Investors help Imperium Renewables to repay debts

By Bryan Sims | September 16, 2008
Web exclusive posted Oct. 8, 2008 at 11:20 a.m. CST

In an attempt to gain firmer financial footing for its biodiesel operations, existing investors of Imperium Renewables provided the biodiesel producer with a much-needed cash infusion that was largely used to repay a portion of its debts.

The majority of the proceeds were used to satisfy its secured project lender, corporate and investment bank Societe Generale, as well as lien holders and unsecured creditors. Imperium said it will continue to focus on biodiesel production at its 100 MMgy facility in Greys Harbor County, Wash. At press time, Biodiesel Magazine was unable to contact the company to verify if the plant was still in operation. Neither the specific amounts of funds contributed by Imperium's investors nor the total outstanding debt were released.

"Despite the recent and overdue correction in the commodities markets, the biodiesel industry remains extremely volatile and the company is still under stress," said John Plaza, founder and chief executive officer of Imperium. "We will continue to make deliberate operating decisions intended to ensure the long-term viability of the company. We have not lost sight of our original mission of producing environmentally sustainable alternatives to petroleum fuel."

In the next step of restructuring its debt, Imperium said it has retained an independent third party business debt restructuring firm to assist in negotiating with its creditors to settle remaining obligations and leave the company with sufficient capital to resume operations.

Imperium raised significant funds and obtained a $41 million loan and a $60 million credit facility from Societe Generale to build the Greys Harbor facility; the first in a planned global network by the company, which opened in August 2007. Plans for further expansion and a failed public stock offering this spring hampered Imperium's strategic business scope during the latter part of this year, in addition to the high cost of raw materials and financial instability in the credit markets.

"This funding is a significant step in the process we set forth in January to turn this company around, but we still face hurdles as the amount of funding is limited," Plaza said. "With this recapitalization and cooperation of our creditors, we hope to resume operations as soon as possible. We're committed to fulfilling our vision through hard work and continued innovation."
 
 
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