Rentech shareholders meet in Natchez

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 20, 2008

NATCHEZ — On Friday, Rentech’s top executives filled a conference room at the Eola Hotel for their 2008 shareholders meeting.

While the meeting was opened to shareholders only Rentech’s director of investor relations, Julie Dawoodjee, said after the meeting was over that it was well attended.

“We had a good turnout,” she said.

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Before the meeting, Rentech’s president and CEO, Hunt Ramsbottom, described the meeting as a time to inform shareholders of the company’s progress and future plans.

Ramsbottom said he felt it was appropriate to have the meeting in Natchez — such meetings are traditionally in Denver— since Natchez will be the site of Rentech’s biggest production site.

“This is going to be our cornerstone site; it’s important for people to see,” he said.

On March 28, the company was scheduled to have purchased the old International Paper factory site for their development.

However, just days before the land closing was to take place, last-minute issues concerning mineral rights leasing surfaced and subsequently postponed the deal.

An extension was granted to Rentech that allowed 60 additional days for the closing to take place.

At the first meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, after the land closing should have happened, board President Henry Watts said he learned from Rentech representatives that a list of all necessary steps for the closing date to take place on schedule was being compiled.

On Friday, Dawoodjee said the contents of the list could not be discussed since much list was deemed “procedural.”

However, Ramsbottom said he was not surprised the land closing did not happen on schedule.

He described the land closing as a large and complicated transaction with many nuances.

“We need to work through each nuance,” he said. “Our primary goal is to build the plant here.”

Ramsbottom said delays in such large projects are not uncommon and pointed to Rentech’s product development unit in Colorado as evidence.

The Colorado plant, close to completion, was built to make up to 10 barrels a day of Rentech’s clean burning fuel.

Ramsbottom said the plant is very near completion and should be making fuel soon, but was still experiencing some delays.

The fuel to be produced in Colorado will be sold to private airlines and the military for use and testing.

While it’s unclear exactly when Rentech’s Natchez plant will begin construction, since the land it’s to be built on has still not been purchased, the Natchez plant will be a big one.

After the final stages of completion the project is scheduled to cost approximately $4.5 billion and produce a wide variety chemical products including ultra clean burning diesel.