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Anaergia subsidiary starts Chapter 11 restructuring

Anaergia subsidiary starts Chapter 11 restructuring
The Rialto Bioenergy Facility, LLC (RBF) RNG facility in California (photo courtesy Redflow).

Canada-headed biogas technology provider Anaergia Inc. has announced that one of its subsidiaries, Rialto Bioenergy Facility, LLC (RBF), has initiated voluntary Chapter 11 restructuring proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California (CA).

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Rialto Bioenergy Facility, LLC (RBF) is 51 percent owned by Anaergia’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Anaergia Services, LLC.

RBF anticipates that, during the restructuring proceeding, it will continue to operate its state-of-the-art, multi-feedstock bioenergy facility in Rialto, California, which is capable of converting organic waste, such as food and yard waste and biosolids, into carbon-negative biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG), with the capability to generate renewable electricity and soil amendment/fertilizer.

The voluntary action by RBF was taken after much discussion and review of alternatives. Anaergia says that it supports this decision “as a necessary step to protect its long-term interests in RBF.”

After careful evaluation by the managers of RBF, with due consideration of a range of alternatives, the RBF board believes that the Chapter 11 process is in the best interests of RBF and its stakeholders, said Yaniv Scherson, RBF board member, VP of RBF, and Chief Operating Officer of Anaergia.

Lack of feedstock

As a result of a lack of feedstock available to the facility, RBF has been unable to produce sufficient revenue to cover its costs and debt service.

The feedstock shortfall is due to a delay in the implementation and enforcement of laws requiring organic waste diversion from landfills by the City of Los Angeles as required under the City’s contracts with private waste management companies as well under California State law SB1383.

The City is operating under a corrective action plan stemming from its delayed efforts to adopt and enforce the law’s waste diversion requirements.

State law SB1383’s implementation was previously delayed because of the effects of the pandemic. The City only adopted an implementation ordinance in late 2022, which is fully enforceable in January 2024.

Anaergia anticipates that with future adequate feedstock for the RBF facility, made possible with additional time and relief from debt service and other payments provided under a Chapter 11 restructuring to allow ramp-up, the asset will retain long-term value for all stakeholders, and expects the restructuring to have a positive impact on its 2023 cash flows, as during the restructuring process Anaergia would cease supporting RBF with further loans or equity contributions.

Relingish accounting control

Subject to completing its in-depth review of the relevant accounting standards and guidance, it is anticipated that Anaergia will cease to control RBF from an accounting perspective, and therefore cease consolidating RBF in its financial statements for the quarter ending June 30, 2023.

Anaergia, on a preliminary basis, would expect the following financial impacts to result from such deconsolidation and restructuring:

  • The Company’s loans and invested capital in RBF that were previously eliminated on consolidation have a carrying value as of March 31, 2023, of approximately CA$115 million. Anaergia anticipates recognizing a provision for up to the full amount of loans of CA$60 million. The Company is assessing the value of its retained equity interest in RBF as impacted by the initiation of restructuring proceedings, which could decrease to CA$0.
  • Since the debt of RBF is not guaranteed by and is nonrecourse to the Company, as a result of the anticipated deconsolidation, assuming the worst-case scenario of the ranges above, is the Company estimates that Anaergia’s total assets would decrease by approximately 35-40%, and its total liabilities would decrease by approximately 40%. Also, as a result of the anticipated deconsolidation, the Company expects to reverse a significant amount that has been recognized through Non-Controlling Interest. Under the same assumptions, with an estimated 20% decrease, the net equity attributable to the Company’s common shareholders is expected to be less impacted than the net equity attributable to the Non-Controlling Interest.

Anaergia is in the process of completing the analysis of the accounting and financial impacts for the quarter ending June 30, 2023, and the Company’s 2023 guidance is not expected to be materially changed by the anticipated deconsolidation of RBF.

Anaergia anticipates that RBF will exit bankruptcy retaining equity value and will continue to be a valuable part of Anaergia’s portfolio of global renewable natural gas assets.

Debtor-in-possession financing

Subject to court approval, RBF, as the borrower, intends to enter into a debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility with a lender, pursuant to which the lender will make available to RBF a non-revolving secured credit facility.

This financing facility will enable RBF to continue to operate its business and meet its financial obligations, including the timely payment of charges for labor, supplies, and other obligations as approved by the court.

Additionally, the Company will not be guaranteeing the DIP financing facility, as RBF has more than sufficient value to support the new loan. RBF is committed to working closely with its stakeholders to minimize the impact of the bankruptcy process and to ensure that its creditors are treated fairly.

Debt restructuring will allow RBF to address its liquidity challenges, and preserve its ability to ramp up operations as the availability of feedstock is expected to increase in tandem with enforcement by the City of Los Angeles of subscription to organic waste collection and landfill diversion requirements mandated by ordinance and State law. RBF is strongly supported by the State of California and is critical to the success of SB 1383. We are confident that these actions will help protect the value of RBF and allow it to emerge as a stronger company, ended Yaniv Scherson.

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