Highland Pellets closes $135 million capital partnership deal

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Highland Pellets LLC has entered into a $135 million strategic capital partnership with Orion Energy Partners L.P. to fund the expansion and upgrade of its wood pellet facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. When complete, the facility will be capable of producing up to 675,000 metric tonnes of sustainably sourced wood pellets per year.

The Highland Pellets facility was initially completed in 2017 and is currently undergoing equipment upgrades to improve operational performance and increase production capacity. The Pine Bluff, Arkansas-based wood pellet producer said it has a long-term contract in place with a major European power producer.

Funds from the capital partnership will also be used to provide capital for long-term growth initiatives. The biomass facility currently supports more than 90 full-time jobs to the local community and more than 330 jobs in the adjacent forest industries and transportation supply chains.

“Our partnership with Orion Energy puts us in position to become a top global supplier of sustainable wood pellets,” said Tom Reilley, Highland’s CEO. “This transaction will allow us to scale up our Pine Bluff facility and continue to execute our growth strategy. Orion Energy has been a collaborative capital partner and was able to execute the transaction in an uncertain market backdrop with speed and efficiency. We look forward to growing our platform with the Orion Energy team.”

“We are pleased to partner with Highland to expand the Pine Bluff facility and provide a sustainable fuel source to support the global renewable fuels market. Tom and his dedicated team have worked relentlessly to execute their plan and we are excited to collaborate at this transformational stage,” said Ethan Shoemaker, investment partner and head of the Houston office for Orion Energy.

Barclays acted as lead arranger and sole bookrunner on the transaction. Linklaters LLP acted as legal counsel to Highland. Latham & Watkins LLP and Shearman & Sterling LLP acted as legal counsel to Orion Energy.


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Karen Koenig | Editor

Karen M. Koenig has more than 30 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As editor of special publications under the Woodworking Network brand, including the Red Book Best Practices resource guide and website, Karen’s responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating of editorial content. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media. She can be reached at [email protected]