November 10, 2008
Black River Invests Significant Sum to Joint Venture With White Energy in Africa
SYDNEY, Australia, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- White Energy Company Limited (White Energy ) is pleased to announce that it has signed a joint venture agreement with an entity managed by Black River Asset Management LLC (Black River), an independently managed subsidiary of Cargill, under which White Energy and Black River will jointly develop and commercialise White Energy's coal upgrading technology throughout Africa.
White Energy and Black River will establish a special purpose company (the Company) to be held 51% by White Energy and 49% by Black River. The Company will actively originate, develop, construct and operate coal upgrading plants in Africa either on its own or in conjunction with companies in Africa having access to appropriate coal reserves and/ or power companies looking to increase their energy output. The Company will have the exclusive rights to utilise White Energy's coal upgrading technology on the African continent.
The African market represents a significant opportunity for White Energy's coal upgrading process. In addition to the traditional application of White Energy's technology, namely the upgrading of lower rank coal reserves to increase the coal's energy efficiency, there is also significant further opportunity for the Company in Africa relating to the treatment and processing of discard coal fines. The White Energy process can also be used as a means of producing stable and transportable lump coal from unwanted undersized fractions of high energy bituminous coals.
White Energy and Black River have been actively analysing the market and reviewing opportunities in Africa for some time and have already commenced discussions with a number of key players interested in working with the Company in Africa. The Company will now work to crystalise these opportunities.
Key elements of the Joint Venture are: -- The Company will be owned 51% by White Energy and 49% by Black River and will be controlled by White Energy; -- Notwithstanding the ownership of the Company, any equity contributions to the Company will be funded 66% by Black River and 34% by White Energy; -- White Energy will receive a large upfront payment from the Company immediately upon its establishment; -- Black River has committed, subject to milestones, US$70 million for its 49% interest in the Company. The majority of these funds together with White Energy's equity contribution of approximately US$31 million over time will be conditional, inter alia, upon the Company agreeing to proceed with projects that meet the Company's agreed investment criteria; -- White Energy will grant the Company an exclusive license to use its technology on the African continent; -- In addition to profit generated from its equity interest in the Company, White Energy will receive an ongoing royalty stream from projects undertaken by the Company ; and -- White Energy and Black River believe that the Joint Venture will be an attractive proposition from a public markets' perspective and will consider listing the Company in the medium term.
White Energy's managing director, Mr. John Atkinson said, "White Energy is delighted to partner with Black River who have an enviable global reputation and significant access to capital. Black River has been a shareholder and supporter of the Company for a number of years now and importantly have considerable experience in the coal sector in Africa. Black River's capital and experience in the market, together with White Energy's technology and operating expertise is a compelling combination. The expansion of White Energy's operation into Africa represents an exciting new phase for White Energy and is consistent with its desire to establish a global business".
Black River's Senior Portfolio Manager, Torben Thordsen said, "Black River has been a shareholder of White Energy for more than two years. Given our experience in Africa and our interaction to date with African coal and power companies, we believe that White Energy's upgrading technology and its unique process could go a long way to improving energy output in Africa. Accordingly we have committed, subject to certain conditions, US$70 million and significant resources to work with White Energy to build a substantial enterprise in Africa".
About White Energy
White Energy is the exclusive worldwide license holder of the Binderless Coal Briquetting process that upgrades lower rank coal to significantly increase its energy efficiency. The process was developed by Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation in conjunction with TraDet Inc, K.R. Komarek Inc and The Griffin Coal Mining Company Pty Ltd. The patented process involves the crushing, drying and briquetting of high moisture coals, resulting in the reduction of the moisture content of the coal and converting the product into a higher energy content, stable product, whilst maintaining the low sulphur, low ash characteristics of the feedstock coal. The advantages of the White Energy process involve creating a higher energy value coal, creating a physically and chemically stable product, significantly enhancing coal transportation efficiencies and creating a higher energy value release. The process has been shown to be cost and operationally superior to competing technologies and represents a first step in building a cleaner coal solution.
White Energy is in the process of commercialising this technology and is currently constructing a one million tonne per annum plant in Indonesia in joint venture with PT Bayan Resources. The Company also has a joint venture agreement with Adaro Group, one of Indonesia's largest coal companies and Itochu Corporation, a major Japanese trading house respectively, to build additional coal upgrading plants in Indonesia. Further, White Energy has signed a Heads of Agreement with Datang International Power Generation Company in relation to the development of coal upgrading plants in China and has completed a feasibility study with Buckskin Mining Company and NRG Power Marketing LLC in respect of a project to construct coal upgrading plants at the Buckskin mine in Campbell County, Wyoming. In addition to these projects, the company is actively reviewing a number of other opportunities in the markets mentioned and is also considering proposals to deploy its technology in other markets such as India and Mongolia.
White Energy Company Limited has offices in Australia, USA, Indonesia and China. For more information please go to http://www.whiteenergyco.com/.
About Black River Asset Management
Black River Asset Management LLC, an independently managed subsidiary of Cargill, Incorporated, is a global asset management company that provides sophisticated institutional investors with alternative investment opportunities. Black River draws on a global investment team deploying a wide range of strategies to develop multiple perspectives on investment opportunities, with the single vision of meeting our investors' expectations. Black River's multi-national investment team is made up of more than 135 investment professionals based in 14 offices around the globe in both developed and emerging markets. Black River's private equity professionals seek to successfully respond to the dynamic landscape of global equity investing, and their investment activities are based on a foundation of global experience and a long history and understanding of commodities and related industries in emerging markets. For more information please go to http://www.black-river.com/.
For Further Information Call: John Atkinson Managing Director White Energy Company Limited + 61 2 9959 0000
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, plans and objectives. In some cases, you may identify forward-looking statements by words such as "may,""should,""plan,""intend,""potential,""continue,""believe,""expect,""predict,""anticipate" and "estimate," the negative of these words or other comparable words. These statements are only predictions. One should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are qualified by their terms and/or important factors, many of which are outside the Company's control, involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from the statements made. The forward-looking statements are based on the Company's beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account information currently available to the Company. These beliefs, assumptions and expectations can change as a result of many possible events or factors, including those events and factors described in "Risk Factors" in the prospectus, not all of which are known to the Company. Neither the Company nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of these statements. The Company will update the information in this press release only to the extent required under applicable securities laws. If a change occurs, the Company's business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in the aforementioned forward-looking statements.
White Energy Company Limited
CONTACT: John Atkinson, Managing Director of White Energy CompanyLimited, +61-2-9959-0000
Web Site: http://www.whiteenergyco.com/