locally sourced forestry waste into power and biochar for the local community. As previously announced, the Project has encountered successive delays since late 2021 as consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and fires near the construction site. Shipping delays, legally enforced work stoppages during fire warnings and continual re-scheduling of work all undermined progress with construction and complicated retention of sub-contractors. Despite this, EQTEC technology has been delivered on site and construction work has progressed to where foundations are in place and steel structures have been erected, with much of the core gasification equipment installed.
The three Managing Members of the project SPV, North Fork Community Power LLC ("NFCP"), which are the Company, development partner Phoenix Biomass Energy, Inc. ("Phoenix") and local community representative North Fork Community Development Council ("NFCDC"), have been working since March 2021 with the Project bondholders Lapis Advisers LP, ("Lapis") and an Investor Member to negotiate terms for additional funding to support the Project through to live operation. The Company's investment of c. US$2.8 million (c. £2.1 million) has increased its equity shareholding in NFCP from 10% to 49%.
This month, the Company also reached agreement with NFCP and Lapis to provide NFCP with a two-year convertible loan facility of up to US$4.5 million (£3.3 million) (the "Convertible Loan Facility"). The Convertible Loan Facility will accrue interest at a rate of 10% per annum, payable annually, and the balance outstanding (including any accrued interest) will be convertible at the Company's option at the earliest of: the maturity date, any default or any takeover. If the Convertible Loan Facility were fully drawn down and converted into equity, it would result in the Company's taking a controlling interest in the Project.
The Convertible Loan Facility has been signed by all Managing Members and assumes no participation by the Investor Member. Any future participation by the Investor Member could result in reductions in Convertible Loan Facility amounts drawn down by NFCP and/or changes to shareholdings in NFCP.
David Palumbo, CEO of EQTEC, commented:
"The North Fork project is such an important one for the local community, for California and for EQTEC. The plant at North Fork will receive forestry waste that could otherwise fuel fires, instead using it as fuel for electricity to the local community and biochar for other local applications, all produced in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. Production of biochar and the benefits of forest and watershed protection, carbon sequestration and soil enrichment will be a first for us, yet one for which we are seeing growing demand. EQTEC is committed to completing this plant and to building more such plants throughout California, with North Fork as a reference. We are encouraged by the State's commitment to clean energy and to technologies such as ours that support wildfire prevention through safe and sustainable elimination of forestry waste. Our priority now is collaborating with our partners and the project delivery team to complete construction and commissioning of the plant at North Fork and then ensure its successful start into live operation."
More information about the Project and NFCDC
The 2MWe forestry biomass waste-to-energy facility is located at North Fork, in California, USA. EQTEC is the provider of the Advanced Gasification Technology provider to the Project and is also an equity owner in NFCP with a vested interest in the success of the Project. NFCDC is a volunteer-led, not-for-profit, local, community initiative formed to promote in particular the redevelopment of a former old mill site on which the Project is located. The members of NFCDC are primarily residents in the North Fork area of California. NFCDC, through its subsidiary NFCDC Holding, is a Managing Member of NFCP, as is the Company.
Based on its continued interest and investment in the Project, the Company has also taken a lead in bringing all investors and stakeholders into negotiations aimed at ensuring the Project is fully funded and can proceed with latter stages of construction and into commissioning and live operations.
This announcement contains inside information as defined in Article 7 of the EU Market Abuse Regulation No 596/2014 and has been announced in accordance with the Company's obligations under Article 17 of that Regulation.
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About EQTEC plc
As one of the world's most experienced gasification technology and engineering companies, with a growing track record of delivering operational and commercial success for transforming waste-to-energy through best-in-class technology innovation, engineering and project development, EQTEC brings together design innovation, project delivery discipline and solid commercial experience to add momentum to the global energy transition. EQTEC's proven, proprietary and patented technology is at the centre of clean energy projects, sourcing local waste, championing local businesses, creating local jobs and supporting the transition to localised, decentralised and resilient energy systems.
EQTEC designs, supplies and builds advanced gasification facilities in the UK, EU and US, with highly efficient equipment that is modular and scalable from 1MW to 30MW. EQTEC's versatile solutions process over 50 varieties of feedstock, including forestry wood waste, vegetation and other agricultural waste from farmers, industrial waste and sludge from factories and municipal waste, all with no hazardous or toxic emissions. EQTEC's solutions produce a pure, high-quality synthesis gas ("syngas") that can be used for the widest range of applications, including the generation of electricity and heat, production of synthetic natural gas (through methanation) or biofuels (through Fischer-Tropsch, gas-to-liquid processing) and reforming of hydrogen.
EQTEC's technology integration capabilities enable the Group to lead collaborative ecosystems of qualified partners and to build sustainable waste reduction and green energy infrastructure around the world.
The Company is quoted on AIM (ticker: EQT) and the London Stock Exchange has awarded EQTEC the Green Economy Mark, which recognises listed companies with 50% or more of revenues from environmental/green solutions.
Further information on the Company can be found at www.eqtec.com.