In May, Emma Collins was hired to lead the search for four billion Emergey for a new wind farm in Ukraine. Five months later, no cash came in, Collins kept going and the $1.9 billion debt went down in two weeks.
Emma Collins has resigned as CEO of wind energy company Emerge.
This was confirmed by the company, which recently changed its name from NBT, in a press release on Saturday evening.
Here, we thank Collins for her hard work and commitment to the company.
The Briton, who has a background from Asian wind energy development company Wind Energy Holding, was appointed in May to replace NBT founder Joar Viken, who then led the company for the past 15 years.
According to the exchange’s announcement, Collins decided to “go in a different direction and pursue other possibilities.”
He continues, “The board of directors will meet gradually to start the process of appointing a new CEO.”
Emergy was pushed from stronghold to stronghold after Aker surprisingly dropped a reported NOK 3.1 billion acquisition in January of this year.
The financial muscle of the Kjell Inge Røkke industrial group was to ensure the development of Emergy’s planned Zophia wind farm in Ukraine.
Instead, management had to throw itself and look for funds from alternative sources. In recent months, major US bank JP Morgan has helped the company search for investors who will pump 400 million euros into new shares.
This corresponds to nearly four billion kroner at today’s exchange rate. The process was expected to be completed by the end of July, according to Emergy 2020 calculations from the end of June.
But the money still isn’t there, and on November 21 it drops debts close to NOK 1.9 billion, as Emergy received deferred payments on the site in March.
Major changes to NBT: Top manager Joar Viken replaced after 15 years
Termination of the loan agreement – pending pardon
In a recent letter to bondholders on a loan of nearly NOK 750 million, Swedish Emergy’s East Renewable requested a delay in maturities for another 12 months.
Talks with potential investors are described as “constructive,” but they are not expected to yield results until the loan deadline expires in two weeks.
“The company is still trying to fund its business plan, and is actively working with potential sources of capital,” the letter said.
It also states that the loan risks getting into default, because one of the bondholders, the European Development Bank EBRD, refuses to agree to a recent change to Ukraine’s tariff system for renewable energy.
According to Emergy, this change was required, and with such a short signing deadline, the company had to approve it without first obtaining acceptance from its creditors, as required by the loan agreement.
It was emphasized that the EBRD’s position was not unique to Emergy, as the Bank refused to agree to the change also for other projects for which it lent money in Ukraine.
“The lenders have not indicated any intention to take steps that would prevent the project from drawing on debt or accessing business operations as a result of this breach of the loan agreement,” the letter reads.
Emerge further writes that it has asked the EBRD to ease the relevant loan term, but at the same time stresses that as long as this is not accepted, in combination with the risk of default across the group, the parent company has limited ability to raise capital or new debt.
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Mohn: – I think things are going well
Emergy’s largest owner is Arctic Securities, with 25.8 percent.
However, NBT’s 2020 calculations indicate that these shares were sold under futures contracts, and therefore it is not clear what is owned by the brokerage itself and what its clients have.
Moreover, several regular clients are at the bottom of the list of shareholders, such as Block Wathne heir Lars Nilsen with 10.2 percent, Aker mentioned with 8.3 percent and billionaire marine and arctic contributor Trond Mohn with 2.9 percent.
– I’ve been with you for a long time, I think things are going well. Mohn wrote in a text message to E24 that the winds on the ground are good.
On advice about Collins leaving before the weekend, E24 has already asked board members and Emergy’s management to confirm this.
E24 reached out to Mohn before the departure was officially confirmed in the exchange’s announcement, and he did not respond to questions about it.
Had to close the factory after the fire
Emergy has the distinction of being one of the largest developers of renewable energy in Ukraine, and after much deliberation it was able to complete the Syvash wind farm this summer.
The project involved investments of more than 4 billion NOK, and is a collaboration between NBT and Total Eren.
During October, a fire broke out in one of the park’s 63 wind turbines, which is suspected to have been caused by faults both in electrical connections and during actual installation work.
In connection with the investigation of other wind turbines, another small fire broke out.
“As a safety measure, the wind farm has been temporarily closed while various safety measures are being implemented,” said an update from the company on November 1.
The Zophia project is more than three times the size of Syvash, with a capacity of nearly 800 megawatts, and is estimated to generate nearly NOK 12 billion in foreign investment in Ukraine, according to the Emergy website.
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