Maple Energy announces various updates regarding its business and operations

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
  • As previously reported, Maple began expanding its sugar cane plantation again in January of this year, and so far this quarter the Company has planted approximately 710 hectares of sugar cane.
  • The Company currently plans to release its preliminary results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2012 (the "Preliminary Results") near the end of April 2013, following the completion of the audit process which is ongoing.

Maple Energy plc (AIM: MPLE; LIMA: MPLE), an integrated energy company with assets in Peru, announces today various updates regarding its business and operations.

Ethanol Business

  • As previously reported, Maple began expanding its sugar cane plantation again in January of this year, and so far this quarter the Company has planted approximately 710 hectares of sugar cane. The plantation size is currently approximately 7,242 hectares, and Maple expects to plant a total of 877 hectares during this quarter and achieve a plantation size of approximately 7,409 hectares by the end of this month.
  • Two additional mechanical harvesters were delivered to the Ethanol Project site in the second half of February 2013, and other harvesting equipment to support the operation of these new harvesters has also been delivered to the site. The Company's fleet of mechanical harvesters has now been increased from six to eight, and this has resulted in an increase in the gross tonnes of sugar cane harvested and delivered to the Ethanol Plant on a daily basis.
  • During the 60-day period ended 28 February 2013, the Ethanol Plant has been available to process sugar cane and produce ethanol for approximately 84% of the time on average as compared to 85% of the time on average for the 60-day period ending 31 December 2012. The approximate 16% of downtime during this most recent period resulted from a combination of both planned and unplanned maintenance activities.
  • An aggregate amount of approximately 156,000 gross tonnes of sugar cane (approximately 140,000 net tonnes) have been harvested and processed during January and February 2013. This net amount of processed sugar cane excludes sugar cane "trash", which primarily consists of green and dry leaves of the sugar cane that are ultimately used as fuel to generate electricity.
  • An aggregate amount of approximately 10,844 cubic metres (approximately 2.865 million gallons) of fuel-grade ethanol have been produced at the Ethanol Plant during January and February 2013. The average ethanol yield during the 60-day period ended 28 February 2013 has been approximately 78.4 litres (approximately 20.7 gallons) per net tonne of sugar cane processed as compared to approximately 87.2 litres (approximately 23.0 gallons) per net tonne of sugar cane processed for the 60-day period ended 31 December 2012.
  • Under the Company's existing sales and distribution agreement, Maple has completed a total of two export sales of fuel-grade ethanol to Mitsui during January and February 2013. These sales were for an aggregate volume of approximately 8,632 cubic metres (approximately 2.280 million gallons) of ethanol destined for customers in the European Union. This accounted for approximately 99% of Maple's ethanol sales by volume during this period, and Maple expects to continue exporting a substantial portion of its ethanol production to international markets.
  • The power generation facilities of the Ethanol Plant are currently supplying substantially all of the electrical energy required for the Ethanol Project's agricultural and industrial operations, and "excess" electricity is being sold to the national power grid. An aggregate amount of approximately 12,480 megawatt-hours were generated at the Ethanol Plant during January and February 2013.

Preliminary Results for 2012

The Company currently plans to release its preliminary results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2012 (the "Preliminary Results") near the end of April 2013, following the completion of the audit process which is ongoing. One of the key performance indicators to be reported on in the Preliminary Results is the Adjusted EBITDA for 2012. This is calculated as operating income/(loss) plus depreciation, amortisation, the impairment provision of Block 31-E, and certain non-cash items, and excludes certain adjustments related to biological assets.

Maple currently believes the Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended 31 December 2012 will be in the range of approximately US$12 million to US$14 million; however, the Adjusted EBITDA for 2012 is still subject to various changes, a number of which could have a material impact on the final figures, and will not be finalized until the audit is complete.

On 13 September 2012, the Company announced that Adjusted EBITDA (as defined in such announcement) for the six months ended 30 June 2012 was US$3,687,000. Maple's Adjusted EBITDA is expected to increase during the course of 2013 due to a number of factors relating to its ethanol business, including but not limited to:

  • a full year of producing and selling ethanol as compared to 2012 which reflected only a partial year of commercial operations;
  • increased amounts of sugar cane being harvested and delivered to the Ethanol Plant;
  • expected higher levels of Ethanol Plant availability as compared to 2012 when the Ethanol Plant was undergoing a "ramp up" period for the processing of sugar cane during the initial phase of operations;
  • a larger plantation size, due to the recent expansion of certain areas in January and February 2013, which should increase the amount of cane available to harvest and process; and
  • certain increases in operating efficiencies in 2013 as compared to 2012.

Rex Canon, CEO of Maple Energy, commented today:

"We are very pleased with our recent progress in expanding the sugar cane plantation which will not only increase the amount of sugar cane feedstock available for the production of fuel-grade ethanol, but should also enable us to increase the utilization of the Ethanol Plant. In addition, the recent acquisition of additional harvesting equipment has allowed us to begin increasing both the amount of sugar cane delivered to the Ethanol Plant and the amount of ethanol produced at our facility. With the expansion of our plantation and harvesting fleet, we believe the value of our ethanol business will be enhanced."

This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser. More

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