Danimer Scientific, Inc.

Q3 2021 Earnings Conference Call


spk03: Greetings and welcome to the Danimer Scientific third quarter 2021 earnings call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question and answer session will follow the formal presentation. If anyone should require operator assistance during the conference, please press star zero on your telephone keypad. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Russ Zukowski, Vice President of Corporate Finance. Thank you, Russ. You may begin.
spk06: Thank you, Operator, and thank you, everyone, for joining us today for our third quarter 2021 earnings call. Hosting the call today are Danimer CEO, Steve Crossgree, and CFO, Chad Dowdy. Phil VanTrump, our Chief Science and Technology Officer, will also be joining us for Q&A. During our discussion today, we will be referring to our earnings presentation, which is available on the investor relations section of our website at danimerscientific.com. On slide two, please note that we may discuss forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include, among other things, future results of operations, capacity, production, and demand levels that could differ in a material way from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, except as required by law. Today's presentation also includes references to non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations to the most comparable GAAP financial measures can be found in the earnings presentation. I will now turn the call over to Steve.
spk05: Thank you, Russ.
spk01: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Today, we will discuss our third quarter results and some exciting business updates. The third quarter of 2021 marked another period of continued progress on our path to deliver best-in-class solutions for biodegradable packaging and other products which address the global plastic waste crisis. During the quarter, we made progress on several key objectives, including the initial integration of our recent acquisition of November continued application development work, increased production of PHA-based products, and we continue to negotiate both development and supply agreements with our blue-chip customers. We remain on schedule with the scaling up of our Kentucky Phase I operations, as well as the construction of our Kentucky Phase II operations. And we are happy to announce that we now plan to break ground on our state-of-the-art greenfield facility in Bainbridge, Georgia, ahead of schedule later this month. In looking at our customer relationships and business developments, we have several exciting updates. We continue to see an increase in demand for our products during the third quarter, and we are making progress on both supply and development agreements for a wide array of product applications, including coatings, lids, films, fibers, and utensils and other injection-molded items. Our partner, WinCup's Fade Straws, made with Danimer Signature NODAC-based resins, are now being sold in CVS stores across the country. In addition, WinCup recently announced its sponsorship of the Atlanta Falcons introducing phage straws to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta beginning in August of this year. WinCup also recently applauded the City of Fort Myers Beach, Florida for voting to amend the city's ban on traditional plastic straws to allow for more biodegradable solutions. Following the vote, WinCup will now be able to distribute paid straws in the community to better protect the area's beaches and waterways. Furthermore, one of our straw converters is making progress in scaling up their production for a previously mentioned QSR customer with their expected goal of hitting full stride in Q1 of 2022. We are excited by the positive reception to our Nodex-based straws and have found that many of our straw customers also want Nodex-based lids and cups so they can offer a complete, biodegradable solution. Separately, our partnership with Camara is progressing well. We have already conducted successful product trials with Aqueous Coatings and continue to develop our relationship. Also, recently we announced a long-term collaboration with Botel Corbillon PLA in securing PLA supply to support production of PHA-based resins for our growing blue chip customer base. Additionally, this alliance secured supply for our expected anchor tenant at our Georgia Greenfield facility. Growing commercial scale production of PHA remains the core focus of our business. However, PLA is an important input in many of our NODACS-based formulations. Partnering with Total Corp beyond PLA provides an ideal solution to support the long-term growth opportunities ahead while ensuring our short-term customer needs remain fulfilled. We have a couple of promising developments on the R&D side to touch on as well. In our prudent efforts to evaluate an array of feedstocks for use in the commercial scale production of our signature Nodax polymer, we are pleased to receive a research grant from the United Soybean Board in September to expand research into the use of high oleic soybean oil for biodegradable plastic production. This grant represents a continuation of our collaboration with the United Soybean Board after we successfully completed a one-year project to develop a practical model for production. And this second phase of the project will now focus on scaling up soybean oil for potential use in manufacturing at a commercial level. Additionally, during the quarter, we opened the Dannemere Conversion Lab in Georgia to help us make the process of conducting customer product trials more efficient. As a reminder, our application development process is iterative. Typically, we send sample material to a converter who processes it and then gives us feedback. We then modify the material and send another sample until a final acceptable result is achieved. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not been allowed to attend as many trials in person, and converters have oftentimes delayed trials due to employee constraints. Our new lab in Georgia contains manufacturing equipment where we can simulate our customer trials on site without the back-and-forth approach in the initial iterations, speeding up the process to provide our customers with a final product It is acceptable for use in their commercial production. Now, moving on to our November integration update. As we discussed on our last earnings call in August, we closed on our acquisition of November, a leading developer of thermal catalytic conversion technology that produces high-performing, carbon-efficient, cost-effective polymers and chemicals, including Renovo, a type of PHA. We are pleased to report that our integration is progressing in line with our plan, and we are on track to realize the benefits of the acquisition, enhancing the strength of product applications we can develop due to the complementary nature of Renovo when combined with Nodax. Importantly, November's technology will enable us to significantly lower our production costs and capital expenditure per pound produced, while also providing improved barrier properties in some of our packaging products. As part of our effort to explore technology that can help us lower our manufacturing costs, we announced a new partnership with Chevron Phillips Chemical in September to collaborate on the development of a loop slurry reactor design for the manufacture of Renovo. Through this collaboration, we will evaluate the use of CP Chem's loop slurry reactor design, a technology that originally transformed polyolefin production, to evaluate the feasibility of incorporating a continuous reactor system in the manufacturing process for renovo if the testing is successful we expect this reactor design to increase utilization of future manufacturing plants driving higher production volumes and lowering overall cost per unit now looking at our facility expansions we are making significant progress on our previously announced expansion plans we remain well positioned to further scale production of nodex towards our expectation of reaching 100 percent of our Kentucky Phase 1 facility's annual run rate capacity by the end of 2021. Since our model netting initiatives at Phase 1 were completed earlier this year, we have found that all of our step functions and downstream processing are operating on average at nearly twice the speed of our original plan, with the exception of drying capacity, which is running below our expectations. With that said, we have a plan in place to remediate this issue, which should allow us to achieve our production targets by the end of the year. Furthermore, we expect to have excess phase two drying capacity coming online in February, which we believe will more than make up for any shortfall. Our production of neat PHA, or NODACs, is an intermediate step in our overall manufacturing process. In October at our phase one facility, our NEAT PHA production was approximately 70% of capacity, up from 62% during the second quarter, and over 50% in the first quarter. Our Kentucky phase two construction is progressing ahead of schedule, and we have included slides five through seven in our presentation to provide you with an aerial view of our progress in 2021. As a reminder, phase two construction at our Kentucky facility commenced in December of 2020, and is expected to come online in the second quarter of 2022, ultimately providing us with an expected 45 million pounds of finished product capacity. Completion of both phases will collectively bring our nameplate finished product capacity up to an expected 65 million pounds per year at our Kentucky facility. At our new state of the art Greenfield facility in Bainbridge, Georgia, we are excited to break ground on construction in the latter half of November. We have already placed orders for several of the long lead time items needed to complete our construction plans. Our primary rationale for beginning the construction process ahead of our initial schedule is to lock in previous price quotes, avoiding significant inflation and the cost of certain construction materials, and to avoid labor constraints. Additionally, as our phase two subcontractors come off the job in Kentucky, they will be able to transition immediately to the Greenfield facility in Georgia. we continue to expect the three fermenters and extrusion facilities to come online by mid-2023. As it relates to our plans for a renewable plant, we are evaluating several attractive locations for site selection and potential partners to collaborate with as we add this capacity. Upon completion of Kentucky Phase II, the Greenfield facility, and the renewable plant, we expect to have an overall PHA finished product nameplate capacity of approximately 390 million pounds, inclusive of 60 million pounds of standalone renovo we are excited by our progress to date on our capacity expansions and look forward to updating you further on our progress next quarter for that let me turn the call over to jad for an update on our financial results thank you steve i'll speak to slide eight we closed out our third quarter of the year with dha representing a growing share of our revenue
spk00: I'll discuss our third quarter results followed by some color on the full year 2021. Revenues for the third quarter of 2021 grew to $13.4 million compared to $12.8 million in the third quarter last year. This increase was primarily driven by the ongoing scale up of PHA production for phase one of the Winchester, Kentucky facility that we brought online in 2020. In the third quarter, we derived 32% of our revenues from sales of Nodax-based resins compared to 12% in the third quarter of 2020. While demand for PLA remained strong, PLA revenue for the third quarter of 2021 decreased year-over-year due to the timing of customer purchases. We reported a gross loss of approximately $230,000 in the third quarter of this year, and gross profit of $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2020. Adjusted gross profit, which excludes depreciation, stock-based compensation, and rent related to our manufacturing operations was $2.6 million compared to $4.6 million in the third quarter of last year. Adjusted gross margin was 19.7% compared to 35.8% in the third quarter of last year, primarily due to elevated fixed cost absorption as production continued to scale up at the Kentucky facility. In both periods, the average cost per pound of PHA-based products sold was significantly higher than PLA-based products sold as a result of this elevated fixed cost absorption. As we have mentioned previously, we expect our average cost per unit at our existing facilities to improve as production scales. R&D and SG&A expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation, rent, and one-time items were $9.2 million in the third quarter of 2021 compared to $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2020, mainly due to an increase in headcount and salaries to support our future growth plans, as well as increases in costs associated with having a larger asset base, such as property taxes and property and liability insurance. Public company expenses added approximately $1.7 million of incremental costs for the third quarter of 2021, which we did not incur in the third quarter of last year, and included income such as DNO insurance, increased public company auditing and accounting costs, and SOX readiness fees. In addition, we incurred approximately $750,000 of R&D and operating expenses as a result of consolidating November in our third quarter financial results, which we did not incur in the prior year quarter. The third quarter adjusted EBITDA loss as reconciled in the appendix was $7.4 million as compared to a loss of $500,000 in the same period last year attributable to the factors I just discussed. Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $6.6 million in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the gain of $500,000 in the second quarter of 2020. We add back our rent expense because it's primarily related to a sale-leaseback agreement associated with the Kentucky facility, and thus is essentially a replacement of depreciation and interest expenses. Turning to slide nine, I'll provide an update on our outlook for the full year 2021. We continue to expect that the increased availability from the completed Phase 1 capacity expansion and the successful completion of our de-bottlenecking initiatives in Q2 should allow us to significantly scale up production as we move into year end. While we believe demand for our products will remain strong for the foreseeable future, we continue to see impacts to our customers' product launch timelines. due to global supply chain challenges, such as shortages of containerized shipping and trucking, COVID constraints and supply issues for materials, including items such as paper and inks. We're confident these challenges ultimately will be resolved by our customers in Bama. We continue to expect adjusted EBITDA and cash flow from operations to benefit in 2021 from operational efficiencies as the Kentucky facility increases utilization levels. We expect total operating costs to be approximately $31 million for 2021, including the post-acquisition period from November and excluding DNA and stock-based compensation and one-time items. Additionally, we expect zero cash taxes for the year. For the full year of 2021, we now expect capital expenditures to be in the range of $200 million to $210 million, almost entirely due to, one, accelerated investments related to the earlier groundbreaking of our greenfield construction to get ahead of further potential construction material inflation costs, and two, phase two construction moving faster than previously anticipated. This CAPEX range is also inclusive of investments associated with November for the post-acquisition period. Looking at our balance sheet, our total long-term debt was approximately $29.9 million a quarter in 2019. It includes $21 million of low-interest new market tax credit loans that we expect to be forgiven in 2026. Our cash position continues to support our planned capacity expansion to 2021, and we are actively evaluating financing options for our planned capital expenditures into 2022 and beyond. Now I will turn the call back to Steve for closing remarks.
spk01: Thank you, Jed. In conclusion, we are confident in the trajectory of our business as we move forward. We are extremely pleased with our team's efforts to execute our growth strategy and to continuously build upon the strength of our core competency product application development as we look to capture a growing share of the outsized demand for bioplastics. We are helping our customers fulfill their ESG commitments, and at the same time, we are marching towards our goal of reducing plastic waste in the environment and helping to build a circular economy that we believe will benefit generations to come. We are excited by our progress year to date and believe we are still in the very early innings of an immense opportunity for long-term growth and value creation. Thank you for your time today. We will now open the line for questions.
spk03: Thank you. We'll now be conducting a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question, please press star 1 on your telephone keypad. A confirmation tone will indicate that your line is in the question queue. You may press star 2 if you would like to remove your question from the queue. For participants using speaker equipment, it may be necessary to pick up your handset before pressing the star keys. In the interest of time, we ask that participants limit themselves to one question and one follow-up, and then re-queue for additional questions. One moment, please, while we poll for questions.
spk05: Thank you.
spk03: Our first question comes from Lawrence Alexander with Jefferies. Please proceed with your question.
spk04: Good evening. I have two questions. First, on the partnership with Total, can you give a sense for, can you give a little bit more detail on the benefits, who is committed to what, and how this differs from a regular purchase agreement?
spk01: Sure, Lawrence. Thank you for the question. Basically, our partnership with Total is long-term, and both parties are committed to the supply and offtake of the material.
spk04: Okay, great. And secondly, for the Kentucky One facility, given what you now know about the order book likely mix and current trends in raw material costs, Can the facility in the first half of next year hit your original benchmarks for margins and free cash flow generation on a kind of unit basis, just Kentucky 1 on a standalone basis?
spk05: Lawrence, could you repeat the question?
spk01: I feel like we got part of it cut off here.
spk04: Sure. So given what you know about the order book, likely product mix, raw material cost changes. Should Kentucky One, once it is hitting the full operating rate in the first half of next year, will it be able to hit your original targets for margins and free cash flow generation on a kind of unit basis economics? I mean, will that, you know, just can you give a sense of how well that facility looks to be tracking against what you originally thought?
spk01: Yeah, Lawrence, The Phase 1 and Phase 2 facilities, even though we're calling them Phase 1 and Phase 2, it's really one plant. So it'll be hard to bifurcate that because we've already hired a lot of the folks for Phase 2, and we're going to be continuing to hire through next year. So you can't really separate the two out like that. But, you know, given what we know on the operation side, if we hit the volume numbers, we expect the kind of performance that, you know, that we plan for. Thank you.
spk04: Okay, great. I'll hop back in, too. Thanks.
spk03: Thank you. Our next question is from John Tanwantang with CJS Securities. Please proceed with your question.
spk02: Hi. Thank you for taking my question. Steve, I got dropped in the beginning of the call, and I might have missed this, but did you give an update on the total expected sellout that you have on the pipeline right now for Phase 2 and Phase 3? I think as of the last call, you had a couple customers lined up for Phase 3. Just wondering if that's changed at all, and have you increased that?
spk01: Thanks, John. No, we have not updated that, and there's no change at this point in time. We are... Having some great conversations with some of our customers, though, about that. I will just anecdotally tell you one customer that hasn't been previously discussed, but it's been a long-time customer, recently told us that they have 100 million pounds of business that they want to convert to PHA. Now, that kind of thing takes a long time, even just to negotiate the agreement to do the development work. But it's really an exciting step, I guess, in continuing to build that long-term demand that we see out on the horizon.
spk02: Okay, great. And then you didn't give an ASP number this quarter, so you usually do. I was wondering if you could supply that and also the volume of PHA products in the quarter or maybe an average utilization rate compared to the nameplate capacity.
spk05: Sure.
spk01: The ASP, we have decided that we're not going to continue to provide that due to competitive reasons. We've only provided that in the first place to correct misinformation in the market. And so we're not going to continue that in the future. But we were up slightly on a year-over-year basis and up slightly on a quarter-over-quarter basis. And thank you for asking the second question, because I think I might have misread the script on the utilization in Q2. Q2 utilization was 47%, and Q3 utilization was 62%. Got it. And that's on average, right? And you mentioned October being 70%, I think? October was 70%, correct. Got it. Thank you. Oh, go ahead.
spk02: I'm sorry.
spk01: I was just going to say, you know, as I mentioned earlier, what we've figured out is that all the step functions in phase one are operating in downstream processing are operating near twice as fast as what's required with the exception of drawing. And what we've discovered there is that different grades are drying at different speeds, and we have a fix in place, and we expect to be at that 100% run rate by the end of the year.
spk05: Got it. Thank you.
spk03: Thank you. Our next question is from Thomas Boyce with Cowan & Company. Please proceed with your question.
spk07: Great. Thanks for taking my questions. Just to follow up on that one point. Is really the drying kind of the key thing that needs to be solved between now and the end of the year that's going to get you to 100%? Is there any other gating factors or things that you've identified?
spk01: No, Thomas, thank you. And drying is the only thing that we're not hitting at 100%. We're running on average between 50% and 125% of plan on drying. So that's the last thing that needs to be resolved. And we're very confident in some steps that we have in place. And as I said on the read-through, the Phase 2 drain capacity is coming online in February. So we'll have more than made up for any shortage by that time.
spk07: Perfect. And maybe just because we were talking about the ASPs, canola, I believe, was like $0.47. is per pound last quarter in two kilo and with the expectation that maybe that gets you know appreciated by like 10 cents you know through the end of the year is that still you know I think a good number looking forward what was it this quarter yeah right now our canola price is 58 cents Thomas we expect that well we know it will go to around 80 next quarter the
spk01: The good news here on the supply and the stock pricing is that it has finally leveled off, and we see signs of it now decreasing out in the future. So we continue to work on alternate feedstocks, but one of the things that's happened there is some of the more traditional vegetable oils that we were looking at have not completely closed the gap with canola oil in terms of the cost, but have narrowed that gap so that it A little less interesting to make that switch, but we're continuing to work on that. But long-term, we're focusing on non-food vegetables that we could implement. Now, that will take longer because you actually have to develop the whole value chain. But that's where we're at right now.
spk07: Absolutely. I appreciate the cover. I'll jump back in queue.
spk03: Thank you. Our next question is from Lawrence Alexander with Jefferies. Please proceed with your question.
spk04: Just a question about the brands on slide three. For brands to be listed, is there kind of a timeline or a reasonable timeline for them to hit commercial sort of purchases of your products and putting those in the hands of consumers? Should we be thinking that, say, by 2023 or 2025, all of those brands should be commercial?
spk01: Yeah, I think by 2022 or 2023, it would be reasonable to assume that most of those brands would have some kind of commercial offering, if not all of them.
spk05: Perfect.
spk03: Thank you. Thank you. Our next question comes from John Tanwantang with CJS Securities. Please proceed with your question.
spk02: I just wanted to follow up on the inflation question. As we head into 2022, what's your expectation on the ability to pass costs through, and how much do you think your ASPs are going to go up, you know, ballpark?
spk01: Well, I'm not going to make an estimate on the ASPs, John, but, you know, we feel that comfortable that we can pass most of the inflation that we're seeing through. I guess if there's ever good news in an inflationary environment is everybody's going through the same thing. So it's difficult, but not surprising when you have to pass those on. We've done a couple things here to... mitigate some of the effects of inflation on our business. One in particular, I just want to point out, we have made the decision to break ground on the greenfield this month versus waiting until Q1. And there were two reasons for that. One reason is that The quotes that we were getting were all scheduled to increase if they weren't accepted within a certain time period. So by starting now, we've been able to lock in about 45% of our purchase equipment costs so that we protect those items from further inflation over the life of this project. And then secondly, the Subcontractors off of phase two are just now starting to come off the job. They're kind of drawing down, if you will, off the job. And if we didn't start soon in Georgia, we would lose them. Now, a couple of years ago, if you were doing a project like this, you know, a few month gap between two things wouldn't have been a big deal, but in this environment, if there's going to be a three-month gap between jobs, you're going to lose those contractors. So that was just another motivation to get started a little early, and we believe that will help us hold the timeline as much as possible.
spk02: Got it. Thank you. And just to be clear, was there any inflation in the increase to the $200 million to $210 million this year, or was that purely just the acceleration and pull forward and Maybe just to follow that, what are your expectations for spending in 22?
spk01: We haven't provided that guidance yet, John, but in that 200 to 210 million number was almost entirely the pull-in of the Greenfield project.
spk05: Thank you. Thank you.
spk03: Our next question comes from Thomas Boyce with Cowan and Company. Please proceed with your question.
spk07: I appreciate it. I just want to make sure I understood the recent PLA supply agreement. It sounds like, is this only for applications where it's actually going to be blended with the formulation that includes Zodax? Or would this also include like a neat PLA where you would just be, you know, formulating that for existing customers?
spk01: Yeah, good question, Thomas. So, you know, this is a really important contract to us because of the tightness in the biopolymer market and in the PLA market itself. So it was a really important part of our long-term strategy here to secure that supply. The real intent of it is to use that material to blend with PHA. As you're aware, we're using quite a bit of other polymers in conjunction with PHA, which allows us to sell basically two pounds for every one pound of PHA that we produce. But there's nothing to prevent us from using that PLA on a standalone basis as well.
spk07: Got it. Got it. And then just because there was that pre-buy, do you think that same type of dynamic occurs in 4Q, or is that largely just a normalization?
spk01: Thomas, based on our current forecast, we think that's normalized out already. Got it.
spk07: Perfect. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
spk03: Thank you. Our next question comes from John Tanwantang with CJS Securities. Please proceed with your question.
spk02: Steve, I just wanted to follow up on your point about your customers being constrained. heading to next year. Do you expect that to impact your demand at this point, or is it too early to tell?
spk01: John, I think what we're focused on here is the long term, and we see that demand getting bigger and bigger. In the very short term, and I'm not talking about in a year or anything like that, but over the next several months, it is more difficult to do business out there right now, and there's just no way to get around that. So, you know, we think that that's taking things, it's taking a little longer just to get things done due to those constraints in the economy. But I'm also confident that we'll work around it. You know, one of the things that we've done, which, you know, we've been working on for a while with the advent of COVID, but is the creation of the Dannemere Conversion Lab to facilitate help shorten that acquisition cycle and the development cycle with customers.
spk05: Thank you.
spk03: Thank you. There are no further questions at this time. I would like to turn the floor back over to Steve Kroski for any closing comments.
spk01: Thank you, everyone, for joining us today. We're encouraged by our progress and remain excited about our business prospects as we move into 2022. I would like to say thanks to our shareholders and partners for their continued support. We look forward to updating you in the future.
spk03: This concludes today's conference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation.

This conference call transcript was computer generated and almost certianly contains errors. This transcript is provided for information purposes only.EarningsCall, LLC makes no representation about the accuracy of the aforementioned transcript, and you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the information provided by the transcript.