Novvi Exits Bankruptcy with New Structure


Novvi Exits Bankruptcy with New Structure
Novvi LLC in August 2020 announced the start-up of its biobased base oil plant in Deer Park, Texas, The plant also produces renewable process oils for polymer, adhesives and personal care industries. Photo courtesy of Novvi LLC.

Renewable base stock supplier Novvi emerged from voluntary bankruptcy last week with a new ownership structure and a capital infusion aimed at helping it take steps toward scaling up its business.

Its case, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, concluded Jan. 25 after the presiding judge approved a reorganization plan that includes a capital infusion of $25 million by one of its stakeholders, H&R Group.

H&R is now one of two stakeholders of the business, the other being Chevron. When the case was filed Dec. 3, Novvi had four stakeholders – those two plus chemical company Amyris and petroleum specialty supplier American Refining Group. Neither Amyris nor ARG responded to requests for comment.

Novvi declined to specify the size of the ownership stakes now held by H&R and Chevron, but an amended Chapter 11 plan filed Jan. 25 stated that Novvi’s board of directors now has three seats, two occupied by H&R and one by Chevron.

“Over the past 60 days, our balance sheet and equity ownership were restructured to provide a course towards financial stability,” Novvi said Tuesday in a news release.

When the case was filed, Novvi declared $2.9 million in unsecured trade debt and $26.8 million of debt to H&R and Chevron. All along Novvi officials said they intended to fully cover liabilities – not to write off any debt – and to convert the debt of the two stakeholders to equity.

Novvi operates a factory in LaPorte, Texas, that derives base stocks and other materials from a variety of plants. Officials have said it encountered financial challenges because of its lack of success scaling up its business. The LaPorte plant, which has production capacity of 25,000 metric tons per year, is currently under-utilized. The company’s strategy is to increase sales so as to more fully utilize that capacity and then invest in additional capacity.

According to the reorganization plan approved by the court, H&R has committed to contributing $25 million in capital and other funding, which would be used to cover operating expenses, research and development and small capital projects aimed at improving processes and increasing flexibility of LaPorte operations.

The reorganization plan does not mention such an infusion by Chevron.

H&R and Chevron are both customers of Novvi, but most of Novvi’s sales are to other customers.