The units of HLBE held by the Company immediately prior closing of Merger shall be cancelled with no consideration issued to the Company. The Company will emerge from the transaction as the sole owner of HLBE.
At the time the Merger becomes effective, 100 percent of the membership interest in the Merger Sub shall be converted into and become 100 percent of the membership interests in HLBE, as the surviving company in the Merger.
The Merger is subject to approval by the Minority Ownership Interest. A Special Meeting of the members of HLBE is expected to be held in summer 2021 to vote on the proposed Merger. If approved by the Minority Ownership Interest, the Merger is expected to close following the special meeting.
Upon closing of the Merger, HLBE will file a Certification and Notice of Termination of Registration with the SEC, which will allow HLBE to operate without being registered with the SEC. Upon termination of HLBE’s SEC registration, we expect HLBE will no longer be required to file quarterly and annual reports with the SEC. The Company, which will be HLBE’s sole owner upon closing of the Merger, will continue to be registered with the SEC and will continue to file required SEC reports after completion of the Merger.
A complete description of the Merger and the Merger Agreement is available in HLBE’s preliminary proxy statement filed with the SEC on May 21, 2021, and is hereby incorporated by reference. Copies of the Merger Agreement, a Plan of Merger and associated voting agreements were published with our Form 8-K filed with SEC on March 25, 2021 and are herein incorporated by reference.
Effect if the Merger is Not Completed
If the Merger is not completed, HLBE’s unitholders will not receive the Merger Consideration or any other payment for their units of the Company. Instead, HLBE will remain a majority-owned subsidiary of the Company.
Further, HLBE has experienced significant net losses due to several factors, including elevated corn prices, the breakdown of our ethanol plant’s boiler, and reduced demand for ethanol due to several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, HLBE has experienced instances of noncompliance with certain loan covenants related to HLBE’s working capital and net worth ratio, for which HLBE has obtained waivers from its lender. Although HLBE was in compliance with its financial covenants as of April 30, 2021, the impact of the COVID19 pandemic could have an adverse impact on HLBE’s operating results, which could result in HLBE’s inability to comply with certain of these financial covenants and require HLBE’s lenders to waive compliance with, or agree to amend, any such covenant to avoid a default.
While HLBE believes the replacement of the boiler has improved the operating performance of the HLBE plant, and led to lower operating costs, market conditions have resulted in losses. If the Merger is not completed, HLBE intends to source other capital sources, which may include re-negotiating its debt agreements and terms or seek potential equity solutions. At this time, there are no commitments to do so and HLBE may not be successful in doing so.
Trends and Uncertainties Impacting Our Operations
The principal factors affecting our results of operations and financial conditions are the market prices for corn, ethanol, distillers’ grains and natural gas, as well as governmental programs designed to create incentives for the use of corn-based ethanol. Other factors that may affect our future results of operation include those risks discussed below and in “PART II - Item 1A. Risk Factors” of this report, “PART II - Item 1A. Risk Factors” of our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended January 31, 2021, and “PART I - Item 1A. Risk Factors” of our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020.
Our operations are highly dependent on commodity prices, especially prices for corn, ethanol, distillers’ grains and natural gas. As a result, our operating results can fluctuate substantially due to volatility in these commodity markets. The price and availability of corn is subject to significant fluctuations depending upon a number of factors that affect commodity prices in general, including crop conditions, yields, domestic and global stocks, weather, federal policy and foreign trade. Natural gas prices are influenced by severe weather in the summer and winter and hurricanes in the spring, summer and fall. Other factors include North American exploration and production, and the amount of natural gas in underground storage during injection and withdrawal seasons.