/NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED STATES/
VANCOUVER, March 19, 2020 /CNW/ - Pinnacle Renewable Energy ("Pinnacle" or the "Company") (TSX: PL) today advised that the Company is responding in order to minimize the risks from the COVID-19 health threat to its employees, stakeholders, and communities in which it operates. To date, there have been no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 reported at the Company, and office-based employees are working at home. CEO Rob McCurdy, having previously announced his retirement effective May 5, 2020, is now committed to remain with Pinnacle through this crisis until October 31, 2020.
Currently, operations at all of Pinnacle's facilities remain unimpacted and our employees are focused on work safety while adjusting to the recommended COVID-19 practices, including social distancing, thorough hand washing, avoiding close contact with others, and regular cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces. These practices have also been enforced for fibre deliveries and other visitors to all Pinnacle facilities.
Capital projects at the High Level and Demopolis facilities are continuing under the expected precautions for COVID-19, and while the Williams Lake facility continues to operate with the current dryer in place, the dryer upgrade project has been put on hold until equipment vendors can be onsite for commissioning purposes without any restrictions.
From an economic perspective, Pinnacle does not expect demand for pellets to be impacted as the Company has long-term take or pay contracts with its customers in place, and in the event power consumption declines, it is expected that use of other non-renewable fuels will be reduced ahead of any reduction in wood pellet use. However, in the event of a possible recession due to the COVID-19 health threat, demand for lumber could be reduced, thereby impacting the supply of sawmill residual fibre. In this case, Pinnacle has a strategy in place for use of harvest residuals and increased inventories that it has been utilizing as a result of sawmill curtailments experienced in B.C.
"Pinnacle's Management team continues to monitor the situation around the COVID-19 health threat and the potential impacts to the business, our employees and communities," stated Rob McCurdy, Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle. "We are currently in a solid operational position and have strong liquidity, and I am appreciative of the resilient team we have at Pinnacle. We are aware that the situation is fluid and further developments could impact facility operations due to reduced fibre availability in the event a sawmill is closed, additional costs and impacts related to logistics, and the possibility of facility shut-downs. Our management team is working diligently to mitigate these potential impacts."
Pinnacle is a growing industrial wood pellet manufacturer and distributor and the third largest producer in the world. The Company produces sustainable fuel for renewable electricity generation in the form of industrial wood pellets. This fuel is used by large-scale thermal power generators as a greener alternative to produce reliable baseload renewable power. Pinnacle is a trusted supplier to its customers, who require reliable, high-quality fuel supply to maximize utilization of their facilities. Pinnacle takes pride in its industry leading safety practices. The Company operates eight industrial wood pellet production facilities in western Canada and one in Alabama, with two additional facilities under construction in Alberta and Alabama. The Company also owns a port terminal in Prince Rupert, B.C. Pinnacle has entered into long-term take-or-pay contracts with utilities in the U.K., Europe and Asia that represent an average of 99% of its production capacity through 2026.
This news release may contain "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws in Canada. Forward-looking information may relate to Pinnacle's future financial outlook and anticipated events or results and may include information regarding its financial position, business strategy, growth strategies, budgets, operations, financial results, taxes, dividend policy, plans and objectives. Particularly, information regarding the Company's expectations of future results, performance, achievements, prospects or opportunities or the markets in which it operates is forward-looking information. In some cases, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "targets", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "an opportunity exists", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "outlook", "forecasts", "projection", "prospects", "strategy", "intends", "anticipates", "does not anticipate", "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might", "will", "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". In addition, any statements that refer to expectations, intentions, projections or other characterizations of future events or circumstances contain forward-looking information. Statements containing forward-looking information are not historical facts but instead represent management's expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events or circumstances. If any of the opinions, estimates or assumptions underlying the forward-looking information prove incorrect, actual results or future events might vary materially from those expressed in the forward-looking information. The Company has no obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward-looking information whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities laws in Canada. Actual results and the timing of events may differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking information as a result of various factors, including those described in "Risk Factors" which are described in the Company's most recent Annual Information Form ("AIF") filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).
We caution that the list of risk factors and uncertainties is not exhaustive and other factors could also adversely affect our results. Readers are urged to consider the risks, uncertainties and assumptions carefully in evaluating the forward-looking information and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such information. See "Forward-looking Information" and "Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent AIF and its Management's Discussion & Analysis for Q4 2019 available on SEDAR for a discussion of the uncertainties, risks and assumptions associated with these statements.
SOURCE Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.