Categories Earnings Call Transcripts, Other Industries

Danimer Scientific Inc. (DNMR) Q2 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

DNMR Earnings Call - Final Transcript

Danimer Scientific Inc.  (NYSE: DNMR) Q2 2022 earnings call dated Aug. 09, 2022

Corporate Participants:

Russ Zukowski — President of Corporate Finance

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Mike Hajost — Chief Financial Officer

Analysts:

Jon Tanwanteng — CJS Securities — Analyst

Thomas Boyes — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Greetings. Welcome to Danimer Scientifics Second Quarter 2022 earnings call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to Russ Zukowski, President of Corporate Finance.

Russ Zukowski — President of Corporate Finance

Thank you, operator. And thank you, everyone, for joining us today for our second quarter 2022 earnings call. Hosting the call today are Danimer’s CEO, Steve Croskrey; and CFO, Mike Hajost. 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.

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Russ. Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining. Danimer continues to make significant progress during the second quarter of 2022 and we believe that we remain on track to achieve our outlook for the full year and beyond. Our customer conversations and business development efforts have been productive and our leadership position in research and development is bolstering our existing relationships, while also creating new interest in our best-in-class biodegradable offerings. As a result, we are working hard to expand our capacity, which is tracking to plan. Today, I will discuss our second quarter highlights, recent business development updates, and the progress of our capacity expansion plans.

As we have discussed over the past couple of quarters, every initiative we have undertaken aligns with our key strategic priorities shown on slide 3. These priorities are: number one, expand our capacity to achieve substantial economies of scale through both organic production capacity in Kentucky and Georgia, and by leveraging third-party manufacturing and license agreements. We are also happy to announce that our Kentucky Phase II expansion started commissioning successfully in June, which I will discuss later in the call.

Number two, lead with innovation to address a broad range of customer needs as we focus on leveraging our core competency of formulation and application development in addition to licensing agreements. An important example of this is our license and supply agreement with Kemira that we announced in May.

Number three, grow customer partnerships and product volume commitments with global blue-chip customers with the expectation of securing future demand for our increasing capacity.

Number four, secure cost-effective inputs, such as our research collaborations with institutions to evaluate attractive alternate feedstocks that can serve as an important input in our leading biodegradable formulations. Furthermore, we are developing capabilities for in-house production of key raw materials.

Number five, attain favorable unit economics to enhance margins. First, through increased capacity utilization at existing facilities than ramping up production of Renovo [Phonetic].

And number six, enhanced team capabilities to support growth across manufacturing, business development, R&D, information technology, human resources and finance. We remain focused on these strategic imperatives to drive our business forward.

Turning to slide 4, we continue to execute our growth strategy during the second quarter. We grew our PHA revenue by approximately 85% year-over-year, which now represents 61% of our total revenues, compared to just 29% in the second quarter last year. Additionally, we made further progress towards expanding our capacity and successfully started commissioning Kentucky Phase II operations in June. This was in line with our plan. Phase II operations are initially hitting the upper bounds of our expectations for individual assets, and we have found that we may have opportunities for capex savings in the future as we increase production.

In regards to financing, we were pleased to be invited to submit a part 2 application for a loan guarantee under the United States Department of Energy Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program. Although this invitation does not assure that we will secure the loan, it does represent further progress in our discussions with the DOE and reflects the loan programs offices determination that our project satisfies the technical eligibility requirements. While we continue to work closely with the DOE, we are also evaluating alternatives for financing our capital needs.

Moving to slide 5. As a reminder, our customers are primarily major blue chip multinational brands that have all made long-term commitments to make their plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or biodegradable. As previously announced in May, we entered into an exclusive license and supply agreement with Kemira to commercialize biodegradable aqueous barrier coatings to be used on paper-based food and beverage applications globally. Importantly, this license and supply agreement lays the foundation for a new revenue stream where Danimer has already been cash flow positive from day one without significant capex investment, while further supporting the global commercialization of this material.

Since our announcement of this collaboration in May, our relationship with Kemira remains strong. We are meeting necessary development goals and expect to have materials available for market testing by the end of this year. We have also continued to make great R&D progress with Mars Wrigley and note as a recent update, that the packaging for skills is passing all of their internal tests and encouraging development. While we are advancing projects with our existing multinational developmental partners like Mars Wrigley, PepsiCo and numerous others, we are also focused on discussions with major quick service restaurant chains.

We spoke to you about our relationship with Starbucks last quarter, which is progressing well. Biodegradable Nodax based straws have been well received in Starbucks stores and are reaching millions of consumers. We are also excited to note that we are currently in discussions with and providing sample products to a total of five of the top 10 largest quick service restaurants in the world.

Separately, our converter partner Genpact is now testing takeout containers at select locations and remains on track to launch their GenZero product line in the fourth quarter of this year. Another converter partner of ours Columbia Packaging Group recently started selling Nodax based straws to HEB, the largest grocer in the State of Texas for their in-store dining. And also now sells these straws to HMS Host, the primary service provider for almost every airport in the country.

Furthermore, in May, our customer Plackers launched the first ever 100% biodegradable dental flossers utilizing Danimers Nodax. Since pioneering the first dental flosser over 45 years ago, Plackers has been at the forefront of world care innovation for nearly half a century, and we were honored to partner with them on their initiatives to provide a biodegradable alternative for this everyday household items.

In regards to potential new application formulations, we are currently in discussions with a packaging supplier for the potential development of items such as protective biodegradable plastic packaging for shipping materials. On the regulatory side, additional legislation banning traditional plastic use has also helped fuel interest in our solutions. Canada, India and the State of California have each recently announced legislation against types of traditional plastic use with all having certain exemptions for biopolymers, representing a positive tailwind for our industry. Additionally, Danimer has been working to engage and educate local, state, federal and global governments on Nodax PHA as an alternative to traditional plastics.

As I have mentioned in the past, timing of customer launches is the most variable factor as it relates to the shipment of our products. There are really two forces currently at work in this complex environment as it relates to customer readiness for our products. One is interest in our solutions, which is higher than it’s ever been. On the other hand, many existing and potential customers still faced supply chain bottlenecks inflation and overall economic concerns that impacted timing of orders and deliveries.

As an example, several straw converters are sold out, some have had supply chain issues delaying new equipment that they required to increase their own capacity. While these factors may continue to impact customer timelines in the near term, we currently expect several significant customer product launches starting as early as Q4 and running into 2023.

In total, these product launches will collectively require an amount of our PHA based product that is well in excess of our Kentucky capacity. It’s important to remember those launches show up in our results gradually largely in step with the typical cadence of our customers’ new product rollout. So we expect to see an initial benefit to our volume next year, followed by a more pronounced step up in shipments as we move into 2024.

Moving to slide 6. Looking at our facility expansions, we were pleased to start commissioning Phase II of the Kentucky facility during the second quarter. Based on how we operate the facility and report information, I would like to note that Phase I and Phase II outputs moving forward will be communicated as a single entity, the Kentucky facility. The facility now has an annual nameplate finished product capacity up to an expected 65 million pounds, which as a reminder, includes both PHA and other compounded biodegradable materials.

As I mentioned earlier, based on early performance at the expanded Kentucky facility, the new fermentation yields are higher than we previously anticipated and have exceeded our initial expectations for both pounds produced and time required. While we are still evaluating potential future time and cost savings from these efficiencies, we believe that some of the value engineering we have been able to perform has provided opportunities for additional cost savings down the road at the Kentucky facility. Furthermore, Danimer is now demonstrated the engineering procurement and construction management skills necessary for future start-ups, including the Georgia greenfield plant.

Turning to our greenfield facility in Bainbridge Georgia on Slide 7. As we discussed with you last quarter, while we are committed to instituting this critical capacity for growth, we remain nimble and flexible as to the pace of capital spending and we have slowed spending on this project in the near term to be prudent with cash. I would note however that we are encouraged by the learnings from our successful expansion in Kentucky, which should allow for further value engineering to maximize the efficiency of the greenfield facility.

Based on our current plan, we continue to expect the greenfield facility to start up in 2024. As it relates to our operations at Danimer Catalytic Technologies, based on our development work to date, we’re even more confident in the long-term opportunity to improve our cost profile through combining renewable with Nodax at commercial scale.

Additionally, our discussions are progressing with several major ethylene oxide producers in the US Gulf Coast for supply arrangements, site colocation and other ancillary agreements related to the manufacturing of renewable products. We are also excited about the progress we are making in discussions with several potential partners about licensing there Renovo Technology [Phonetic].

With that, let me turn the call over to Mike for an update on our financial results.

Mike Hajost — Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Steve. I’ll speak to Slide 8. We closed out the second quarter with sales of $12.7 million compared to $14.5 million in the prior year second quarter driven primarily by lower PLA sales and also lower R&D revenue. This was partially offset by an increase in PSA sales. The total product revenue is nearly even in the comparable periods, but the mix of products has shifted considerably towards PHA. PHA based resin sales were up 84.5% to 7.7 million, representing 61% of total revenues compared to 29% in the prior year quarter. The increase in sales of PHA based resins mostly offset a decline in PLA sales. As a reminder, a portion of PLA sales was negatively impacted by customer operations in the Ukraine. And given the uncertainties there, we believe that this business will not return in 2022.

We reported a second-quarter gross loss of approximately $2.2 million compared to gross profit of $2 million in the prior year period. On an adjusted basis, gross profit was approximately $200,000 compared to $4.1 million in the prior year quarter. The decrease in adjusted gross profit was primarily driven by lower R&D gross profit due in part to the reduction in R&D revenue and the timing impact of associated R&D project spend captured in each period. And lower PLA volumes, which continue to have a higher adjusted gross margin than PHA although that differential is diminishing as the volumes of each product change. Said another way, our PHA margin improved as volumes of that product increased and our PLA margin decreased as six costs were expense across the lower volume base.

As we have mentioned previously, we expect our average cost per unit at our existing facilities to improve as PHA production scales. For the second quarter 2022 R&D and SG&A expenses, excluding depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation, Brent and one-time items, were $12.2 million compared to $6.7 million in the prior year quarter, mainly attributable to an increase in headcount and salaries to support R&D efforts and our future expansion plans, as well as increases in costs associated with having a larger asset base such as property and liability insurance.

In addition, this quarter includes approximately $1.2 million of R&D and operating expenses related to Danimer Catalytic Technologies, which we did not own in the prior year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was a loss for the second quarter of $12.9 million compared to a loss of $2.7 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to the factors I discussed in our gross profit SG&A and R&D results. Adjusted EBITDA excludes stock comp, other income and other add-backs and reconciled in the appendix.

Second quarter adjusted EBITDAR was a loss of $12 million compared to a loss of $2.6 million in the second quarter of 2021. We add back our rent expense because it is primarily related to a sale leaseback agreement associated with the Kentucky facility, and thus is essentially a replacement of depreciation and interest expense. Our total debt outstanding was approximately $263.4 million at quarter end, net of $9.7 million of unamortized debt issuance costs, and includes $21 million of low interest New Markets Tax Credit loans that we expect will be forgiven in 2026. Our cash position at the end of the second quarter was $140.4 million.

Looking at our outlook for the full year of 2022 on Slide 9. As we view full-year 2022, we expect this to be another year of sound investment with an intense focus on getting our PHA business to profitability. For the full year 2022, we reiterate that we expect adjusted EBITDA will be in the range of negative $45 million to negative $35 million. We also reiterate our expectation for the Kentucky facility to turn profitable during 2022 as we increase capacity and drive operational efficiencies at the expanded facility.

For 2022, the positive year-over-year contribution from higher PHA based resin volumes will be more than offset by several factors I previously discussed, as well as today. This includes lower PLA sales and a full year of expense associated with higher headcount and other costs to support our asset base, as well as a full year of operating cost in Danimer Catalyst technologies, formerly Novomer, to support the future commercialization of these products.

Regarding cash flow, we announced the capital expenditures in 2022 to be in the range of $175 million to $185 million, inclusive of capitalized interest and internal labor. We will remain flexible with our spending, so that we can speed up or slow down the greenfield construction given the rising cost environment and supply chain uncertainties that are impacting that project. With the flexibility in our spend, we now expect to end the year 2022 with cash in excess of $60 million. We believe our adjusted EBITDA and capex outlook provided constructive framework for improved results from our PHA business. Combined with the investments we’re making elsewhere in our business, we believe that we are on the path to profitability in coming years.

Looking beyond 2022, we believe our PHA revenue is poised to drive a significant increase in our overall profitability. PLA revenues will likely remain challenged. We have already made significant investments in our SG&A and R&D that we can now leverage over time as revenues grow. And our investments in Danimer Catalytic Technologies are progressing as planned. We expect this business to contribute meaningfully to our results. We are confident in our ability to execute against our strategic objectives with a prudent focus on profitability and cash management.

Now I will turn the call back to Steve for closing remarks.

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Mike. In conclusion, and as we look to the second half of 2022, we will maintain our focus on executing our initiatives which are aligned with the six strategic priorities of our growth strategy. We are focused on the immense long-term opportunity to transform the plastics market. We are confident that we can continue working closely with our customers to overcome near-term quarter-to-quarter volatility. With our development expertise, expanded capacity, large portfolio of patents, and a growing blue chip customer base, we believe we are well ahead of our competition and have a clear path to deliver on our reaffirmed goals for 2022 and beyond. Thank you for your time today and we look forward to update you on our progress. We will now open up the line for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question is from Jon Tanwanteng with CJS Securities. Please proceed.

Jon Tanwanteng — CJS Securities — Analyst

Yes. Hi, good afternoon. It’s Pete Lucas for John. In terms of PHA, you mentioned revenues up 85% year-over-year. Now, I think you said 61% of total revenue. Can you tell us how volumes and pricing are trending on a sequential basis and where you expect each of those to go in Q3 or give us any detail around that?

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thanks, Pete. I’ll have to ask Mike to answer that one.

Mike Hajost — Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, Pete, we’ve really seen, I’d say on a revenue basis, we really saw pretty much the same, roughly same volumes and revenue from the PHA business Q1 into Q2. Again, putting a lot of the dynamics that we’re seeing with supply chains and economic, things like that, as we’ve commented. I think within all of that, I think we’ve seen relatively stable pricing between those two periods as well.

Jon Tanwanteng — CJS Securities — Analyst

Helpful. Thanks. And then, sticking with PHA, have you — have your PHA customers resolved or made any progress with their conversion equipment supply issues?

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Yes, Pete, they have, although I would say it’s not completely online and up to speed, but there was definite progress made from Q1 to Q2.

Jon Tanwanteng — CJS Securities — Analyst

Great. And then — actually, you covered everything else. Great. Thanks. I’ll jump back in the queue.

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Pete.

Operator

Our next question is from Thomas Boyes with Cowen and Company. Please proceed.

Thomas Boyes — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Thanks for taking my questions, maybe first, now that we’re looking at Kentucky as a combined facility. Could you help give us a little insight into maybe what the current utilization rate is or maybe with utilization rate, you would expect in order to hit profitability level?

Mike Hajost — Chief Financial Officer

Yes, I think — Hi, Thomas, it’s Mike. I think overall, I think right now as we brought on a whole second stage of that which we’re just commissioning right now, but I think overall, we’re running at levels that are pretty consistent with what the original capacity was of that facility, give or take. So what we’re really focused on now is continuing to commission and bring on the additional capacity that’s going to help really bring that facility to be turn breakeven EBITDA positive some time yet this year in 2022.

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

And Thomas, if I could just add to that, the way we model the ramp on the start-up is, we expect after two years to be at 90% of nameplate capacity. We — that’s how we model it. We do believe that we can do better than that though because if you recall, it took us two years to get Phase I up to a 100%. And so we learned quite a bit during that process. So we should be able to do this more quickly. But in our actual models, we’re showing a 90% utilization after two years.

Thomas Boyes — Cowen and Company — Analyst

That’s very, very helpful. Maybe as it relates to funding, great to see the progress there with the DOE loan getting the part 2 but is there a certain line in the sand that you think that you need to hit in order to keep the green facility on track to start production in 2024?

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Yes, Tom. I think overall, as we said, we’re willing to either slow down or speed up the funding of that project. And I don’t think there’s really a line in the sand. It’s going to — we’re going to slow it down and make sure that we’ve got the financing in place before we commit additional funding towards that. So there’s nothing really in our mind right now. We think we’re making good progress through the application of Phase II. Typically, they say that takes about six months in a best case scenario and it’s likely going to be longer than that, what we saw in Phase I. But we do believe that sometime in 2023 is a fair assumption for us to have that in place and we’re still feeling confident that we’ll get that done, which then puts us in having a facility operational sometime in 2024.

Thomas Boyes — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Appreciate it. And maybe if I could sneak one more back in and then I’ll hop into the queue. I just would love to get an update maybe on the work you’ve been able to do with the biodegradable lids, especially given the work you’ve done with Kemira paper cups, you have the straw, seems like there’s an opportunity there to offer holistic solution?

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Yes, Thomas. We’re doing very well with lids. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a specific thing at this point, but we’re starting to talk with customers about store trials and things like that. So, it’s progressing well. But I can’t offer any customer specifics, but we’re still very excited about it. As we recall, I think I mentioned on the last call that that was the first project that we ever approached where we actually were able to make lids on the first pass and it’s something that I’m super excited about in terms of our developmental cycles and just our R&D work that what we see is after years and years of doing R&D projects across the business that now those are translating into much quicker development or short much shorter development timelines as we take on some new projects.

Thomas Boyes — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Absolutely. I appreciate the color. I’ll hop back in the queue.

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

All right. Thanks, Thomas.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Okay. We do have a follow-up from Thomas with Cowen and Company. Please proceed.

Thomas Boyes — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Yes, if I could just — it’s kind one of my perennial questions I guess. So I was just wondering if you could give us an update on canola prices that you’re able to lock in. And maybe if you could talk a little bit more about any progress that you were able to make around soybeans or pennycresses as an alternative feedstock?

Mike Hajost — Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Thomas, this is Mike. I’ll talk about canola and Steven can talk about pennycresses and the others. But, yes, the average price that we put in the product in the second quarter was about $0.78 cents a pound. And as you know the slot pressures occurring in the world, that has caused canola prices to increase. We’ve locked in at an average of about $0.92 per pound for the second half of this year, and about $0.86 per pound for the first half of 2023. So we’re in conversations with our industry contacts and I think the expectations that they’re providing to us is that they would expect a decline in the future as the industry adjusts to world events. So I think there is more land that can be planted with this to offset some of the issues that we’re seeing in the Ukraine and that situation over there.

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thanks, Mike. And I’ll just add just a little color to that and talk about these other items. If you recall, prior to the war in the Ukraine, we were starting to forecast that we were seeing this market stabilize. And then, unfortunately, the Ukraine is one of the largest producers of canola in the world. And so that impacted vegetable — not just canola but soybean and things like that, so that impacted the vegetable oil market globally. And as Mike said, it will just take some time now for the industry to react to that and sort it out.

You asked about soybean, that project’s gone very well and continues to go very well, but unfortunately soybean oil had — was impacted the same way that canola oil was impacted in terms of pricing. We are continuing to work on pennycress which we’re also excited about, but that’s a longer term project because crops have to be planted to create seeds, which has happened this year. So the idea being that next year a large — a crop could be put in for production purposes.

At this point, we don’t really know what those prices will look like but we’re hopeful that there will be some benefit there because it’s not used in food. So there’ll be less demand for that particular product than for other products. And then I just to wrap that up, I would say that also tell you that we have seen some renewed customer interest in using used vegetable oil and so we expect to be doing some trials on that in the very near future. And we’ve done trials before but I’m talking about specific trials with specific customers that are interested in us turning their oil into products like cutlery and straws and lids and things like that. Thank you for the question.

Thomas Boyes — Cowen and Company — Analyst

Thanks for the insight.

Operator

That concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Steve for closing comments.

Steve Croskrey — Chief Executive Officer

All right, thanks everyone for joining us today. I’d like to thank you for your continued interest in Danimer Scientific and we look forward to updating you on our progress in the future.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

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