CONSOL Energy Inc. announced that it has made an initial investment in the coal-to-products space by acquiring a 25% equity interest in CFOAM Corp., a newly-formed US-based holding company whose wholly-owned subsidiary, CFOAM LLC, has manufacturing facilities in Triadelphia, West Virginia. CFOAM Limited, an ASX-listed company, owns the remaining 75% of CFOAM Corp. CFOAM LLC manufactures high-performance carbon foam products from coal and focuses on meeting demand for high-grade materials in the industrial, aerospace, military and commercial product markets.
“This is our first major step in the coal-to-products area, which leverages certain attractive properties of coal but with significantly lower emissions and greater value uplift potential than conventional combustion applications. These products not only provide a high-margin revenue stream but also provide an intriguing new opportunity to utilize the vast resource base that our country is endowed with” said Jimmy Brock, President and Chief Executive Officer of CONSOL Energy Inc. “Consistent with our capital allocation process, the CFOAM investment is part of CONSOL’s measured investment bucket earmarked for innovative and alternative uses of coal as a pathway for diversification. Today, CFOAM products are used or being developed for a wide range of markets including composite tooling for the aerospace sector, as well as energy absorbing, structural, and defense applications. We estimate that the total addressable market (“TAM”) for such products is over $15 billion annually.”
“We are very excited to partner with CONSOL Energy. This investment and collaboration will offer the technical support and business acumen CONSOL Energy has demonstrated for decades and will enable CFOAM to advance as a reliable partner in the material science industry” said Flemming Bjoernslev, President & CEO of CFOAM LLC.
Some of the major highlights of the transaction include:
- CEIX has invested $3.5 million in return for a 25% equity ownership in CFOAM Corp.
- CEIX has also provided a $1.1 million term loan to CFOAM LLC for working capital and invested another $0.4 million to acquire a first lien note of CFOAM LLC from one of CFOAM LLC’s first lien noteholders.
- CFOAM Corp. has a four-member board, comprised of two members appointed by CFOAM Limited and two members appointed by CEIX.
- CFOAM Corp. has also retained CEIX as an advisor to provide strategic, management, and operational advice.
- CFOAM Limited has also provided CEIX with certain preemptive and anti-dilution rights, including the first right to provide any future debt financing and the right to match certain offers for the sale of equity or assets of CFOAM Corp. and CFOAM LLC.
With the completion of this transaction, CONSOL Energy is now pursuing alternative uses of coal in the following different areas:
- The CFOAM Corp. investment which is geared towards high-performance engineering materials, which we estimate has an over $15 billion TAM.
- CONSOL is also partnering on a DOE-funded project with Ohio University and other industry partners to develop coal plastic composites that are geared toward the engineered composite decking and other building products markets. Studies show that the global market for such plastic composite materials is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2023.
- In addition, CONSOL has partnered with OMNIS Bailey LLC to develop a refinery that will convert waste coal slurry into two products: a high-quality carbon product that can be used as fuel or as a feedstock for other higher-value applications, and a mineral matter product that has potential to be used as a soil amendment in agricultural applications.