KiOR, has announced the execution of $100 million in committed equity related financing in two separate private placement transactions to support the Company’s recently announced expansion of production capacity in Columbus, Mississippi, called the Columbus II Project. Once completed with the planned technology enhancements for both Columbus facilities, the Columbus II Project is expected to achieve overall positive cash flow from operations for KiOR.
In the first private placement, KiOR has received $85 million of committed equity related financing from Khosla Ventures III, and various other Khosla entities. This financing consists of the immediate issuance of $42.5 million of Senior Secured Mandatorily Convertible Notes (“Notes”) plus the conversion of $53,197,308 of the Company’s existing senior debt held by the Khosla entities. The Notes will convert into Class A Common Stock at a price of $2.897 per share.
Also as part of this transaction, the Company has received commitments to purchase up to an additional $42.5 million of Class A Common Stock, either through the direct issuance of such equity or conversion of Notes. The conversion of the Notes and the future equity related commitments are contingent upon, among other things, the Company fully funding the Columbus II Project, which it expects to complete through a debt offering, and certain timing restrictions.
“Khosla Ventures and I have reviewed independent reports on the assessment of the technology and conducted our own significant due diligence as part of this commitment. We are pleased to invest in KiOR with Gates Ventures in this equity financing for the Columbus II Project,” said Vinod Khosla.
“I believe that KiOR’s technology for production of cellulosic biofuels can not only serve as the foundation for a successful and sustainably profitable long-term business but can also scale because of the hundreds of saw, pulp and paper mills that have been shut down and have local feedstock available, providing a much more stable and less price volatile feedstock than oil, while fueling the world’s transportation requirements with significantly less geopolitical risk and greenhouse gas emissions on a life cycle basis,” Khosla added. “I expect, as the technology matures over the construction and operation of multiple facilities, it will achieve cost parity with many traditional oil sources such as new deep offshore projects and oil sands, without subsidies.”
In the second private placement, KiOR has received $15 million of committed equity financing from new investor Gates Ventures, LLC, an affiliate of Bill Gates. This equity financing consists of the immediate purchase of $7.5 million of Class A Common Stock and the commitment to purchase an additional $7.5 million of Class A Common Stock. The future equity commitment is contingent upon, among other things, the Company fully funding the Columbus II Project.
“I was impressed when I visited KiOR’s Columbus facility and learned more about the company’s technology,” said investor Bill Gates. “I am happy to be joining the other investors in support of KiOR’s efforts to move its technology forward.”
Fred Cannon, the Company’s chief executive officer noted that the equity financing completes what they currently believe will be the last equity portion of the Columbus II Project. In addition, he said the company believes with the new and prior funding, they expect to achieve positive cash flow from operations sometime in 2015.
“We expect that expanding capacity at Columbus will derisk project execution and allow us to showcase our R&D advancements at scale much quicker,” explained Cannon. “In addition, we expect to quickly order long lead time equipment for the project. We also anticipate that the combination of continuous improvement efforts and R&D advancements that we have already seen in our research scale facilities in Pasadena may allow our existing Columbus facility to increase its targeted nameplate processing capacity to over 600 bone dry tons of feedstock per day before the end of 2014 while achieving significant progress towards our long-term target yield of 92 gallons per bone dry ton of biomass.”
“KiOR still plans to continue to develop our standard scale commercial facility in Natchez,” added Cannon. “We currently intend to preferentially pursue either project-level financing or strategic partnerships for development of our standard scale commercial facilities, including Natchez, unless market conditions would make corporate-level financing more accretive and less dilutive to our shareholders.”