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Navigator to divest Colombo Energy

Portugal-headed eucalyptus pulp, paper and power producer The Navigator Company SA, formerly known as the Portucel Soporcel Group, has disclosed that it has signed an agreement to divest its wood pellets business in the United States (US) to a joint venture managed and operated by an affiliate of Enviva Holdings, LP.

Colombo Energy uses the Port of Wilmington, NC for its pellet export. Railcars bring the pellets to the port (photo courtesy Prodesa).

Colombo Energy uses the Port of Wilmington, NC for its pellet export. Railcars bring the pellets to the port (photo courtesy Prodesa).

According to a statement, the completion of the sale of its wholly owned US wood pellet subsidiary Colombo Energy is subject to certain closing conditions and regulatory authorizations, customary in this type of transactions, and is expected to be completed during the first half of 2018. The value of the proposed transaction has not been disclosed.

In December 2014, Navigator informed the market of the decision to invest in the construction of a wood pellet plant in the US, in Greenwood South Carolina, with an annual production capacity of 500 000 tonnes. The plant was built and began operations during the second half of 2016. Pellet production and marketing began in 2017 and up to the end of September 2017 totalled 91 000 tonnes.

According to Navigator, the investment was “an opportunity to grow in the bioenergy area” and allowed the company to develop and diversify its industrial asset base. Meanwhile, the Group was presented with an “attractive financial opportunity” for divestment and decided to sell this business and its related assets, freeing up capital.

The company says that “the last three years were a great learning experience, during which the Group planned and built a world-class pellet mill and acquired valuable knowledge on how to manage people and assets in the United States.”

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