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SES to supply gasifiers to Brazil’s Vamtec Vitoria in deal worth more than USD 100m

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES) is slated to supply coal gasification technology to a USD 400m Vamtec Vitoria SA biodiesel production plant, according to Vamtec Vitoria Feasibility and Project Director Jean Levitre.

The deal is likely to be valued at more than USD 100m. SES CEO DeLome Fair yesterday that the company remains in “strong consideration” for a project in South America that could net it over USD 100m in revenue, likely in reference to the Vamtec Vitoria project. Pressed by analysts for more information about the deal, she declined to provide further comment.

Vamtec Vitoria recently received a nod from the municipal legislature in Candiota, Brazil to build a local USD 400m methanol gasification-based biodiesel production plant, according to local media reports. The facility will provide 750 tonnes/day of methanol to the local market and utilize SES technology to gasify low rank coal.

Vamtec Vitoria has signed a letter of intent to purchase a 70MW turbine from Mitsubishi Groupsubsidiary Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the facility. The company is also planning to build a 4000 t/d coal gasification train, 1300 t/d oxygen plant, 1300 t/d argon plant and 200 t/d argon plant. It is preparing an environmental impact assessment now that should be completed within two to three months. Vamtec will meet with its undisclosed investment partner in December to review the capex and opex of the project and, if green lighted,seek an EPC contractor by 2H17.

Vamtec is looking for financing to support the construction of the project, according to local media. The company is attempting to raise 70% of the value of the facility via the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) and the remaining 30% via equity investors. Levitre said it is in talks with various investors now and declined to provide more information.

The Vamtec Vitoria plant will help reduce Brazil’s reliance on imported methanol, a key component of biodiesel. Each liter of biodiesel contains about 12% methanol and Brazil currently imports about 1.5m tonnes of the chemical compound annually. Brazil has ramped up its biodiesel production in recent years, a development that has contributed to a 675m-tonne reaction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Based in Houston, Texas, SES sells technology that can convert low grade coal, biomass and municipal solid waste into energy products for applications in the power generation, industrial fuels, chemicals, fertilizers and transportation fuels industries. The company reported revenues of USD 500,000 for the three months ended 30 June, down from USD 4.6m on the year. As of that same day it had USD 13.8m in cash and cash equivalents and USD 2.4m in working capital.

SES has built extensive ties to industry and government in China over the last several years. It is angling to use its base of operations in the country to faciliate a global expansion in the company years. For example, the company’s Chinese joint venture with Suzhou Thvow Technology Co Ltd, known as Suzhou Tianwo SES, is likely to be involved in supplying equipment to SES’ projects in South America, CEO DeLome Fair said earlier this year. Simon India Ltd, another SES partner based in India, is also likely to be involved, Fair said at the time.

SES declined to comment on this story.

 

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IIICorp Featured Opportunity of the Week – China Three Gorges, SGCC in the frame to buy stakes in Brazil’s Santo Antônio do Jari hydropower project

Odebrecht Energia, a unit of Brazilian construction major Odebrecht SAGrupo Cemig, and Construtora Andrade Gutierrez could be negotiating the sale of their respective stakes [totaling 51% at about USD 2.6bn (CNY 17bn)], in the Santo Antônio do Jari hydropower project.China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) and State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) are two of the candidates to pick up the stakes.

The Santo Antônio do Jari project is built on the Madeira River in Rondônia. It has an installed capacity of 3568MW, when all the turbines will be installed, which is estimated to be around November 2016.

“The Brazilian entities reach out to CTG and SGCC, and expect to sell the stakes to Chinese corporations. They are also in talks with the companies from other countries,” said Li Chang, a source from China’s Economic and Commercial Counsellor in Brazil, a part of the People’s Republic’s Ministry of Commerce.

“This deal is in process. But they decline to share more information with us,” Li added.

 

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Featured Story of the Week: SGCC bid for Abengoa’s Brazilian assets faces delays arising from deal’s complex, politically-sensitive nature

State Grid Corporation of China’s (SGCC) planned purchase of Abengoa SA’s Brazilian power transmission operations is facing ongoing delays as a result of the high level of complexity it has encountered in the asset evaluation process. That’s according to Xiao Bin (肖斌), an official at theState Grid Brazil Holding SA (国家电网巴西控股公司), the local subsidiary of SGCC, who made reference to the highly diverse nature of the assets in question and their complicated financial position.

“The acquisition is still in talks and there is n0_1_21st_Century_Silk_Road_Map_thumb_1460933781855o certain time for how long it will take,” Xiao said. He added that a formal proposal has yet to be made.

SGCC’s confusion is shared by industry analysts who have also had difficulty estimating the value of Abengoa’s Brazilian assets, which comprises facilities that are operational and reneue-generating as well as ones that are being developed. In the latter category, Abengoa has about 6,000km of transmission lines under construction that will require the purchaser to take on billions of dollars of future investments.

The Brazilian government has indicated that it would expect a large and well-capitalized entity like SGCC to acquire all of Abengoa’s Brazilian assets as a package.

This news service previously reported, citing a SGCC source, that this transaction was a politically sensitive one and that it should not be viewed as a simple sale and purchase agreement between two companies. The state-owned Chinese company, which has invested USD 2.58bn (CNY 16.83bn) in Brazil’s power transmission sector since 2010, believes that the expertise it has developed via the construction of China’s vast ultra-high-voltage projects over the past two years gave it a competitive advantage over rival bidders.

Financially-distressed Abengoa, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2015, is Brazil’s largest non-state owned power transmission operator. Its Brazilian operations have total net debts of USD 825m (CNY 5.4bn), of which more than USD 218m (CNY ) are owed to local equipment suppliers in the country, according to the electricity industry association Abinee.

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