SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-38221
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
| ||(I.R.S. Employer|
|300 Lindenwood Drive|| |
|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip Code)|
|(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common stock, par value $0.01 per share||ECVT||New York Stock Exchange|
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. ý Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. ¨ Yes ý No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. ý Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). ý Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer|| |
| ||Accelerated filer|| |
| || || || |
|Non-accelerated filer|| ||☐|| ||Smaller reporting company|| ||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). ☐ Yes ý No
|If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐ This check box has been left unanswered pending adoption of the underlying rules.|
|Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant's executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). |
☐ This check box has been left unanswered pending adoption of the underlying rules.
The aggregate market value of Ecovyst Inc. voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2022 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) based on the closing sale price of $9.85 per share as reported on the New York Stock Exchange was $647,733,853.
The number of shares of common stock outstanding as of February 23, 2023 was 123,194,080.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Ecovyst Inc. Proxy Statement for the 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.
December 31, 2022
Forward-looking Statements and Risk Factor Summary
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Form 10-K”) includes “forward-looking statements” that express our opinions, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or projections regarding future events or future results. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should” and similar expressions are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy, short- and long-term business operations and objections, and financial needs. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements we make regarding demand trends, and/or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and related economic effects on our operations and financial results and our liquidity, and our belief that our current level of operations, cash and cash equivalents, cash flow from operations and borrowings under our credit facilities and other lines of credit will provide us adequate cash to fund the working capital, capital expenditure, debt service and other requirements for our business for at least the next twelve months.
These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment and new risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for our management to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements we may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed herein may not occur and actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements.
Some of the key factors that could cause actual results to differ from our expectations include the following risks related to our business:
•as a global business, we are exposed to local business risks in different countries;
•we are affected by general economic conditions and economic downturns;
•exchange rate fluctuations could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows;
•our international operations require us to comply with anti-corruption laws, trade and export controls and regulations of the U.S. government and various international jurisdictions in which we do business;
•alternative technology or other changes in our customers’ products may reduce or eliminate the need for certain of our products;
•our new product development and research and development efforts may not succeed and our competitors may develop more effective or successful products;
•our substantial level of indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition;
•if we are unable to manage the current and future inflationary environment and to pass on increases in raw material prices, including natural gas, or labor costs to our customers or to retain or replace our key suppliers, our results of operations and cash flows may be negatively affected;
•we face substantial competition in the industries in which we operate;
•we are subject to the risk of loss resulting from non-payment or non-performance by our customers;
•we rely on a limited number of customers for a meaningful portion of our business;
•multi-year customer contracts in our Ecoservices segment are subject to potential early termination and such contracts may not be renewed at the end of their respective terms;
•our quarterly results of operations are subject to fluctuations because the demand for some of our products is seasonal;
•our growth projects may result in significant expenditures before generating revenues, if any, which may materially and adversely affect our ability to implement our business strategy;
•we may be liable to damages based on product liability claims brought against us or our customers for costs associated with recalls of our or our customers’ products;
•we are subject to extensive environmental, health and safety regulations and face various risks associated with potential non-compliance or releases of hazardous materials;
•existing and proposed regulations to address climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions may cause us to incur significant additional operating and capital expenses and may impact our business and results of operations;
•production and distribution of our products could be disrupted for a variety of reasons, including as a result of supply chain constraints, and such disruptions could expose us to significant losses or liabilities;
•the insurance that we maintain may not fully cover all potential exposures;
•we could be subject to damages based on claims brought against us by our customers or lose customers as a result of the failure of our products to meet certain quality specifications;
•our failure to protect our intellectual property and infringement on the intellectual property rights of third parties;
•disruption, failure or cyber security breaches affecting or targeting computers and infrastructure used by us or our business partners may adversely impact our business and operations;
•the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and financial markets, as well as on our business and our suppliers, and the response of governments and of our company to the outbreak including variants of the virus and associated containment, remediation and vaccination efforts; and
•the other risks and uncertainties discussed in “Item 1A—Risk Factors.”
The forward-looking statements included herein are made only as of the date hereof. You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee that the future results, levels of activity, performance or events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur. Moreover, neither we nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this Form 10-K to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS.
Ecovyst Inc. (“Ecovyst” or the “Company”), formerly PQ Group Holdings Inc. (“PQ Group Holdings”) was incorporated in Delaware on August 7, 2015. We trace our roots to 1831, and our business has a nearly 200-year history of innovation, enabling environmental improvements in areas such as fuel efficiency and emissions, while improving the sustainability of our planet. On May 4, 2016, we consummated a series of transactions (the “Business Combination”) to reorganize and combine the then-existing businesses with Eco Services Operations LLC under a new holdings company, then called PQ Group Holdings. On October 3, 2017, we completed our initial public offering (“IPO”). On August 1, 2021, we changed our name from “PQ Group Holdings Inc.” to “Ecovyst Inc.,” changed the ticker symbol of our common stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange from “PQG” to “ECVT” and rebranded our former segments from “Refining Services” to “Ecoservices” and “Catalysts” to “Catalyst Technologies.” Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker “ECVT.” Unless the context otherwise indicates, the terms “Ecovyst Inc.,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or the “Company” mean Ecovyst Inc. and our subsidiaries.
On December 14, 2020, we completed the sale of our Performance Materials business to Potters Buyer, LLC (the “Purchaser”), an affiliate of The Jordan Company, L.P., for a purchase price of $650 million, which was subject to certain adjustments for indebtedness, working capital, and cash at the closing of the transaction. The results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows for the Performance Materials businesses are presented herein as discontinued operations. Except where noted, any tables, percentages or metrics included within this filing exclude the results of our former Performance Materials business. Additionally, our Board of Directors (the “Board”) declared a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share, payable on December 14, 2020 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on December 21, 2020. Refer to Note 4 to our Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
Effective on August 1, 2021, we completed the sale of our Performance Chemicals business for $1.1 billion, subject to certain adjustments set forth in the agreement. We used a portion of the net cash proceeds to repay the entire 2018 Term Loan Facility (as defined below) of $231.4 million and the 5.75% Senior Unsecured Notes (as defined below) of $295.0 million. The 5.75% Senior Unsecured Notes were redeemed at a redemption price equal to the sum of 102.875% of the principal amount of the 5.75% Senior Unsecured Notes plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, August 2, 2021. Additionally, our Board declared a special cash dividend of $3.20 per share, payable on August 23, 2021 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 12, 2021. The results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows for the Performance Chemicals business are presented herein as discontinued operations. Refer to Note 5 to our Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
We are a leading, integrated and innovative global provider of specialty catalysts and services. We believe that our products, which are predominantly inorganic, and services contribute to improving the sustainability of the environment. Our value-added products seek to address global demand trends that are often either the subject of significant environmental and safety regulations or are driven by consumer preferences for more sustainable products, which provides us with high-margin growth opportunities. We believe that our products contribute to lower emissions and cleaner air, higher fuel efficiency and cleaner fuels, and help advance the global transition to clean energy. Specifically, our products and solutions help companies in the production of renewable fuels and help to produce vehicles with improved fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions. Because our products are predominantly inorganic and carbon-free, we believe we contribute to improving the sustainability of our planet.
We believe we are a leader in each of our business segments, holding what we estimate to be a number one or number two supply share position for products that generated more than 90% of our 2022 sales and our proportionate 50% share of sales attributable to the Zeolyst JV, respectively. We believe that our global footprint and efficient network of strategically located manufacturing facilities provide us with a strong competitive advantage in serving our customers both regionally as well as globally.
We believe, with our long history of established partnerships with our customers and our reputation for providing reliable, quality of products and solutions, our products deliver significant value to our customers, as demonstrated by our profit margins. Our products typically constitute a small portion of our customers’ overall end-product costs, yet are critical to product performance.
We have a long track record of innovation that is reflected in our technical and production expertise in silica, zeolites and catalyst technologies.
We are highly diversified by business, geography and end use. In 2022, the majority of our sales were for applications that have historically had relatively predictable, consistent demand patterns driven by consumption or frequent replacement cycles.
As a result of our competitive strengths, we have generally maintained stable margins through changing macro economic cycles.
In 2022, we served global customers across many end uses and as of December 31, 2022, operated out of ten strategically located manufacturing facilities.
(1)Percentage calculations include $132.6 million of sales attributable to the Zeolyst Joint Venture (“Zeolyst JV”), which represents 50% of its total sales for the year ended December 31, 2022. The Zeolyst JV sales are included in both the Clean Fuels, Emission Control & Others and Polymers & Engineered Plastics end uses. Refer to “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Basis of Presentation” for a description of the treatment of the Zeolyst Joint Venture in our consolidated financial information.
(2)Based on the delivery destination for products sold in 2022.
We intend to capitalize on our strong business foundation, sustainability driven innovation and customer partnerships to grow sales, maintain high margins, deploy capital efficiently and generate consistent free cash flow in order to create shareholder value. We believe that our long history of operational excellence and proven reliability, technology leadership, strong customer relationships, innovation track record and consistent business execution developed from our industry experience positions us well to execute our business strategy.
Our industry is characterized by constant development of new products and the need to support customers with new product innovation and technical services. This innovation is coupled with consistent product quality and a reliable source of supply, delivered in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. Products sold to our customers can be high value-add even when they represent a small portion of the overall end product costs, and success can be achieved by helping customers improve their product performance, value, and quality. As a result, operating margins in this sector have historically been high and generally stable through economic cycles. In addition, many products in the specialty chemicals industry benefit from economics that favor incumbent producers because the capital cost to expand existing capacity is typically significantly less than the capital cost necessary to build a new plant. The combination of attractive operating margins and generally predictable maintenance capital expenditure requirements provides the ability to produce attractive cash flows.
Our Product End Uses
The table below summarizes our key end use applications and products, as well as the significant growth drivers in those applications.
Sales including Zeolyst JV
|Key End Uses||2022||2021||2020||Significant Growth Drivers||Key Products|
|Clean Fuels, Emission Control & Other||14%||19%||18%||• Global regulatory requirements to:||• Refining hydrocracking catalysts|
|• Remove sulfur from diesel and gasoline||• Emission control catalysts|
|• Remove nitrogen oxides from tailpipe emissions||• Catalysts used in the production of renewable fuels|
|• Growing demand for renewable fuels||• Catalyst activation|
|• Growing demand for ex-situ catalyst activation to support traditional and renewable fuels production||• Aluminum sulfate solution|
|• Improve lubricant characteristics to improve fuel efficiencies||• Ammonium bisulfite solution|
|• Municipal and industrial water treatment|
|Polymers & Engineered Plastics||15%||17%||19%||• Demand for high-density polyethylene used for strengthening and light weighting components||• Catalysts for high-density polyethylene and chemicals syntheses|
|• Demand for increased process efficiency and reduction of by-products in production chemicals||• Antiblocks for film packaging|
|• Growing demand for recycling of materials||• Niche custom catalyst|
|Regeneration and Treatment Services||36%||35%||38%||• Increase gasoline octane in order to improve fuel efficiency while lowering vapor pressure and sulfur to regulated levels||• Sulfuric acid regeneration services|
|• High industry utilization||• Treatment services|
|• Growing demand for applications in hazardous and non-hazardous waste|
|Industrial, Mining & Automotive||35%||29%||25%||• Demand for metals and minerals for low carbon technologies and infrastructure||• Sulfuric acid for mining|
|• Demand for a wide range of products including construction materials, auto, consumer goods, and chemicals||• Sulfur derivatives for industrial production|
|• Recovery in global oil drilling/U.S. copper production||• Sulfur derivatives for nylon production|
(1) Percentage calculations include $132.6 million, $131.3 million and $128.6 million of sales attributable to the Zeolyst JV, which represents 50% of its total sales for each of the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The Zeolyst JV sales are included in both the Clean Fuels, Emission Control & Other and Polymers & Engineered Plastics key end uses. Refer to “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Basis of Presentation” for a description of the treatment of the Zeolyst Joint Venture in our consolidated financial information.
Competitive Business Strengths
Favorable Secular Growth Trends Across the Portfolio
We focus on serving end use applications where we believe significant growth potential exists. Our products and services address our customers’ needs, which are typically driven either by regulatory requirements or consumer preferences, on a global basis. We believe that our products and services incorporate innovative environmental and safety solutions to address evolving customer demands, examples of which include the following:
•Increased use of plastics as a substitute for heavier and less versatile materials, such as glass and metal, is driving increased global demand for polyethylene capacity expansions and production. Further, we are seeing expansions shift towards silica-based technology, which we believe will drive growth for our Silica Catalysts product group within our Catalyst Technologies segment; and
•Light- and heavy-duty diesel engines are subject to a broad set of regulatory requirements and increasingly strict standards. We believe these trends present global opportunities for the Zeolyst Joint Venture to support our customers in meeting these standards through our sales of emission control catalysts. While the US Environmental Protection Agency and European Union have led other nations in terms of standards that limit the amount of nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and other emissions for diesel engines, other emerging regions are implementing similar standards, specifically China, with the China VI (equivalent to Euro VI) emission standard enacted in 2020.
We believe that stringent fuel efficiency standards that spur the use of high compression engines requiring higher-octane gasoline and continued stringent regulatory requirements for gasoline will continue to encourage strong alklyate production at our refining customers. We believe that our Ecoservices segment is well positioned to benefit from any related growth in demand for alkylate.
We also believe we have opportunities to displace other less environmentally friendly materials for industrial and consumer good applications through our business segments. Our Ecoservices segment is the largest North American recycler of sulfuric acid and one of the largest consumers of refinery by-products of sulfur, enabling them to be converted to other applications. In our Catalyst Technologies segment, we are helping our customers meet evolving regulatory requirements for the reduction of sulfur from diesel fuel and reduction of NOx emissions from diesel engines through our custom zeolites. Similarly, we believe our specialty zeolites and silica supported catalysts are enabling our customers to improve fuel economy and utilize renewable resources through development of improved lubricants, lightweight polymers and renewable transportation fuel.
Leading Supply Positions
We believe that we maintain a leading supply position for certain products sold within each of our segments, holding what we estimate to be the number one or two supply share position in 2022 for products that generated more than 90% of our sales and our proportionate 50% share of sales attributable to the Zeolyst JV, respectively. We believe that our global footprint and efficient network of strategically located manufacturing facilities provides us with a strong competitive advantage in serving our customers both globally and regionally, and that it would be costly for our competitors to replicate our network.
In our Catalyst Technologies segment, we primarily compete on a global basis. We are a leading supplier of zeolite-based catalyst used to remove sulfur in the refinery hydrocracking process, and emission control catalysts used in the heavy- and light-duty diesel industries to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions. We are also a global supplier of silica catalysts and supports for polyethylene manufacturers and other niche custom catalyst applications, including supplying catalyst used to produce methyl methacrylate (“MMA”).
In our Ecoservices segment, we hold an estimated number one supply share position in the United States in sulfuric acid regeneration services based on 2022 sales volume of greater than 50%.Innovation Track Record
We believe a key competitive advantage is derived from our depth of expertise in silica, zeolites and catalysts technologies. Further, we have the ability to tailor and scale specialty grades to meet changing demands and technical support for large scale commercialization. Many of our products require close customer collaboration to address constantly evolving customer application challenges. Given the long lead-time required for product development and commercialization, which can be up to ten years, we work closely and build long-term relationships with our customers. In many cases, our relationships have spanned decades given our ability to meet customized specifications and performance characteristics while also maintaining strict quality standards.
These long-term relationships have allowed us to innovate together with our customers to meet evolving demands. For example, we have developed zeolite-based catalysts that are an effective and efficient method to reduce pollutants from heavy- and light-duty diesel engines and enable our customers to meet increasingly stringent vehicle emission standards worldwide. We also manufacture zeolite-based catalysts used in the production of renewable fuels to help advance the global transition to clean energy. In addition, our proprietary silica catalyst has enabled development of a high strength high-density polyethylene (“HDPE”) resin that is used for making lightweight plastic gasoline tanks for automobiles.
Long-Term, High-Quality Customer Relationships
We collaborate with leading multinational companies that often seek global solutions. Our customers include large industrial companies such as Exxon Mobil, BASF and Chevron Products, and global catalyst producers such as Albemarle and Grace. We also supply catalysts to leading chemical and petrochemical producers such as BASF, Dow Chemical, Mitsubishi Chemical, LyondellBasell and Shell. We have long-term relationships with our top ten customers, based on 2022 sales, that average more than 50 years. In addition, our customer base is diversified, with our top ten customers in 2022 representing approximately 58% of our sales for the year ended December 31, 2022 (including our proportionate 50% share of sales attributable to the Zeolyst JV), and one customer representing 13% or $103.3 million of our sales in both our Ecoservices and Catalyst Technologies businesses during this period.
Secured Contractual Pass-through of Raw Material Costs Support Stable Margins
We have been able to mitigate the impact of raw material or energy price volatility using a variety of mechanisms, including hedging and raw material cost pass-through mechanisms in our sales contracts and other adjustment provisions. Most of our Ecoservices contracts feature minimum volume protection and/or quarterly price adjustments for items such as commodity inputs, labor, the Chemical Engineering Plant Cost Index and natural gas. In 2022, approximately 83% of our Ecoservices segment sales were sold under contracts that included some form of raw material pass-through clause. These price adjustments generally reflect our Ecoservices actual cost structure in producing sulfuric acid, and tend to provide us with some protection against volatility in labor, fixed costs and raw material pricing. Freight expenses are generally passed through directly to customers.
Our products are predominantly inorganic and carbon-free, and are produced from readily available raw materials. We also use natural gas in our manufacturing process where our North American facilities have benefited from the plentiful supplies of shale gas. In addition, we have long-term contracts and relationships with many of our key raw materials suppliers across all of our business segments.
Long Term Customer Contracts Enhance Sales Predictability and Stability
We partner with many of our customers under long-term contract agreements, 100% requirement arrangements and/or specified products for certain license production processes. In our Ecoservices segment, approximately 40% of our production capacity serves customers with staggered multi-year commitment contracts with potential for value pricing resets and cost pass-through for our regeneration services product line that enhances sales and margin predictability and stability. Excluding contracts with automatic evergreen provisions, approximately 30% of our sulfuric acid volume for the year ended December 31, 2022 was under contracts expiring at the end of 2023 or beyond.
In our Catalyst Technologies segment, we are either the sole or dual supplier to key global customers under various term agreements up to 10 years for each of polyethylene catalysts and silica catalysts supports. Further, we have a multi-year supply agreement for MMA catalyst with a leading global producer. In our zeolite catalysts product group, where we supply catalysts and zeolite powders for refining, renewable fuels, and emission controls applications, we operate with a mix of evergreen and various term contracts depending on the product customization. These terms, in line with industry standards, provide us with flexibility in satisfying customers.
Strategic and Differentiated Manufacturing Know-how and Supply Chain Global Network
Ecoservices’ predecessor company, Stauffer Chemical, was a leader in pioneering the current sulfuric acid regeneration technology in the 1940s. Since then, we have leveraged our process technology expertise and ability to deliver our products by barge, rail, truck and pipeline to become the largest sulfuric acid regenerator in North America and a leading North American producer of high-quality virgin sulfuric acid. Ecoservices has also applied its expert knowledge in thermal decomposition to provide treatment services for hazardous/non-hazardous wastes, and most recently activate catalysts with our patented Chem32 technology.
Our Catalyst Technologies product development and manufacturing technology is customized based on deep silica based and zeolite based material science know-how. Our R&D centers seek to develop fit for purpose catalysts with customers. We believe we have a differentiated capability to develop such products and manufacture them consistently.
Stable Margins and Cash Flow Generation Across Changing Macroeconomic Cycles
The secular trends supporting many of our business segments has allowed us to maintain stable margins while continuing to grow in different macroeconomic environments. We believe that the stability of our margins and cash flows is also aided by long term sales contracts and material cost pass-through. Our ability to enter into favorable contracts and terms with customers is driven by our long history of collaborative relationships and track record of providing value-added products and services. We believe that our value-added products and services have proven to be critical to the performance of our customers’ products, and typically represent only a small portion of our customers’ overall end-product costs.
We believe our strong commercial contact structure enables our businesses to generate strong operating cash flow. In addition, our cash flow generation has been driven, in part, by lower debt levels, our disciplined capital investment, as well as tax attributes that provide us with cash flow benefits. As of December 31, 2022, we had $293.1 million of tax deductible intangibles and goodwill with respect to Eco Services Operations LLC, which provides us with cash tax savings as we generate taxable income.
Our Business Segments
We are a leading, integrated and innovative global provider of specialty catalysts and services. We believe that our products, which are predominantly inorganic, and services contribute to improving the sustainability of the environment. We conduct operations through two reporting segments: (1) Ecoservices and (2) Catalyst Technologies (including our 50% interest in the Zeolyst Joint Venture).
The table below summarizes certain information regarding our two reporting segments for the year ended December 31, 2022.
|Year ended December 31, 2022|
|Segments and Product Groups||Sales||% of Total Sales|
Zeolyst Joint Venture Sales(1)
% of Total Sales and Zeolyst Joint Venture Sales(1)(2)
|Net Income||% of Net Income|
% of Total Adjusted EBITDA(1)(2)
|(in millions, except percentages)|
|Ecoservices||$||702.5 ||85.6 ||%||$||— ||73.7 ||%||73.8 ||%||$||227.8 ||74.5 ||%|
|Catalyst Technologies||117.7 ||14.4 ||%||— ||12.4 ||%||26.2 ||%||78.0 ||25.5 ||%|
|Zeolite Catalyst||— ||— ||%||132.6 ||13.9 ||%|
|Subtotal||$||820.2 ||100.0 ||%||$||132.6 ||100.0 ||%|
|Total||$||820.2 ||100.0 ||%||$||132.6 ||100.0 ||%||$||73.7 ||100.0 ||%||$||276.8 ||100.0 ||%|
(1) Percentage calculations include $132.6 million of sales attributable to the Zeolyst JV, which represents 50% of its total sales for the year ended December 31, 2022. The Adjusted EBITDA of our Catalyst Technologies segment includes our 50% portion of the Adjusted EBITDA of our Zeolyst JV. Refer to “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Basis of Presentation” for a description of the treatment of the Zeolyst Joint Venture in our consolidated financial information. Refer to “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Performance Indicators” for discussion of our use of non-GAAP financial measures and reconciliations.
(2) Percentage calculations exclude $29.0 million in corporate expenses.
Our Ecoservices segment is a leading provider of sulfuric acid recycling (“Regeneration Services”) and end-to-end logistics to North American refineries to support the production of alkylate, a high value gasoline blending component required for meeting gasoline specifications and producing premium grade fuel. We are also a leading North American producer of on-purpose virgin sulfuric acid for water treatment, mining, and industrial applications (“Virgin Sulfuric Acid”). We provide treatment services for hazardous/non-hazardous industrial wastes (“Treatment Services”) and with the acquisition of Chem 32, LLC (“Chem32”) in March 2021, and we are also a leader in ex situ sulfiding and pre-activation for hydro-processing catalysts, which are used in production of traditional and renewable fuels. By providing regeneration services, as well as purchasing by-product sulfur from customers for use in manufacturing virgin sulfuric acid, we believe that we provide our refining customers with a complete solution for their sulfuric acid needs.
Trends for increased alkylate production are being driven by: rising demand for premium gasoline used in smaller, more efficient turbocharged engines, which requires an alkylate content of approximately 35%-45%, as compared to the 12% alkylate content in regular gasoline; the need for more alkylate to meet the minimum octane ratings in regular gasoline following the continued significant share growth of shale oil refining in the U.S.; the full implementation of Tier 3 gasoline sulfur standards in the United States was enacted for 2020, which requires the blending of additional low sulfur high octane gasoline components such as alkylate; and rising gasoline exports, which generally contain no ethanol and will generally require more alkylate to replace the ethanol in order to meet the minimum octane requirements for the destination countries.
Our Ecoservices segment is mostly regional due to shipping costs and our customer integration requirements. Our network of facilities is concentrated in the Gulf Coast and the state of California, where more than 60% of the United States refining capacity is located. We believe that the strategic locations of our plants in these key refining regions contribute to our highly efficient supply chain networks with our customers, including in some cases captive pipelines connecting us to our refinery customers. Alternatively, product can be shipped by barge, rail and truck.
Primary Product Groups
Regeneration Services serves a critical need for refining customers. Sulfuric acid serves as a catalyst in the alkylation process. The resulting spent sulfuric acid needs to be regenerated or recycled, which is no longer a core competency of most refiners. Since storage space for fresh and spent sulfuric acid is typically limited, and the cost to refineries of interruption to their alkylation units would be significant, refineries seek to have a continuous and reliable source of supply for sulfuric acid regeneration services.
Our end-to-end regeneration service offering takes the spent acid from the refinery, through our network of plants and transportation systems, and recycles the sulfuric acid into high strength fresh sulfuric acid for reuse in the alkylation process. Because of the number and strategic locations of our plants, and the breadth of our transportation logistics, we believe we bring the highest reliability and flexibility to our refining customers, allowing them to focus on their core competency by optimizing their alkylation capacity.
Virgin sulfuric acid is created either through the incinerating sulfur in furnaces, or as a by-product of other industrial processes, primarily the smelting of copper and other base metals. Our sulfur-derived, high-quality virgin sulfuric acid products supply a diverse set of end uses. Sulfur derived acid is generally considered to be of higher purity and quality than smelter-produced acid and, as a result, smelter-produced acid is not suitable for some industrial users including several of our larger customers who require higher quality and differentiated sulfuric acid products, such as super-saturated sulfuric acid (oleum). Virgin sulfuric acid is produced at all of our facilities utilizing the same production equipment as our regeneration services.
Our Treatment Services business is a niche offering providing a thermal destruction solution for the management of bulk quantities of hazardous and non-hazardous by-products, co-products and waste materials. We specialize in handling sulfur-bearing materials, acidic materials, high-temperature molten materials and other hard to handle liquids. Our process provides a beneficial reuse alternative to traditional disposal by capturing the energy value and sulfur content of these materials, supplementing our processes, and offsetting the use of virgin raw materials.
Given our strategic presence on the Gulf Coast and in California, and our relationships with leading refineries, we estimate that our regenerated sulfuric acid supply share is substantially larger than our closest competitor. We compete in the North American refining services industry with competitors such as Chemtrade and Veolia. We compete on the basis of price, reliability, and responsiveness to changes in customer demand, which is a function of scale, proximity to customer locations and operational expertise. We believe that we benefit from industry economics that favor incumbent producers because the capital cost and regulatory challenges to expand existing capacity are typically significantly less than to build a new plant. In addition, existing robust supply chains, including captive pipeline connections and other transportation logistics add to the competitive advantages available to incumbent producers. As a result, we believe that our integrated and strategically located network of facilities and end-to-end logistics assets in the United States provide us with a significant competitive advantage and would be costly for our competitors to replicate.
We produce regenerated sulfuric acid and virgin sulfuric acid through our furnace operations. Regenerated sulfuric acid is produced by thermally decomposing the spent acid in our furnace into a clean gas stream, which is converted into sulfuric acid. Virgin sulfuric acid is produced by burning sulfur and certain sulfur-rich components at high temperatures within a furnace to create a gas stream. The chart below summarizes the manufacturing platform for our Ecoservices segment.
Ecoservices Manufacturing Platform
We are a leading global provider of customized and innovative catalyst products and process solutions to leading producers and licensors of polyethylene, or PE, and methyl methacrylate, or MMA. Our finished silica-based catalysts and catalyst supports are necessary to produce high strength and high stiffness plastics used in packaging films, bottles, containers, and other molded applications. Global consumer demand for high strength lightweight plastics is expected to continue to grow in the near to medium term driving increased production capacity expansions. Our zeolite-based catalysts enable the removal of nitrogen oxides from diesel engine emissions as well as sulfur dioxide from fuels during the refining process. The continued expansion of stricter global regulations for reducing sulfur in fuels is expected to drive the ongoing demand for our products.
Our product groups include Silica Catalysts and Zeolite Catalysts. Zeolite Catalyst products are sold through the Zeolyst Joint Venture.
Silica Catalysts supplies both the finished catalyst and catalyst supports, which are critical catalyst components for the production of HDPE, a high strength and high stiffness plastic used in bottles, containers, and molded applications and LLDPE used predominately for films. We also produce a catalyst that is used globally for the production of MMA, the monomer for acrylic engineering resins, a clear scratch-resistant plastic used in sheet or molded form to replace glass and as a durable surface coating. Because these catalysts are highly technical and customized for our customers to produce resins with specific properties, they are often covered under long-term supply agreements and, in some cases, we are a customer’s sole source supplier. In addition, we supply silica anti-blocking products that are used to prevent opposite faces of polyethylene and polyester films from adhering to one another during manufacturing and in use.
The Zeolyst Joint Venture, (formed in 1988 specifically as Zeolyst International and Zeolyst C.V., our 50% owned joint venture with Shell Catalysts & Technologies, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell plc. or “Shell”), supplies high technology specialty zeolites and zeolite-based catalysts to customers for the following major end uses: refining (primarily hydrocracking catalyst and dewaxing), petrochemicals, renewable fuels, and emission control systems for both on-road and non-road diesel engines. We also supply custom zeolites to catalyst companies who compete in similar industries. The Zeolyst Joint Venture leverages each partner’s technology and production expertise, including Shell’s expertise in hydrocracking catalyst to maximize liquid product yields, especially distillate while at the same time removing sulfur, and Ecovyst’s expertise in zeolite technology. We also believe the Zeolyst Joint Venture is a first mover in zeolite fuels and emissions control technology and we expect continued expansion as environmental emissions standards increase globally.
To meet sulfur emission control standards, hydrocracking catalyst is the most economic method for refiners while maintaining yields for diesel, one of the most profitable product streams. The Zeolyst Joint Venture is the sole supplier of hydrocracking catalyst to Shell, but a majority of catalyst sales are to third-party refineries. We also provide precursor supports to many of the hydrocracking catalyst suppliers, positioning us as a leading supplier in the global hydrocracking catalyst supply chain.
To meet nitrogen oxides (“NOx”) emission control regulations that are expanding globally, many of our zeolite powders are used in an advanced emission control technology called selective catalytic reduction, largely focused on heavy duty diesel (“HDD”) transportation. This process uses ammonia to react with engine exhaust gases via our catalysts in order to convert NOx, a pollutant, into harmless nitrogen and water. We believe that our zeolite catalysts can enable selective catalytic reduction technology to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides in such exhaust gases by more than 90% and is one of the most cost-effective methods to reduce diesel engine emissions.
Our Silica Catalysts product group primarily competes with Grace. The Zeolyst Joint Venture competes with global catalyst producers such as Grace, BASF, UOP, Axens, and Haldor Topsoe, while at the same time providing many of them customized zeolite solutions for their product offerings. Some direct competition with niche companies exists, including competitors such as Tosoh and Clariant. We typically compete on the basis of performance, product consistency, reliability, and responsiveness to changes in customer demand.
We manufacture our catalyst products using sodium silicate to make specialty zeolite and silica products. These zeolites and silicas are either used directly to produce catalysts or are sold as precursors to other catalyst manufacturers.
The chart below summarizes the manufacturing platform for our Catalyst Technologies segment.
Silica Catalysts Manufacturing Platform
Zeolyst Joint Venture Manufacturing Platform
Our products are predominantly inorganic and carbon-free, and are produced from readily available raw materials such as sodium silicate and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”), which prices have historically been less volatile than oil. We also use natural gas in our manufacturing process, with our North American facilities benefiting from the plentiful supplies of shale gas. In addition, we have long-term supply relationships with many of our key raw materials suppliers. We have also been able to mitigate the impact of raw material or energy price volatility using a variety of mechanisms, including cost pass-through clauses in our sales contracts and other adjustment provisions.
We are able to negotiate our supply agreements for our key raw materials based on our leading industry position and global scale in an effort to achieve competitive pricing. We also maintain a raw material quality audit and qualification program designed to ensure that the material we purchase satisfies stringent quality requirements. Key raw materials for our segments include:
|Key Raw Materials||Segments|
|Sodium hydroxide ("caustic soda")|
While natural gas is not a direct feedstock for any individual product, we use natural gas powered furnaces to heat raw materials and create the chemical reactions necessary to manufacture our products. We maintain multiple suppliers wherever possible and we seek to hedge our exposure to fluctuations in prices for natural gas. Where possible, we also utilize pass-through clauses for raw material and natural gas costs in our customer contracts. However, we may not be successful in passing through all increases in raw material costs or maintaining an uninterrupted supply of natural gas for all of our furnaces. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business — If we are unable to pass on increases in raw
material prices, including natural gas, to our customers or to retain or replace our key suppliers, our results of operations and cash flows may be negatively affected”.
Zeolyst Joint Venture
The Zeolyst Joint Venture is a long-standing partnership with Shell Catalysts & Technologies, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell plc. or “Shell”, that dates back to 1988 and is focused on the development, manufacture and sale of zeolite-containing catalysts through manufacturing facilities located in Kansas and the Netherlands. We combine our expertise in zeolite supply and technology with our partner’s expertise in global refinery catalyst sales and technology. We have a 50% ownership stake in the Zeolyst Joint Venture. We produce specialty zeolites that are precursors for the production of hydrocracking catalyst and other refinery and renewable fuels catalysts. Our extensive expertise in zeolite production enables us to manage the production of specialty zeolites. Specialty zeolite catalysts include aromatic catalysts that upgrade aromatic by-product streams, dewaxing catalysts that improve lube oil performance and diesel cold flow performance, and paraffin isomerization catalysts that upgrade olefins to high octane gasoline blending components for refinery and petrochemical customers.
Research and Development
We benefit from the highly-skilled technical capabilities of our employees who are dedicated to new product development. We operate two research and development facilities: one in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. Our research and development activities are directed toward the development of new and improved products, processes, systems and applications for customers. Our research and development team is organized to support each of our operating businesses and staffed with experienced scientists, technical service representatives and process engineers with direct knowledge of our products. This business group and customer-oriented team structure provides strong links between our product development and manufacturing functions and our customer collaboration and specifications. These connections enable us to focus our development on timely and relevant products for our customers while remaining attentive to manufacturing considerations that enable us to produce new products profitably and in a timely manner. Product development activities are organized into research and development projects that are subject to regular reviews by the business teams in order to understand and address our customers’ evolving needs and invest in our growth by prioritizing innovation driven by these identified needs. In addition, we hold senior-level project reviews to ensure best practices are shared and consistent metrics are used to determine a project’s merit and the size of the potential opportunity.
We evaluate how best to use patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other available intellectual property protections on a case by case base. This is done to protect our products and our critical investments in research and development, manufacturing and marketing. We focus on securing and maintaining patents for certain inventions such as composition-of-matter, while maintaining other inventions such as process improvements as trade secrets to maximize the value of our product portfolio and reinforce our competitive advantage. Our policy is to seek appropriate intellectual property protection for significant product and process developments in the major areas where the relevant products are manufactured or sold. Patents may cover products, processes, intermediate products and product uses. Patents extend for varying periods in accordance with the date of patent application filing and the legal life of patents in the various countries in which the patents are registered. The protection afforded, which may also vary from country to country, depends upon the type of subject matter covered by the patent and the scope of the claims of the patent.
In most industrial countries, patent protection may be available for new substances and formulations, as well as for unique applications and production processes. However, given the geographical scope of our business and our continued growth strategy, there are regions of the world in which we do business or may do business in the future where intellectual property protection may be limited and difficult to enforce. Moreover, we monitor our competitors’ products and, if circumstances were to dictate that we do so, we would vigorously challenge the actions of others that conflict with our patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights. We maintain appropriate information security policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure the safeguarding of confidential information including, where appropriate, data encryption, access controls and employee awareness training.
We own or have rights to a number of patents relating to our products and processes. As of December 31, 2022, we owned 20 patented inventions in the United States, with 197 patents issued in countries around the world and 40 patent applications pending worldwide. As of December 31, 2022, we also had trademark rights in 50 trademark registrations worldwide, including 5 U.S. trademark registrations. We also have 16 pending trademark applications, which include applications in the United States and worldwide. In addition to our registered and applied-for intellectual property portfolio, we also claim ownership of certain trade secrets and proprietary know-how developed by and used in our business. Including our joint ventures, we are party to certain arrangements whereby we license in the right to use certain intellectual property rights in connection with our business.
Our Ecoservices segment typically experiences seasonal fluctuations as a result of higher demand for gasoline products in the summer and lower demand in the winter months. These demand fluctuations results in higher sales and working capital requirements in the second and third quarters.
Sustainability is intertwined with our daily business and is reinforced through our strategy and values. We strive to create sustainable products that are safe for the environment, and to reduce waste and increase efficiencies for our customers and stakeholders. We believe that our products contribute to lower emissions and cleaner air, advance the global transition to clean energy, support the circular plastics economy and ensure clean, purified drinking water. We are committed to creating environmentally responsible products that we believe make a difference in people’s daily lives and for our planet.
While offering products and services that help our customers to advance their own sustainability goals, we also work to advance our commitment to maintain sound environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) practices, policies and procedures. For example, we:
•Were awarded a Gold Sustainability Score from EcoVadis for 2023, a third-party sustainability evaluation company. The Gold Medal rating score from EcoVadis places us in the 97th percentile of all companies ranked by EcoVadis in our sector peer group;
•Maintained an executive level position of Vice President – Environment and Sustainability that reports directly to our CEO;
•Created the position of Global Director of Health, Safety and Process Safety Management to oversee the company’s goal-setting and improvement efforts in the areas of health, safety and process safety;
•Provided enhanced sustainability information on our website and published our 2021 Sustainability Report, our first as Ecovyst, in June 2022;
•Continued work towards our previously announced series of sustainability goals with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, waste management and reduction, product sustainability/R&D investment and company certifications by 2025 and 2030;
•Continued steps to implement additional improvements in a number of areas, including health, safety and environmental (“HSE”) performance; commitment to diversity, inclusion and human rights both within our company and in our supply chain; and ethical and lawful business practices;
•Further integrated a corporate-wide sustainability software platform, which we are utilizing as an internal, real-time sustainability performance dashboard to enable improved analytics and greater visibility into our sustainability impacts; and
•Achieved a 90% performance in our flagship HSE Perfect Days program, which targets at-risk behaviors and celebrates positive HSE performance across the organization on a daily basis.
The sections that follow provide some highlights of our environmental, social, and governance programs and procedures.
Environmental Stewardship. Our products and technologies continue to address our customers’ sustainability challenges, tightening global regulatory standards and changing consumer preferences. In our Ecoservices segment, we provide sulfuric acid regeneration services that avoid significant landfill or deep well disposal. In our Catalyst Technologies segment, our zeolite catalysts are used for cleaner air applications and our silica catalysts are key for light weighting and plastics recycling.
As part of our sustainability commitment regarding our own operations, we apply the principles of the Environmental Management standard of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14001) at our facilities throughout the world. For chemical facilities in the United States, we also adhere to the Responsible Care® RC14001 Technical Specifications of the American Chemistry Council (“ACC”).
We maintain policies and procedures to monitor and control health, safety, and environmental risks, and to enable compliance with applicable state, national, and international health, safety, and environmental requirements. We have comprehensive health, safety and environmental compliance, auditing and management programs in place to assist in our compliance with applicable regulatory requirements and with internal policies and procedures, as appropriate. Each Ecovyst facility has developed and implemented specific critical occupational health, safety, environmental, security and loss control programs.
We also have a strong HSE organization staffed by professionals who are responsible for environmental, safety, health and product regulatory compliance. Our HSE organizational structure features executive management level leadership, active oversight by our Board and dedicated environmental and safety experts on staff. We have a Global Director of Health, Safety and Process Safety Management and also have Regional HSE Specialists and Managers who are embedded in the field and provide HSE expertise and support to operating sites. Certain, larger sites may have dedicated environmental or safety personnel.
As an ACC Responsible Care® member company, we continue to monitor and report our health, safety, and environmental metrics annually. Our sustainability metrics, including waste generation and water consumption for 2018 and 2019, were third party assured for the first time in 2020. In 2021, we reviewed our 2020 sustainability metrics and successfully underwent third party verification of this data as well. We included the assured 2020 data on our website and in our 2021 Sustainability Report, which we published in June 2022. The further information contained on our website is not incorporated herein by reference and is not a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We also have established a Product Safety and Product Stewardship management system that is compliant with the RC14001 technical specification and is supported by a highly skilled Product Stewardship Manager. We conduct Product Stewardship reviews as part of new product development and routinely evaluate product safety risk for raw materials, intermediates, and finished products.
Social Responsibility, including human capital discussions. We seek to act in a socially responsible manner through our various HSE programs as described above, our commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce, engagement with and support for the communities where we live and work, and advancement of socially responsible business practices through partnerships and other industry frameworks.
We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment, and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender identity and expression, national origin, disability, age (40 or above), ancestry, genetic information, marital status, veteran status or any other classification protected by law. This commitment applies to all terms and conditions of employment including recruiting, hiring, placement, advancement, training, transfer, demotion, lay off and recall, termination, compensation and benefits.
It is our policy to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in each jurisdiction in which we operate in order to provide appropriate working conditions for our colleagues. This means that we comply with applicable laws regarding the employment relationship including those that (1) prohibit child labor, (2) set acceptable working conditions and working hours, (3) provide for fair wages, including minimum wages and overtime, (4) prohibit forced or bonded labor, (5) permit freedom of association and collective bargaining, and (6) prohibit discrimination, harassment and other forms of degrading or inhumane treatment. Using tools such as our Supplier Code of Conduct and contractual provisions, we also hold our business partners to these same standards.
Our flagship “Success through People” program furthers our strategy by acknowledging our workforce is key to our success. We offer highly competitive salaries, benefits, developmental opportunities and work/life balance. We proactively seek to attract, incentivize and retain a talented and motivated workforce. Our global succession planning process is designed to provide sufficient talented personnel to fill key leadership, innovation and manufacturing roles well into the future and to better prepare employees for their future at the Company. In order to enable a pipeline for our leadership, we maintain a robust Emerging Leaders program to identify and nurture top talent to build leadership capabilities and provide the fundamental skills we believe every leader needs to generate passion and productivity in their team. The program also provides an important networking opportunity that creates a connected community of leaders at the Company.
We review our compensation and benefits programs periodically to ensure continued competitiveness. In the US, our benefit program is designed to help protect the health and financial well-being of our full-time employees and their family members today, offering a choice of several medical & dental plans, as well as vision, flexible spending accounts, short-term and long-term disability insurance and an employee assistance program. To help them prepare for their future, we offer a defined contribution savings plan, which includes company contributions. Benefits outside the US are designed to supplement government-provided programs in each country.
We actively promote diversity within the Company and seek to have a workforce that reflects the diversity of the societies in which we operate.
We benefit from our talented, dedicated and diverse employee population. As of December 31, 2022, we had 890 employees worldwide, of which 754 were employed in the United States and the remainder outside of the United States. Further, as of December 31, 2022, approximately 23% of our U.S.-based executives, managers and professionals were females and 21% were non-white males. Our rate of hiring veterans increased from 7% in 2021 to 11% in 2022, which is double the federal government’s national veterans hiring benchmark for 2022. As of December 31, 2022, approximately 45% of our employees were represented by a union, works council or other employee representative body. We believe we have good relationships with our employees and their respective works councils, unions or other bargaining representatives.
This international strength, supported by our core values of integrity and fairness, fosters a rich culture founded on diversity of thought. We firmly believe that success is achieved through the intellect and commitment of our people, so we employ a long-term human capital program to attract, retain and develop talent for the future. We are proud of our highly collaborative teams that enable an inclusive workplace where employees are encouraged to bring their own experiences to promote innovation from all levels of the organization. This constructive work environment has been re-enforced with the recent implementation of a fully integrated on-line performance management process that improves the communication of aligned goals, encourages consistent feedback and furthers employee engagement. Today, there are women on the leadership teams of each of our businesses as well as in all our functions: R&D, Finance, HSE and Human Resources.
In 2022, our sites continued to work to have a positive impact in the communities in which we operate. For example, for the holidays (a) our office in The Woodlands, Texas donated blankets, popcorn, and Christmas candy to the Montgomery County Community Center; (b) our Houston, Texas plant personnel provided gifts to five neighborhood families during the holiday season and also held a dinner for community members at their Community Advisory Panel meeting; (c) our Hammond, Indiana plant conducted a toiletry drive for needy people; (d) our Baytown, Texas plant supported two local families with household supplies, food, and Christmas gifts and also had 11 employees volunteer at the Houston Food to prepare Backpack Buddy meals; (e) employees at our Baton Rouge facility adopted 20 Angels through the Salvation Army for the holiday season; (f) our Martinez, California facility held a holiday dinner for the Community Advisory Panel; (g) our Dominguez, California plant personnel donated $1,000 to a local Rotary Club to subsidize food items for local families; and (h) our Malvern, Pennsylvania office personnel participated in the “Adopt a Child” program sponsored by a local church to provide holiday gifts for children whose families would not otherwise be able to afford gifts.
Governance. We maintain and consistently reinforce within our organization a series of policies and practices designed to ensure that decisions made on behalf of our company are properly made and executed. Our governance programs and policies start with a strong tone at the top and are summarized in our Executive Statement on Ethics and Compliance, which has been issued by our CEO and our Chief Compliance Officer and distributed throughout the organization.
The principles set forth in the Executive Statement are codified in our Code of Conduct, which sets forth the legal and ethical standards to which our employees must adhere, including (a) acting with integrity, (b) avoiding actual or apparent conflicts of interest, (c) complying with the rules and regulations of federal, state, provincial, local governments, and other appropriate regulatory agencies, (d) complying with all rules and regulations prohibiting fraud, bribery, corrupt practices, anti-competitive activities and trading with embargoed persons and countries, (e) complying with all company policies and procedures, and (f) actively promoting ethical behavior in the workplace. We provide annual training on our Code of Conduct to all our global employees and have enhanced our delivery with online learning modules.
Our governance programs and policies can be found in the Company’s Ethics section of the sustainability webpages, which is routinely updated and includes a description of our enterprise risk management program and our policies on child labor, human trafficking, anti-harassment, antibribery, and cyber security all of which are evaluated by third-parties, including EcoVadis. In addition, the investors pages of our website contain additional materials regarding our corporate governance process, including our Board committee charters, our corporate governance guidelines, our Code of Conduct, our Supplier Code of Conduct and other documents.
Additional Sustainability Information: Further information about our sustainability programs can be found on our website at https://www.ecovyst.com/sustainability/. The information available at our sustainability web site includes our inaugural sustainability report, our sustainability goals (and how such goals map to the UN Sustainable Development Goals), materiality matrix, letters of assurance, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Disclosure and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Index, our HSES Policy Statement, our Corporate Code of Conduct, our Human Rights Policy Statement, a description of our Ethics & Compliance Complaint and Review Process and our Labor Policy. The further information contained on our website is not incorporated herein by reference and is not a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We are subject to extensive, evolving and increasingly stringent national and local environmental laws and regulations, which address, among other things, the following:
•emissions to the air;
•discharges to soils and surface and subsurface waters;
•other releases into the environment;
•prevention and remediation of releases into the indoor or outdoor environment;
•generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste materials;
•maintenance of safe conditions in the workplace;
•registration and evaluation of chemicals;
•production, handling, labeling or use of chemicals used or produced by us; and
•stewardship of products after manufacture.
We apply the principles of the Environmental Management standard of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14001) at our facilities throughout the world. For chemical facilities in the United States, we also adhere to the Responsible Care RC14001 Technical Specifications of the American Chemistry Council.
We maintain policies and procedures to monitor and control health, safety, and environmental risks, and to monitor compliance with applicable state, national, and international health, safety, and environmental requirements. We have a strong health, safety, environmental organization. We maintain a staff of professionals who are responsible for environmental, safety, health and product regulatory compliance. We have implemented a corporate audit program for all of our facilities. However, we cannot provide assurance that we will be in full compliance at all times with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. We expect that stringent environmental regulations will continue to be imposed on us and our industry in general. Evolving chemical regulation programs throughout the world could impose testing requirements or restrictions on our chemical raw materials and products.
Environmental Remediation. Environmental laws and regulations require mitigation or remediation of the effects of the disposal or release of chemical substances. Under some of these regulations, as the current or former owner or operator of a property, we could be held liable for the costs of removal or remediation of hazardous substances on or under the property, without regard to whether we knew of or caused the contamination, and regardless of whether the practices that resulted in the contamination were permitted at the time they occurred. Many of our current or former production sites have an extended history of industrial use, and it is impossible to predict precisely what effect these laws and regulations will have on us in the future. Soil and groundwater contamination requiring investigation and remediation has been discovered at some of the sites, and might occur or be discovered at other sites. Several active and former facilities currently are undergoing investigation and remediation, including sites in Dominguez, CA and Martinez, CA.
Environmental Programs. We have comprehensive health, safety and environmental compliance, auditing and management programs in place to assist in our compliance with applicable regulatory requirements and with internal policies and procedures, as appropriate. Each facility has developed and implemented specific critical occupational health, safety, environmental, security and loss control programs.
We also have implemented a HSE organizational structure with executive committee level leadership and dedicated environmental experts. We have a Global Director of Health, Safety and Process Safety Management as well as Regional HSE Specialists and Managers who are embedded in the field and provide HSE expertise and support to operating sites. Certain, larger sites may have dedicated environmental or safety personnel.
Product Safety and Product Stewardship
We have established a Product Safety and Product Stewardship management system that is compliant with the RC14001 technical specification and is supported by two highly skilled Product Stewardship Managers, one of which is a REACH Specialist. We conduct Product Stewardship reviews as part of new product development and routinely evaluate product safety risk for raw materials, intermediates, and products.
As a chemical company, we are subject to extensive and evolving regulations regarding the manufacturing, processing, distribution, importing, exporting, and labeling of our products and their raw materials. In the European Union, the REACH regulations came into effect in 2007, with implementation rolling out over time. Registered chemicals then can be subject to further evaluation and potential restrictions. Our high-volume chemicals have been registered under REACH; lower-volume chemicals (mainly catalysts) were registered by the applicable 2018 deadline. To date, no further testing has been required.
Since the promulgation of REACH, other countries have enacted or are in the process of implementing similar comprehensive chemical regulations. These programs include the Korea REACH law, which is requiring registration and potential testing of chemicals, and similar programs under development in the UK, Taiwan, Turkey, India, and elsewhere. In the US, all pertinent chemicals have been designated as “active” under the US EPA Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. At this time, none have been designated as chemicals which the EPA will prioritize and evaluate for regulation. Based on our chemicals and the various regulations promulgated to date, we do not anticipate costly testing requirements nor severe restrictions, but cannot guarantee that we will not be subject to requirements for our products or raw materials that could materially affect our operations. In particular, some of our products might be characterized as nanomaterials and then be subject to evolving, new nanomaterial regulations.
We remain alert for any regulatory changes which may impact our products and their end uses.
Our website address is www.ecovyst.com. We make available free of charge through our website our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”), as well as reports on Forms 3, 4 and 5 filed pursuant to Section 16 of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after such documents are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an Internet website, http://www.sec.gov, which contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding our Company and other issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The information on our website is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this report or incorporated into any other filings we make with the SEC.
Our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Conduct and the charters of the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Health, Safety and Environment Committee of our Board of Directors are also available on our website and are available in print to any shareholder upon request by writing to Ecovyst Investor Relations, 300 Lindenwood Drive, Malvern, PA 19355. In accordance with SEC rules, we intend to disclose any amendment (other than any technical, administrative or other non-substantive) to the Code of Business Conduct, or any waiver of any provision thereof with respect to any of our executive officers, on our website within four business days following such amendment or waiver.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.
In addition to the other information contained in this Form 10-K, you should carefully consider the following risks that we believe are the material risks that we face. The risks described below could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations, and should be read together and in conjunction with the forward-looking statements and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included in Item 7 of this Form 10-K, and our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes thereto.
Risks Related to Our Business Operations
As a global business, we are exposed to local business risks in different countries, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We have operations in several countries, including manufacturing sites, research and development facilities, sales personnel and customer support operations. As of December 31, 2022, we operated ten manufacturing facilities. For the year ended December 31, 2022, our foreign subsidiaries accounted for 6% of our sales. Our operations are affected directly and indirectly by global regulatory, economic, political and social conditions, including:
•new and different legal and regulatory requirements in local jurisdictions;
•export duties or import quotas;
•domestic and foreign customs and tariffs or other trade barriers, including the threat of escalating trade disputes that may result in higher tariffs;
•potential difficulties in staffing and labor disputes;
•potential difficulties in managing and obtaining support and distribution for local operations;
•increased costs of, and availability of, raw materials, energy, transportation or shipping;
•credit risk and financial condition of local customers and distributors;
•potential difficulties in protecting intellectual property rights;
•risk of nationalization of private enterprises by foreign governments;
•potential imposition of restrictions on investments;
•the imposition of withholding taxes or other taxes or royalties on our income, or the adoption of other restrictions on foreign trade or investment, including currency exchange controls;
•potential difficulties in obtaining and enforcing legal judgments in jurisdictions outside the United States;
•potential difficulties in obtaining and enforcing relief in the United States against parties located outside the United States;
•potential difficulties in enforcing agreements and collecting receivables;
•risks relating to environmental, health and safety matters;
•regional conflicts, such as the invasion of Ukraine by Russia;
•risks relating to epidemics and pandemics, including effects caused by the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), variants thereof and other illnesses such as RSV and influenza; and
•local political, economic and social conditions, including the possibility of hyperinflationary conditions and political instability in certain countries.
We may not be successful in developing and implementing policies and strategies to address the foregoing factors in a timely and effective manner at each location where we do business. Consequently, the occurrence of one or more of the foregoing factors could have a material adverse effect on our international operations or upon our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our operations and financial results have been and may continue to be adversely affected by general economic conditions.
We sell catalysts and services that are used in manufacturing processes and as components of, or ingredients in, other products and, as a result, our sales are correlated with and affected by fluctuations in the level of industrial production and manufacturing output and by fluctuations in general economic activity. Demand for the products we manufacture often depends on trends in demand in the end uses our customers serve. General economic conditions and macroeconomic trends, including economic recessions and inflation, could affect overall demand for our products and any overall decline in such demand could significantly reduce our sales and profitability. In addition, volatility and disruption in financial markets could adversely affect our sales and results of operations by limiting our customers’ ability to obtain the financing necessary to maintain or expand their own operations. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic downturn affected our financial results during 2020, and the prolonged continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the possible spread of COVID-19 variants could result in a sustained or further economic downturn that may continue to affect our operations and financial results.
Unfavorable global economic conditions could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected by general conditions in the global economy and in the global financial markets. For example, the global economy has experienced extreme volatility and disruptions, including significant volatility in commodity and market prices, including increasing energy prices, volatility in sulfur prices, declines in consumer confidence, declines in economic growth, supply chain interruptions, uncertainty about economic stability, record inflation globally, rising interest rates and the threat of recession. Unfavorable economic conditions could result in a variety of risks to our business, including demand and pricing for our products and difficulty in forecasting our financial results. A weak or declining economy also could strain our suppliers, possibly resulting in supply chain disruptions. In addition, inflation has increased our costs, which could impact our profitability. These and other economic factors could adversely impact our business and results of operations.
Exchange rate fluctuations could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
As a result of our international operations, for the year ended December 31, 2022, we generated 6% of our sales and associated expenses in currencies other than U.S. dollars. We incur currency transaction risk whenever we enter into either a purchase or sale transaction using a currency other than the local currency of the transacting entity. The main currencies to which we are exposed, besides the U.S. dollar, are the Euro and the British pound. The exchange rates between these currencies and the U.S. dollar have fluctuated significantly in recent years and may continue to do so in the future. In many cases, we sell exclusively in those jurisdictions and do not have the ability to mitigate our exposure to currency fluctuations through our operations. Accordingly, to the extent that we are unable to match sales made in such foreign currencies with costs paid in the same currency, exchange rate fluctuations could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In the past, we have experienced economic loss and a negative impact on earnings as a result of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations and any future fluctuations may have similar impacts. We expect that the amount of our sales denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies may increase in future periods. Given the volatility of exchange rates, there can be no assurance that we will be able to effectively manage our currency transaction risks or that any volatility in currency exchange rates will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.”
Additionally, because our consolidated financial results are reported in U.S dollars, the translation of sales or earnings generated in other currencies into U.S. dollars can result in a significant increase or decrease in the amount of those sales or earnings in our financial statements, which also affects the comparability of our results of operations and cash flows between financial periods.
Our international operations require us to comply with anti-corruption laws, economic sanctions, export controls and similar laws and regulations of the U.S. government and various international jurisdictions in which we do business.
Doing business on a worldwide basis requires us and our subsidiaries to comply with the laws and regulations of the U.S. government and various international jurisdictions, and our failure to successfully comply with these laws and regulations may restrict our operations, trade practices, investment decisions and partnering activities and may expose us to liabilities. Such laws and regulations apply to companies, individual directors, officers, employees and agents.
In particular, our international operations are subject to U.S. and foreign anti-corruption laws and regulations, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and the U.K. Bribery Act. For example, the FCPA prohibits us from providing anything of value to foreign officials for the purposes of influencing official decisions or obtaining or retaining business or otherwise obtaining favorable treatment, and requires us to maintain adequate record-keeping and internal accounting practices to accurately reflect our transactions. As part of our business, we may deal with state-owned business enterprises, the employees and representatives of which may be considered foreign officials for purposes of the FCPA. In addition, some of the international locations into which we sell our products lack a developed legal system and have elevated levels of corruption. As a result, we are exposed to corruption-related risk.
In addition, we are subject to applicable economic sanctions, export controls, and similar laws and regulations imposed by the U.S. government and other countries. These laws and regulations may restrict our business practices, or the counterparties or regions with which we can trade. In addition, these laws and regulations are subject to frequent change, and such changes may require us to adjust our business practices, including by ceasing business activities in newly sanctioned countries or regions or with newly sanctioned entities or individuals, or to modify our compliance program. For example, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the related sanctions, export controls or other actions that have been or may be initiated by nations—including the U.S., the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Russia—could disrupt or otherwise adversely impact our customers in those countries, as well as adversely impact our business or our supply chain, business partners or customers in other countries beyond Ukraine and Russia. Further, violations of these legal requirements are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment, civil penalties, disgorgement of profits, injunctions, debarment from government contracts, loss of export privileges and other remedial measures.
We have established policies and procedures designed to assist us and our personnel in complying with applicable U.S. and international laws and regulations. These policies and procedures are codified in our Code of Conduct and other various policies. However, there can be no assurance that our policies and procedures will effectively prevent us from violating these laws and regulations in every transaction in which we may engage, and such a violation could subject us to governmental investigations and adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
Alternative technology or other changes in our customers’ products may reduce or eliminate the need for certain of our products.
Many of the products that we sell are used in manufacturing processes and/or to produce other products and, as a result, changes in our customers’ end products or processes or alternative technologies may enable our customers to reduce or eliminate consumption or use of our products. Additionally, shifting consumer preference could result in a significant reduction in the future use of fossil fuels, which would have a negative impact on our zeolite catalysts and Ecoservices businesses. If we are unable to respond appropriately to such new developments, such changes could seriously impair our ability to profitably market certain of our products.
Our new product development and research and development efforts may not succeed and our competitors may develop more effective or successful products.
The industries in which we operate are subject to periodic technological changes and ongoing product improvements. In order to maintain our margins and remain competitive, we must successfully develop, manufacture and market new or improved products. As a result, we must commit substantial resources each year to new product research and development. Ongoing investments in new product research and development could result in higher costs without a proportional increase in revenues. Additionally, for any new product program, there is a risk of technical or market failure, in which case we may need to commit additional resources to the program and may not be able to develop the new products needed to maintain our competitive position. Moreover, new products may have lower margins than the products they replace or may not successfully attract end users.
We also expect competition to increase as our competitors develop and introduce new and enhanced products. As such products are introduced, our products may become obsolete or our competitors’ products may be marketed more effectively. If we fail to develop new products, maintain or improve our margins with our new products or keep pace with technological developments, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows will suffer.
If we are unable to pass on increases in raw material prices, including natural gas, to our customers or to retain or replace our key suppliers, our results of operations and cash flows may be negatively affected.
We purchase significant amounts of raw materials, including precursor products in our Catalyst Technologies business and sulfur in our Ecoservices business, and we purchase significant amounts of natural gas to supply the energy required in our production process. The cost of these raw materials represents a substantial portion of our operating expenses and our results of operations have been, and could in the future be, significantly affected by increases in the costs of such raw materials. In addition, we obtain a significant portion of our raw materials from certain key suppliers. If any of those suppliers is unable to meet its obligations under current supply agreements, we may be forced to pay higher prices to obtain the necessary raw materials. Furthermore, if any of the raw materials that we use become unavailable within the geographic area from which we currently source them, we may not be able to obtain suitable and cost-effective substitutes. Any interruption of supply or any price increase of raw materials could adversely affect our profitability.
While we attempt to match raw material price increases with corresponding product price increases, our ability to pass on increases in the cost of raw materials to our customers is, to a large extent, dependent upon our contractual arrangements and market conditions. There may be periods of time during which we are not able to recover increases in the cost of raw materials due to our contractual arrangements or weakness in demand for, or oversupply of, our products. Specifically, timing differences between price adjustments of raw materials and adjustments to our product prices, which in many cases are adjusted quarterly or less often, have had and may continue to have a negative effect on our profitability. Even in periods during which raw material prices decline, we may suffer decreasing profits if customers seek relief in the form of lower sales prices or if the raw material price reductions occur at a slower rate than decreases in the selling prices of our products. Such volatility can result in commercial disputes with customers and suppliers with respect to interpretations of complex contractual arrangements, the adverse resolution of which could reduce our profitability.
In the past, we have entered into long-term supply contracts for certain of our raw materials. As these contracts expire, we may not be able to renegotiate or enter into new long-term supply contracts that will offer similar protection from price increases and other fluctuations on terms that are satisfactory to us or at all.
We face substantial competition in the industries in which we operate.
Our Catalyst Technologies segment primarily competes with other global producers in the petrochemicals and refining industries such as Grace, BASF, UOP, and Albemarle, as well as other niche competitors such as Tosoh, Axens, and Haldor Topsoe. In our Ecoservices segment, we compete in the North American refining services industry with competitors such as Chemtrade and Veolia. We believe that we typically compete on the basis of performance, product consistency, quality, reliability, and ability to innovate in response to customer demands.
Our competitors may improve their competitive position in our core end use applications by successfully introducing new products, improving their manufacturing processes, expanding their capacity or manufacturing facilities or responding more effectively than we do to new or emerging technologies and changes in customer requirements. Some of our competitors may be able to lower prices for products that compete with our products if their costs are lower. In addition, consolidation among our competitors or customers may result in reduced demand for our products or make it more difficult for us to compete. Some of our competitors’ financial, technological and other resources may be greater than ours or they may have less debt than we do and, as a result, may be better able to withstand changes to industry conditions. The occurrence of any of these events could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to the risk of loss resulting from non-payment or non-performance by our customers.
Our credit procedures and policies may not be adequate to minimize or mitigate customer credit risk. Our customers may experience financial difficulties, including bankruptcies, restructurings and liquidations. These and other financial problems our customers may experience, as well as potential financial weakness in the industries in which we operate or general economic conditions, may increase our risk in extending trade credit to customers. A significant adverse change in a customer’s financial position could cause us to limit or discontinue business with such customer, require us to assume more credit risk relating to such customer’s receivables or limit our ability to collect accounts receivable from such customer, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
We rely on a limited number of customers for a meaningful portion of our business. A loss of one or more of these customers could adversely impact our profitability.
A loss of any significant customer, including a pipeline customer, or a decrease in the provision of products to any significant customer could have an adverse effect on our business until alternative arrangements are secured. Any alternative arrangement to replace the loss of a customer could result in increased variable costs relating to product shipment. In addition, any new customer agreement we enter into may not have terms as favorable as those contained in our current customer agreements, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. For the year ended December 31, 2022, our top ten customers represented approximately 58% of our sales (including our proportionate 50% share of sales attributable to the Zeolyst JV) and one single customer represented 13% or $103.3 million of our sales in both Ecoservices and Catalyst Technologies.
Refineries, which represent a sizable subset of our Ecoservices segment customer base, have undergone significant consolidation and additional consolidation is possible in the future. Such consolidation could further increase our reliance on a small number of customers and further increase our customers’ leverage over us, resulting in downward pressure on prices and an adverse effect on our profitability.
Multi-year customer contracts in our Ecoservices segment are subject to potential early termination and such contracts may not be renewed at the end of their respective terms.
Many of the customer contracts in our Ecoservices segment are multi-year agreements. Sulfuric acid regeneration customer contracts are typically on five- to ten-year terms and virgin sulfuric acid customer contracts are typically on one- to five-year terms, with larger customers typically favoring longer terms. Excluding contracts with automatic evergreen provisions, approximately 30% of our sulfuric acid volume for the year ended December 31, 2022 was under contracts expiring at the end of 2023 or beyond. In addition, our sulfuric acid regeneration contracts with major refinery customers typically allow for termination with advance notice of one to two years. We cannot provide assurance that our existing contracts will not be subjected to early terminations or that our expiring contracts will be renewed at the end of their terms. If we receive a significant number of such contract terminations or experience non-renewals from key customers in our Ecoservices segment, our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.
Our quarterly results of operations are subject to fluctuations because the demand for some of our products is seasonal.
Our Ecoservices segment typically experiences seasonal fluctuations as a result of higher demand for gasoline products in the summer months. Because of the seasonality of some of our product groups, the results for any one quarter are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for any other quarter or for the full year.
Our growth projects may result in significant expenditures before generating revenues, if any, which may materially and adversely affect our ability to implement our business strategy.
We have made and continue to make significant investments in each of our businesses. These projects require us to commit significant capital to, among other things, implement engineering plans and obtain the necessary permits before we generate revenues related to our investments in these businesses. Such projects may take longer to complete or require additional unanticipated expenditures and may never generate profits. If we fail to recover our investment, or these projects never become profitable, our ability to implement our business strategy may be materially and adversely affected.
We may be liable for damages based on product liability claims brought against us or our customers for costs associated with recalls of our or our customers’ products.
Even though we are generally a materials and services supplier rather than a manufacturer of finished goods, the sale of our products involves the risk of product liability claims and voluntary or government-ordered product recalls. For example, certain of the products that we manufacture are used in chemical manufacturing process in our customers’ manufacturing operations and are used in and around other chemical manufacturing facilities and other locations where personal injury or property damage may occur. While we attempt to protect ourselves from product liability claims and exposures through our adherence to standards and specifications, quality control and assurance and through contractual negotiations and provisions, there can be no assurance that our efforts will ultimately protect us from such claims. A product liability claim or voluntary or government-ordered product recall could result in substantial and unexpected expenditures, affect customer confidence in our products and divert management’s attention from other responsibilities.
A product recall or successful product liability claim or series of claims against us in excess of our insurance coverage and for which we are not otherwise indemnified could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. We have product liability insurance in amounts that we believe are adequate to cover this product liability risk. However, our insurance may not provide adequate coverage against all potential liabilities, including product recall liabilities. If a claim is brought against us, we might be required to pay legal and other expenses to defend the claim, as well as pay uncovered damage awards resulting from a claim brought successfully against us and these damages could be significant and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition. Furthermore, whether or not we are ultimately successful in defending any such claims, we might be required to direct significant financial and managerial resources to such defense and adverse publicity is likely to result.
We are required to comply with a wide variety of laws and regulations, and are subject to regulation by various federal, state and foreign agencies, and our failure to comply with existing and future regulatory requirements could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We compete in industries in which we and our customers are subject to federal, state, local, international and transnational laws and regulations. Such laws and regulations are numerous and sometimes conflicting, and any future changes to such laws and regulations could adversely affect us.
In order to obtain regulatory approval for certain of our new products, we must, among other things, demonstrate to the relevant authority that the product is safe and effective for its intended uses and that we are capable of manufacturing the product in accordance with current regulations. The process of seeking approvals can be costly, time-consuming and subject to unanticipated and significant delays. Any delay in obtaining, or any failure to obtain or maintain, these approvals would adversely affect our ability to introduce new products and to generate sales from those products, and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Our products, including the raw materials we handle, are subject to rigorous chemical registration and industrial hygiene regulations and investigation. There is risk that a key raw material, chemical or substance, or one of the end products of which our products are a part, may be recharacterized as having a toxicological or health-related impact on the environment, our customers or our employees. Industrial hygiene regulations are continually strengthened and if such recharacterization occurs, the relevant raw material, chemical or product may be banned or we may incur increased costs in order to comply with new requirements. Changes in industrial hygiene regulations also affect the marketability of certain of our products, and future regulatory changes may have a material adverse effect on our business.
New laws and regulations, and changes in existing laws and regulations, may become effective in the future and could prevent or inhibit the development, distribution and sale of our products, including, but not limited to, the imposition of additional compliance costs, seizures, confiscation, recall or monetary fines. For example, as discussed in more detail in “Business-Environmental Regulations” and “Business-Chemical Product Regulation,” we may be materially impacted by regulatory initiatives worldwide with respect to chemical product safety such as the 2016 amendments to the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act, the E.U. regulation “Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals” (“REACH”), and/or similar regulations being enacted in other countries (e.g., China REACH; Korea REACH). Additionally, the current U.S. administration may seek to tighten current environmental standards and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which could have a material adverse effect on our sales into the clean fuels, emission control and other industries.
We are subject to extensive environmental, health and safety regulations and face various risks associated with potential non-compliance or releases of hazardous materials.
Like other chemical companies, our operations and properties are subject to extensive and stringent federal, state, local and foreign environmental laws and regulations. U.S. federal environmental laws that affect us include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). These laws govern, among other things, emissions to the air, discharges or releases of hazardous substances to land, surface, subsurface strata and water, wastewater discharges and the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment, disposal and remediation of hazardous materials and petroleum products. We are also subject to other federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations regarding chemical and product safety as well as employee health and safety matters, including process safety requirements. These laws and regulations may become more stringent over time and the failure to comply with such laws and regulations can result in significant fines or penalties.
We have in the past been and currently are the subject of investigations and enforcement actions pursuant to environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act. Some of these matters were resolved through the payment of significant monetary penalties and a requirement to implement corrective actions at our facilities. For instance, we remain subject to a 2007 Consent Decree that resolves certain alleged Clean Air Act violations at six Ecoservices operating locations involving New Source Review, Prevention of Significant Deterioration and New Source Performance Standard obligations under the U.S. federal rules for the pollutants sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid mist. The Consent Decree required Solvay (the owner at the time) to pay a $2 million penalty and spend approximately $34 million on air pollution controls at our facilities, the majority of which was received from customers in contractual arrangements. Work under the Consent Decree has proceeded since 2007, and all of the significant capital improvements related to the Consent Decree have been completed. Three of our operating locations have been released from the scope of the Consent Decree and we are seeking release of the other locations covered by the Consent Decree; however, an agreement has been reached on language with all agencies pending issuance of New Source Review permit amendments at the remaining sites.
We are required by these environmental laws and regulations to obtain registrations, licenses, permits and other approvals in order to operate, to make disclosures to public authorities about our chemical handling and usage activities and to install expensive pollution control and spill containment equipment at our facilities, or to incur other capital expenditures aimed at achieving or maintaining compliance with such laws and regulations. We are in the process of completing a substantial environmentally-driven capital improvement project in 2023 and failure to complete this project or to timely identify and implement other capital projects required to achieve or maintain compliance could expose us to enforcement and penalty.
Under CERCLA and analogous statutes in local and foreign jurisdictions, current and former owners and operators of land impacted by releases of hazardous substances are strictly liable for the investigation and remediation of the contamination resulting from the release. Liability under CERCLA and analogous laws is strict, unlimited, joint, several and retroactive, may be imposed regardless of fault and may relate to historical activities or contamination not caused by the affected property’s current owner or operator. We could be held responsible for all cleanup costs at a site, whether currently or formerly owned or operated, regardless of fault, knowledge, timing or cause of the contamination. Further, under CERCLA and analogous laws, we may be jointly and severally liable for contamination at third party sites where we or our predecessors in interest have sent waste for treatment or disposal, even if we complied with applicable laws. In addition, we may face liability for personal injury, property damage and natural resource damage resulting from environmental conditions attributable to hazardous substance releases at or from facilities we currently own or operate or formerly owned or operated or to which we sent waste. As such, a product spill or emission at one of our facilities or otherwise resulting from our operations could have adverse consequences on the environment and surrounding community and could result in significant liabilities with respect to investigation and remediation.
Our facilities have an extended history of industrial use, and soil and groundwater contamination exists at some of our sites. As of December 31, 2022, we had current remediation, monitoring and/or maintenance obligations at several of our current or former sites, including Dominguez, California and Martinez, California. As of December 31, 2022, we had established reserves of approximately $0.4 million to cover anticipated expenses at these sites, all of which have reached relatively mature stages of either the investigation, remediation or monitoring process. Actual costs to complete these projects may exceed our current estimates.
As of December 31, 2022, our total reserves associated with environmental remediation and enforcement matters were $0.4 million. In addition to the ongoing remediation and monitoring activities discussed above, there is risk that the long-term industrial use at our facilities may have resulted in, or may in the future result in, contamination that has yet to be discovered, which could require additional, unplanned investigation and remediation efforts by us for which no reserves have been established, potentially without regard to whether we knew of, or caused, the release of such contaminants. Discovery of additional or unknown conditions at our facilities could have an adverse impact on our business by substantially increasing our capital expenditures, including compliance, investigation and remediation costs. Such environmental liabilities attached to our properties, or for properties that we are otherwise responsible for, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.
Existing and proposed regulations to address climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions may cause us to incur significant additional operating and capital expenses and may impact our business and results of operations.
Certain of our operations result in emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”), such as carbon dioxide. Growing concern about the sources and impacts of global climate change has led to a number of domestic and foreign legislative and administrative measures, both proposed and enacted, to monitor, regulate and limit carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions. In the European Union, our emissions are regulated under the E.U. Emissions Trading System (the “E.U. ETS”), an E.U.-wide trading scheme for industrial GHG emissions. The E.U. ETS is anticipated to become progressively more stringent over time, including by reducing the number of allowances to emit GHGs that E.U. member states will allocate without charge to industrial facilities. In the United States, the EPA has promulgated federal GHG regulations under the Clean Air Act that affect certain sources. For example, the EPA has issued mandatory GHG reporting requirements, under which our Dominguez, California and Baton Rouge, Louisiana facilities currently report. Moreover, California has enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (“Assembly Bill 32”), a law that establishes a comprehensive program to reduce GHG emissions from all sources throughout the state and contains reporting requirements under which our Dominguez and Martinez facilities currently report. Our Dominguez facility also participates in the emissions trading market established under Assembly Bill 32. Although we believe it is likely that GHG emissions will continue to be regulated in at least some regions of the United States and in other countries (in addition to the European Union) in the future, we cannot yet predict the form such regulation will take (such as a cap-and-trade program, technology mandate, emissions tax or other regulatory mechanism) or, consequently, estimate the costs that we may be required to incur in respect of such requirements, which could, for example, require that we install emission control equipment, purchase emissions allowances, administer and manage our GHG emissions program or address other regulatory obligations. Such requirements could also adversely affect our energy supply or the costs and types of raw materials that we use for fuel. Accordingly, regulations controlling or limiting GHG emissions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations, including by reducing demand for our products.
Sustainability initiatives may result in operational changes and expenditures, reduced demand for our products and adversely affect our business.
We recognize that sustainability is a growing global environmental concern. Continuing political and social attention to the issue of sustainability has resulted in both existing and pending international agreements and national, regional or local legislation and regulatory measures to increase sustainability. As a result of heightened public awareness and attention to the issue of sustainability as well as continued regulatory initiatives, demand for certain of our products may be reduced, which may have an adverse effect on our sales volumes, revenues and margins.
Production and distribution of our products could be disrupted for a variety of reasons, and such disruptions could expose us to significant losses or liabilities.
Certain of the hazards and risks associated with our manufacturing processes and the related storage and transportation of raw materials, products and wastes may disrupt production at our manufacturing facilities and the distribution of products to our customers. These potentially disruptive risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
•pipeline and storage tank leaks and ruptures;
•explosions and fires;
•inclement weather and natural disasters;
•failure of mechanical, process safety and pollution control equipment;
•chemical spills and other discharges or releases of toxic or hazardous substances or gases;
•epidemics and pandemics, including effects caused by the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and variants thereof; and
•exposure to toxic chemicals.
These hazards could expose employees, customers, the community and others to toxic chemicals and other hazards, contaminate the environment, damage property, result in personal injury or death, lead to an interruption or suspension of operations, damage our reputation and adversely affect the productivity and profitability of a particular manufacturing
facility or our business as a whole. Such hazards could also result in the need for remediation, governmental enforcement, regulatory shutdowns, the imposition of government fines and penalties and claims brought by governmental entities or third parties. Legal claims and regulatory actions could subject us to both civil and criminal penalties, which could affect our product sales, reputation and profitability.
If disruptions at our manufacturing facilities or in our distribution channels occur, alternative options with sufficient capacity or capabilities may not be available, may cost substantially more or may require significant time to start production or distribution. Any of these scenarios could negatively affect our business and financial performance. If one of our manufacturing facilities or distribution channels is unable to produce or distribute our products for an extended period of time, our sales may be reduced by the shortfall caused by the disruption and we may not be able to meet our customers’ needs, which could cause them to seek other suppliers. Furthermore, to the extent a production disruption occurs at a manufacturing facility that has been operating at or near full capacity, the resulting shortage of our product could be particularly harmful because production at the manufacturing facility may not be able to reach levels achieved prior to the disruption. Such risks are heightened in our Ecoservices segment, which has operations and customers primarily located in the Gulf Coast, which is susceptible to a heightened risk of hurricanes, and Northern California, which is susceptible to a heightened risk of earthquakes. For example, in December 2022, the operations of our Ecoservices’ Houston and Hammond facilities were disrupted by Winter Storm Elliot. We are still in the process of analyzing the impact on earnings as a result of this operational interruption.
The insurance that we maintain may not fully cover all potential exposures.
We maintain property, business interruption, casualty and other types of insurance, but such insurance may not cover all risks associated with the operation of our business or our manufacturing process and the related use, storage and transportation of raw materials, products and wastes in or from our manufacturing sites or distribution centers. While we have purchased what we deem to be adequate limits of coverage and broadly worded policies, our coverage is subject to exclusions and limitations, including higher self-insured retentions or deductibles and maximum limits and liabilities covered. Notwithstanding diligent efforts to successfully procure specialty coverage for environmental liability and remediation, we may incur losses beyond the limits or outside the terms of coverage of our insurance policies, including liabilities for environmental remediation. In addition, from time to time, various types of insurance for companies in the industries in which we operate have not been available on commercially acceptable terms or, in some cases, at all. We are potentially at additional risk if one or more of our insurance carriers fail. Additionally, severe disruptions in the domestic and global financial markets could adversely impact the ratings and survival of some insurers. Future downgrades in the ratings of enough insurers could adversely impact both the availability of appropriate insurance coverage and its cost. In the future, we may not be able to obtain coverage at current levels, if at all, and our premiums may increase significantly on coverage that we maintain.
We could be subject to damages based on claims brought against us by our customers or lose customers as a result of the failure of our products to meet certain quality specifications.
If a product fails to perform in a manner consistent with quality specifications, or has a shorter useful life than that which was guaranteed, a customer could seek replacement of the product or damages for costs incurred as a result of the product failing to perform as guaranteed. A successful claim or series of claims against us could cause reputational harm and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and could result in a loss of one or more customers.
We may engage in strategic acquisitions or dispositions of certain assets or businesses that could affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
We may selectively pursue complementary acquisitions, such as the Chem32 acquisition, and joint ventures, such as the Zeolyst Joint Venture, each of which inherently involves a number of risks and presents financial, managerial and operational challenges, including:
•potential disruption of our ongoing business and distraction of management;
•difficulty with integration of personnel and financial and other systems;
•hiring additional management and other critical personnel; and
•increasing the scope, geographic diversity and complexity of our operations.
In addition, we may encounter unforeseen obstacles or costs in the integration of acquired businesses. For example, the presence of one or more material liabilities of an acquired company that are unknown to us at the time of acquisition may have a material adverse effect on our business. Our acquisition and joint venture strategy may not be received positively by customers, and we may not realize any anticipated benefits from acquisitions or joint ventures.
We may also opportunistically pursue dispositions of certain assets and businesses, which may involve material amounts of assets or lines of business, which could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. If any such dispositions were to occur, under the terms of the agreements governing our outstanding indebtedness, we may be required to apply the proceeds of the sale to repay such indebtedness.
In addition, our strategic acquisitions and dispositions may also affect the diversity of our assets and our capital structure. As a result, our acquisitions and dispositions could affect our business, results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Further, all the risks associated with our acquisitions and dispositions may not be immediately known to us, and the anticipated benefits of such acquisition or disposition may not be fully realized.
On December 14, 2020, we completed the sale of our Performance Materials business to Potters Buyer, LLC, an affiliate of The Jordan Company, L.P., for a purchase price of $650.0 million, which was subject to certain adjustments for indebtedness, working capital, and cash at the closing of the transaction.
Effective on August 1, 2021, we completed the sale of our Performance Chemicals business to Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. and Koch Mineral & Trading LLC for a purchase price of $1.1 billion, which was subject to certain adjustments including for indebtedness, cash, working capital and transaction expenses at the closing of the transaction.
Our joint ventures may not operate according to their business plans if our partners fail to fulfill their obligations or differences in views among our partners results in delayed decisions or failures to agree on major issues, which may adversely affect our results of operations and force us to dedicate additional resources to these joint ventures.
We currently participate in a joint venture relating to the Zeolyst International business and may enter into additional joint ventures in the future. The nature of a joint venture requires us to share control with unaffiliated third parties and we sometimes have joint and several liability with our joint venture partners. If our joint venture partners do not fulfill their obligations, or if differences in views among the joint venture participants results in delayed decisions or failures to agree on major issues, the affected joint venture may not be able to operate according to its business plan. For example, the Zeolyst Joint Venture is structured as a general partnership in which we are equal partners with Shell Catalysts & Technologies, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell plc. or “Shell”. Accordingly, we do not control the Zeolyst Joint Venture and cannot unilaterally undertake strategies, plans, goals and operations or determine when cash distributions will be made to us. Furthermore, we are liable on a joint and several basis with Shell for all of the partnership’s liabilities if it does not have sufficient assets to satisfy such liabilities. Such factors may adversely affect our results of operation and force us to dedicate additional and unexpected resources to our joint ventures.
Our failure to protect our intellectual property rights could adversely affect our future performance and growth.
Protection of our proprietary processes, methods, compounds and other technologies is important to our business. We depend upon our ability to develop and protect our intellectual property rights to distinguish our products from those of our competitors. Failure to protect our existing intellectual property rights may allow our competitors to copy our products and may result in the loss of valuable proprietary technologies or other intellectual property. Failure to protect our innovations and trademarks by securing intellectual property rights could also result in our having to pay other companies for infringing on their intellectual property rights. We rely on a combination of patent, trade secret, trademark and copyright law as well as regulatory and judicial enforcement to protect such technologies and trademarks. In addition, the laws of many foreign countries do not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. As of December 31, 2022, we owned 20 patented inventions in the United States, with 197 patents issued in countries around the world and 40 patent applications pending worldwide covering such inventions. Some of these patents are licensed to others. In addition, we have acquired certain rights under patents and inventions of others through licenses. Should any of these licenses granted to us by third parties terminate prior to the expiration of the licensed intellectual property, we would need to cease using the licensed intellectual property, and either develop or license alternative technologies. In such a case, there can be no assurance that alternative technologies exist or that we would be able to obtain such a license on favorable terms.
Competitors and third parties may infringe on our patents or violate our intellectual property rights. Defending and enforcing our intellectual property rights can involve litigation and can be expensive and time consuming. Such proceedings could put our patents at risk of being invalidated and confidential information may be disclosed through the discovery process; these costs and diversion of resources could harm our business.
We cannot provide any assurances that any of our pending applications will mature into issued patents, or that any patents that have issued or may issue in the future do or will include claims with a scope sufficient to provide any competitive advantage. Patents involve complex legal and factual questions and, therefore, the issuance, scope, validity and enforceability of any patent claims we have or may obtain cannot be predicted with certainty. Patents may be challenged, deemed unenforceable, invalidated or circumvented. Patents may be challenged in the courts, as well as in various administrative proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office or foreign patent offices. We are currently and may in the future be a party to various adversarial patent office proceedings involving our patents or the patents of third parties. Such challenges can result in some or all of the claims of the challenged patent being invalidated, deemed unenforceable, or interpreted narrowly which, in the case of challenges to our own patents, may be adverse to our interests. Accordingly, the issuance of patents is not conclusive of the validity, scope, or enforceability of such patents. Moreover, even if valid and enforceable, competitors may be able to design around our patents or use pre-existing technologies to compete with us.
We also rely upon unpatented proprietary know-how, continuing technological innovation and other trade secrets to develop and maintain our competitive position, which may not provide us with complete protection against competitors. Misappropriation or unauthorized disclosure of our proprietary know-how could harm our competitive position or have an adverse effect on our business. While it is our policy to enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees and third parties to protect our intellectual property rights and we strive to maintain the physical security of our properties and the security of our IT systems, there can be no assurances that:
•our confidentiality agreements will not be breached;
•our security measures will not be breached;
•such agreements will provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets or proprietary know-how; or
•adequate remedies will be available in the event of an unauthorized use or disclosure of such trade secrets and know-how.
In addition, there can be no assurances that others will not obtain knowledge of these trade secrets through independent development or other access by legal means.
Measures taken by us to protect these assets and rights may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets or proprietary manufacturing expertise and adequate remedies may not be available in the event of an unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets or manufacturing expertise. In addition, as noted above, our patents and other intellectual property rights may be challenged, invalidated, circumvented or rendered unenforceable.
Furthermore, we cannot provide assurance that any pending patent or trademark application filed by us will result in an issued patent or registered trademark or, if patents are issued to us, that those patents will provide meaningful protection against competitors or against competitive technologies. The failure of our patents or other measures to protect our processes, apparatuses, technology, trade secrets and proprietary manufacturing expertise, methods and compounds or trademarks and provide us with freedom to exclude competition could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. See “Business-Intellectual Property.”
Our products may infringe the intellectual property rights of others, which may cause us to incur unexpected costs or prevent us from selling our products.
Our industry is characterized by vigilant pursuit of intellectual property rights, particularly with respect to our silica catalysts and zeolite catalysts product groups. Like us, our competitors rely on intellectual property rights to maintain profitability and competitiveness. As the number of products and competitors has increased, the likelihood of intellectual property disputes has risen. Although it is our policy and intention not to infringe valid patents of which we are aware, our processes, apparatuses, technology, proprietary manufacturing expertise, methods, compounds and products may infringe on issued patents or infringe or misappropriate other intellectual property rights of others. Accordingly, we continually monitor third-party intellectual property to confirm our freedom to operate. Nevertheless, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of our business, including claims of alleged infringement of the patents or trademarks or infringement or misappropriation of other intellectual property rights of third parties by us or
our licensees in connection with their use of our products. Intellectual property litigation is expensive and time-consuming, regardless of the merits of any claim, and could divert the attention of our management and technical personnel away from operating our business. If we were to discover that our processes, apparatuses, technology, products or trademarks infringe the valid intellectual property rights of others, we might need to obtain licenses from these parties or substantially reengineer or rebrand our products in order to avoid infringement. We may not be able to obtain the necessary licenses on acceptable terms, or at all, or be able to reengineer our products successfully or at an acceptable cost. Moreover, if we are sued for infringement and lose the suit, we could be required to pay substantial damages and/or be enjoined from using or selling the infringing products or technology or using the infringing trademark. Additionally or alternatively, we may seek to challenge third-party patents in administrative proceedings before the United States patent office or one or more foreign patent offices. Any of the foregoing could cause us to incur significant costs and prevent us from selling our products, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Even if we ultimately prevail, the existence of lawsuits could prompt our customers to switch to alternative products. In addition, we have agreed, and will continue to agree, to indemnify certain customers for certain intellectual property infringement claims related to intellectual property relating to our products and the manufacture thereof. Should there be infringement claims against our licensees, we could be required to indemnify them for losses resulting from such claims or to refund amounts they have paid to us.
Disruption, failure or cyber security breaches affecting or targeting computers and infrastructure used by us or our business partners may adversely impact our business and operations.
We use computers and telecommunication systems to analyze and store financial and operating data and to communicate within our company, with outside business partners, and across international borders. These systems can be subject to technical system flaws; power loss; cyber attacks, including viruses, malware, phishing, ransomware, terrorism, and surveillance; unauthorized access; malicious software; intentional or inadvertent data privacy breaches by employees or others with authorized access; hacktivism; ransomware; physical or electronic break-ins; fires or natural disasters; supply chain attacks; and other cyber security issues. We have no assurance that our systems are appropriately redundant to withstand these events. Accordingly, such events could cause adverse effects and material disruptions to our operations or systems or those of our business partners; compromise the security, integrity, availability, and confidentiality of customer information, employee information, strategic projects, product formulas and other trade secrets, other business or personal sensitive data, including third party confidential information in our possession. Release of third party confidential information could materially harm our reputation, affect our relationships with such parties and expose us to liability. Although we have introduced many security measures, including firewalls and information technology security policies, these measures may not offer the appropriate level of security. A security breach or other compromise of our information security safeguards could expose our confidential information, including third party confidential information in our possession (such as customer information) to theft and misuse, which could in turn adversely affect our relationships with such third parties and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, a disruption, blockage, failure or a cyber breach of software or operating systems we use, or of the networks and infrastructure on which they rely, could damage critical production, distribution and/or storage assets, delay or prevent delivery to markets, and make it difficult or impossible to accurately account for production and settle transactions.
These impacts may adversely affect our relationships with such employees and third parties and may have an adverse effect on our business reputation, competitiveness, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, including damage to our operations, employees, or other third parties, resulting in remediation costs, litigation or regulatory actions. Although we have introduced many security measures, including firewalls and information technology security policies, these measures may not offer the appropriate level of security. We routinely experience attempts by external parties to penetrate and attack our networks and systems. Although such attempts to date have not resulted in any material breaches, disruptions, financial loss, or loss of business-critical information, our systems and procedures for protecting against such attacks and mitigating such risks may prove to be insufficient in the future. As technologies evolve and these cyber security attacks become more sophisticated, we may incur significant costs to upgrade or enhance our security measures to protect against such attacks, and we may face difficulties in fully anticipating or implementing adequate preventive measures or mitigating potential harm.
Risks Related to our Financial Condition
The non-GAAP financial information included in this Form 10-K is presented for informational purposes only and may not be an indication of our financial condition or results of operations in the future.
The non-GAAP financial information included in this Form 10-K includes information that we use to evaluate our past performance, but should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to measures of our performance determined under GAAP.
Because our operations are conducted through our subsidiaries and joint ventures, we are dependent on the receipt of distributions and dividends or other payments from our subsidiaries and joint ventures for cash to fund our operations and expenses, including to make future dividend payments, if any.
Our operations are conducted through our subsidiaries and joint ventures. As a result, our ability to make future dividend payments, if any, is dependent on the earnings of our subsidiaries and joint ventures and the payment of those earnings to us in the form of dividends, loans or advances and through repayment of loans or advances from us. Payments to us by our subsidiaries and joint ventures will be contingent upon our subsidiaries’ or joint ventures’ earnings and other business considerations and may be subject to statutory or contractual restrictions. We have not paid regular dividends on our common stock; however, we paid a special cash dividend in December 2020 and in August 2021 that was financed with the cash proceeds from our sale of our Performance Materials and Performance Chemicals businesses, respectively. To the extent that we determine in the future to pay dividends on our common stock, the agreements governing our outstanding indebtedness significantly restrict the ability of our subsidiaries to pay dividends or otherwise transfer assets to us.
We may need to recognize impairment charges related to goodwill, identified intangible assets and fixed assets.
We are required to test goodwill and any other intangible asset with an indefinite life for possible impairment on the same date each year and on an interim basis if there are indicators of a possible impairment. We are also required to evaluate indefinite-lived intangible assets and fixed assets for impairment if there are indicators of a possible impairment.
There is significant judgment required in the analysis of a potential impairment of goodwill, identified intangible assets and fixed assets. If, as a result of a general economic slowdown or deterioration in one or more of the industries in which we operate or in our financial performance or future outlook, or if the estimated fair value of our long-lived assets decreases, we may determine that one or more of our long-lived assets is impaired. An impairment charge would be determined based on the estimated fair value of the assets and any such impairment charge could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position.
We performed our annual impairment test on goodwill on October 1, 2022, and determined there was no goodwill impairment.
We may be subject to future changes in tax legislation or exposure to additional tax liabilities that may adversely affect our results of operations.
We are subject to taxes in the U.S. as well as foreign jurisdictions where our subsidiaries are organized. Due to economic and political conditions, tax rates, tax laws and other non-tax legislation, such as economic substance regulations, our business may experience significant impacts as a result of prospective changes. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) enacted in the U.S. on August 16, 2022 imposes several new taxes that become effective in 2023, including a 1% excise tax on stock repurchases. Our future effective tax rates may be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, changes in available tax credits or tax deductions, as well as changes in tax and other non-tax laws or their interpretation. Additionally, our organization is engaged in a number of cross-border intercompany transactions, subject to local transfer pricing regimes currently in place. We believe the economics of these transactions have been clearly reported, and the appropriate local transfer pricing documentation is contemporaneously available, although tax authorities may propose and potentially sustain adjustments that could result in changes to our mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”), which represents a coalition of member countries, is supporting changes to numerous long-standing tax principles through its base erosion and profit shifting (“BEPS”) project. This project focuses on a number of issues, including the shifting of profits cross-border amongst affiliated entities. Given the scope of the Company's international operations and the fluid and uncertain nature of how the BEPS project might ultimately lead to future legislation, it is difficult to assess how any changes in tax laws would impact the Company's future income tax expense.
Our tax returns and other tax matters are subject to examination by local tax authorities and governmental bodies. We regularly assess the likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from these examinations, in order to determine any resulting impact to our provision for taxes. There can be no assurance as to the outcome of these examinations. If our effective tax rates were to increase as a result of a tax examination, or if the ultimate determination of the taxes owed by us is for an amount in excess of amounts previously accrued, our operating results, cash flows and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We have underfunded pension plan liabilities. We will require current and future operating cash flow to fund these shortfalls. We have no assurance that we will generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy these obligations.
We maintain defined benefit pension plans covering employees who meet age and service requirements. While all of our plans have been frozen, our net pension liability and cost is materially affected by the discount rate used to measure pension obligations, the longevity and actuarial profile of our workforce, the level of plan assets available to fund those obligations and the actual and expected long-term rate of return on plan assets. Significant changes in investment performance or a change in the portfolio mix of invested assets can result in corresponding increases and decreases in the valuation of plan assets, particularly equity securities, or in a change in the expected rate of return on plan assets. Assets available to fund the pension obligations of our plans as of December 31, 2022 were approximately $60.6 million, or approximately $6.3 million less than the measured pension benefit obligation on a GAAP basis. In addition, any changes in the discount rate could result in a significant increase or decrease in the valuation of pension obligations, affecting the reported funded status of our pension plans as well as the net periodic pension cost in the following years. Similarly, changes in the expected return on plan assets can result in significant changes in the net periodic pension cost in the following years.
We also provide certain health care and life insurance benefits through an unfunded plan to a group of retirees in the United States who retired prior to the date on which these benefit programs were frozen. Current employees are not eligible for any post-retirement health care or life insurance benefits. Costs of these other post-employment benefit plans are dependent upon numerous factors, assumptions and estimates.
Risks Related to our Indebtedness
Our substantial level of indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition.
We have substantial indebtedness, which as of December 31, 2022, totaled approximately $886.5 million. Our substantial indebtedness, combined with our other financial obligations and contractual commitments, could have important consequences, including:
•requiring us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing funds available for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, selling and marketing efforts, product development and other purposes;
•increasing our vulnerability to adverse economic and industry conditions, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have relatively less indebtedness;
•limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industries in which we operate;
•increasing our exposure to rising interest rates because certain of our borrowings are at variable interest rates;
•restricting us from making investments, strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures; and
•limiting our ability to borrow additional funds, or to dispose of assets to raise funds, if needed, for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, product development and other corporate purposes.
Although the terms of the agreements governing our outstanding indebtedness contain restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness, such restrictions are subject to a number of important exceptions and indebtedness incurred in compliance with such restrictions could be substantial. If we and our restricted subsidiaries incur significant additional indebtedness, the related risks that we face could increase.
The terms of our indebtedness restrict our current and future operations, particularly our ability to respond to change or to take certain actions.
The indentures governing our outstanding indebtedness contain a number of restrictive covenants that impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and may limit our ability to engage in acts that may be in our long-term best interest, including restrictions on our ability to incur additional indebtedness, make investments, acquisitions, loans and advances, sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of our assets or incur liens. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources—Debt.” In addition, the restrictive covenants in the agreements governing our senior secured credit facilities require us to maintain specified financial ratios and satisfy other financial condition tests. Our ability to meet these financial ratios and tests can be affected by events beyond our control.
A breach of such covenants could result in an event of default unless we obtain a waiver to avoid such default. If we are unable to obtain a waiver, such a default may allow our creditors to accelerate the related debt and may result in the acceleration of, or default under, any other debt to which a cross-acceleration or cross-default provision applies. In the event our lenders or noteholders accelerate the repayment of our borrowings, we and our subsidiaries may not have sufficient assets to repay that indebtedness.
Risks Related to our Common Stock
CCMP and INEOS continue to have influence over us, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of key transactions, including a change of control.
As of December 31, 2022, investment funds affiliated with CCMP beneficially owned approximately 9% of our outstanding common stock and INEOS beneficially owned approximately 20% of our outstanding common stock. For as long as affiliates of CCMP and INEOS continue to beneficially own a substantial percentage of the voting power of our outstanding common stock, they will continue to have significant influence over us. For example, they will be able to strongly influence the election of all of the members of our board of directors and our business and affairs, including any determinations with respect to mergers or other business combinations, the acquisition or disposition of assets, the incurrence of additional indebtedness, the issuance of any additional shares of common stock or other equity securities, the repurchase or redemption of shares of our common stock and the payment of dividends.
Additionally, CCMP and INEOS are in the business of making investments in companies and may acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. CCMP and INEOS may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us.
Our stock price could be extremely volatile and, as a result, you may not be able to resell your shares at or above the price you paid for them.
Since launching our IPO in September 2017, the price of our common stock, as reported on the New York Stock Exchange, has ranged from a low of $8.20 on November 15, 2022 to a high of $18.90 on March 9, 2021. In addition, the stock market in general has been highly volatile. As a result, the market price of our common stock is likely to be similarly volatile, and investors in our common stock may experience a decrease, which could be substantial, in the value of their stock, including decreases unrelated to our operating performance or prospects, and could lose part or all of their investment. The price of our common stock could be subject to wide fluctuations in response to a number of factors, including those described elsewhere herein and others such as:
•variations in our operating performance and the performance of our competitors;
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly or annual operating results;
•publication of research reports by securities analysts about us, our competitors or our industry;
•our failure or the failure of our competitors to meet analysts’ projections or guidance that we or our competitors may give to the market;
•additions or departures of key personnel;
•strategic decisions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, joint ventures, strategic investments or changes in business strategy;
•the passage of legislation or other regulatory developments affecting us or our industry;
•changes in legislation, regulation and government policy as a result of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections;
•speculation in the press or investment community;
•changes in accounting principles;
•terrorist acts, acts of war or periods of widespread civil unrest;
•natural disasters and other calamities; and
•changes in general market and economic conditions.
In addition, broad market and industry factors may negatively affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance, and factors beyond our control may cause our stock price to decline rapidly and unexpectedly. We are exposed to the impact of any global or domestic economic disruption that may occur, including the economic effects of COVID-19.
In the past, securities class action litigation has often been initiated against companies following periods of volatility in their stock price. This type of litigation could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention and resources, and could also require us to make substantial payments to satisfy judgments or to settle litigation.
Your percentage ownership in us may be diluted by future issuances of capital stock, which could reduce your influence over matters on which stockholders vote.
Our board of directors has the authority, without action or vote of our stockholders, to issue all or any part of our authorized but unissued shares of common stock, including shares issuable upon exercise of options, or shares of our authorized but unissued preferred stock. Issuances of common stock or voting preferred stock would reduce your influence over matters on which our stockholders vote and, in the case of issuances of preferred stock, would likely result in your interest in us being subject to the prior rights of holders of that preferred stock.
There may be sales of a substantial amount of our common stock by our current stockholders, and these sales could cause the price of our common stock to fall.
As of December 31, 2022, there were 122,186,238 shares of our common stock outstanding. Approximately 9% and 20% of our outstanding common stock is held by affiliates of CCMP and by INEOS, respectively.
Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales will occur, could adversely affect the market price of our common stock and make it difficult for us to raise funds through securities offerings in the future.
Investment funds affiliated with CCMP may require us to register shares of our common stock held by them for resale under the federal securities laws, subject to reduction upon the request of the underwriter of the offering, if any. Registration of those shares would allow the investment funds affiliated with CCMP to immediately resell their shares in the public market. Any such sales or anticipation thereof could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
In addition, we have registered shares of our common stock that are reserved for issuance under our 2016 Stock Incentive Plan and 2017 Omnibus Incentive Plan, as amended and restated.
Provisions in our charter documents and Delaware law may deter takeover efforts that may be beneficial to stockholder value.
In addition to INEOS’s beneficial ownership of a substantial percentage of our common stock, provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and Delaware law could make it harder for a third party to acquire us, even if doing so might be beneficial to our stockholders. These provisions include a classified board of directors and the ability of our board of directors to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval that could be used to dilute a potential hostile acquiror. Our certificate of incorporation imposes some restrictions on mergers and other business combinations between us and any holder of 15% or more of our outstanding common stock other than INEOS and investment funds affiliated with CCMP. As a result, you may lose your ability to sell your stock for a price in excess of the prevailing market price due to these protective measures, and efforts by stockholders to change the direction or management of the company may be unsuccessful.
Our certificate of incorporation designates courts in the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our certificate of incorporation provides that, subject to limited exceptions, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for:
•any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf;
•any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders;
•any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws;
•any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws; or
•any other action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine (each, a “Covered Proceeding”).
In addition, our certificate of incorporation provides that if any action the subject matter of which is a Covered Proceeding is filed in a court other than the specified Delaware courts without the approval of our board of directors (each, a “Foreign Action”), the claiming party will be deemed to have consented to (i) the personal jurisdiction of the specified Delaware courts in connection with any action brought in any such courts to enforce the exclusive forum provision described above and (ii) having service of process made upon such claiming party in any such enforcement action by service upon such claiming party’s counsel in the Foreign Action as agent for such claiming party.
Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to these provisions. These provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our certificate of incorporation inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
Our certificate of incorporation contains a provision renouncing our interest and expectancy in certain corporate opportunities, which could adversely impact our business.
Each of CCMP and INEOS, and the members of our board of directors who are affiliated with CCMP and INEOS, by the terms of our certificate of incorporation, are not required to offer us any corporate opportunity of which they become aware and can take any such corporate opportunity for themselves or offer it to other companies in which they have an investment. We, by the terms of our certificate of incorporation, expressly renounce any interest or expectancy in any such corporate opportunity to the extent permitted under applicable law, even if the opportunity is one that we or our subsidiaries might reasonably have pursued or had the ability or desire to pursue if granted the opportunity to do so. Our certificate of incorporation may not be amended to eliminate our renunciation of any such corporate opportunity arising prior to the date of any such amendment.
CCMP and INEOS are in the business of making investments in companies and may from time to time acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. These potential conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects if CCMP or INEOS allocate attractive corporate opportunities to themselves or their affiliates instead of to us.
We may not pay additional dividends on our common stock and, consequentially, you may not receive any return on investment unless you sell your common stock for a price greater than that which you paid for it.
Although we paid special cash dividends in December 2020 and August 2021, our board of directors may decide to retain future earnings, if any, for future operations, expansion and debt repayment and may not pay any special or regular dividends for the foreseeable future. Any decision to declare and pay special or regular dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements, contractual restrictions and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. In addition, our ability to pay dividends may be limited by covenants of any existing and future outstanding
indebtedness we or our subsidiaries incur, including our credit facilities and outstanding notes. See “Because our operations are conducted through our subsidiaries and joint ventures, we are dependent on the receipt of distributions and dividends or other payments from our subsidiaries and joint ventures for cash to fund our operations and expenses, including to make future dividend payments, if any.” As a result, you may not receive any return on an investment in our common stock unless you sell your common stock for a price greater than that which you paid for it.
General Risk Factors
Significant trade developments stemming from the U.S. administration, U.S. courts’ or the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could have an adverse effect on us.
The United States has in recent years renegotiated a number of trade agreements, such as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”), imposed tariffs on goods imported from China and certain other countries, and increasingly levied sanctions and export controls on China and other countries. All of these actions have resulted in retaliatory action, including retaliatory tariffs and other restrictions by China and other countries. These changes, as well as any other changes in social, political, regulatory and economic conditions, or further changes to foreign or domestic laws and policies governing foreign trade (including export, import and sanctions), manufacturing and development and foreign direct investment in the territories and countries where we or our customers operate could adversely affect our operating results and our business.
Additionally, in June 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum and voted in favor of leaving the European Union and, on January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom exited the European Union and the implementation period or transition period ended on December 31, 2020. This referendum and exit has created political and economic uncertainty, particularly in the United Kingdom and the European Union, and this uncertainty may last for years. Our business could be affected during this period of uncertainty, and perhaps longer, by the impact of the United Kingdom’s referendum and exit. In addition, our business could be negatively affected by new trade agreements between the United Kingdom and other countries, including the United States, and by the possible imposition of trade or other regulatory barriers in the United Kingdom. These possible negative impacts, and others resulting from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, may adversely affect our customers’ businesses and our operating results.
If we lose certain key personnel or are unable to hire additional qualified personnel, we may not be able to execute our business strategy and our business could be adversely affected.
Our success depends, in part, upon the continued services of our highly skilled personnel involved in management, research, production and distribution and, in particular, upon the efforts and abilities of our key officers. Although we believe that we are adequately staffed in key positions, we may not be able to retain such personnel on acceptable terms or at all, and such personnel may seek to compete with us in the future. If we lose the service of any of our key personnel, we may not be able to hire replacements with the same level of industry experience and knowledge necessary to execute our business strategy, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We depend on good relations with our workforce, and any significant disruptions could adversely affect our operations.
As of December 31, 2022, we had 890 employees globally, approximately 45% of which were represented by a union, works council or other employee representative body. As of December 31, 2022, 138 of our U.S. unionized employees were covered under collective bargaining agreements that will expire on or before December 31, 2023. Failure to reach agreement with any of our unionized work groups regarding the terms of their collective bargaining agreements or annual pay increases may result in a labor strike, work stoppage or slowdown. In addition, a large number of our employees are employed in countries in which employment laws provide greater bargaining or other rights to employees than the laws of the United States. Such employment rights require us to work collaboratively with the legal representatives of the employees to effect any changes to labor arrangements. For example, many of our employees in Europe are represented by works councils that must approve any changes in conditions of employment, including salaries, benefits and staff changes, and may impede efforts to restructure our workforce. Although we believe that we have a good working relationship with our employees, a strike, work stoppage or slowdown by our employees or a dispute with our employees could result in a significant disruption to our operations or higher ongoing labor costs. In addition, our ability to make adjustments to control compensation and benefit costs, or otherwise adapt to changing business needs, may be limited by the terms and duration of our collective bargaining agreements.
We are subject to certain risks related to litigation filed by or against us, as well as administrative and regulatory proceedings, and adverse results may harm our business.
We cannot predict with certainty the cost of defense, the cost of prosecution or the ultimate outcome of litigation and other administrative and regulatory proceedings filed by or against us, including remedies or damage awards, and adverse results in any litigation or other administrative and regulatory proceedings may materially harm our business. Litigation and other administrative and regulatory proceedings may include, but are not limited to, actions relating to intellectual property, commercial arrangements, environmental, health and safety matters, joint venture agreements, labor and employment matters, domestic and foreign antitrust matters or other harms resulting from the actions of individuals or entities outside of our control. In the case of intellectual property litigation and proceedings, adverse outcomes could include the cancellation, invalidation or other loss of material intellectual property rights used in our business and injunctions prohibiting our use of our processes, apparatuses, technology, trade secrets and proprietary manufacturing expertise, methods and compounds that are subject to third-party patents or other third-party intellectual property rights. Litigation based on environmental matters or exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace or from our products could result in significant liability for us. For example, we are currently subject to various asbestos premises liability claims that relate to employee or contractor exposure to asbestos contained in certain building materials at our sites. Furthermore, our international operations expose us to potential administrative and regulatory proceedings in foreign jurisdictions. Adverse outcomes in any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business.
If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting and effective disclosure controls and procedures, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner or prevent fraud, which may adversely affect investor confidence in our company.
Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, our management is required to report on, and our independent registered public accounting firm is required to attest to, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. This assessment includes disclosure of any material weakness identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, we are required to comply with the SEC’s rules implementing Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires management to certify financial and other information in our quarterly and annual reports, and we are required to disclose significant changes made in our internal controls and procedures on a quarterly basis.
If we identify a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to remediate the material weakness identified in a timely manner or maintain all of the controls necessary to remain in compliance with our reporting obligations. If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an unqualified opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in future periods, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the New York Stock Exchange, on which our securities are listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.
Regulations related to conflict minerals could adversely impact our business.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 contains provisions to improve transparency and accountability concerning the supply of certain minerals, known as conflict minerals, originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo (the “DRC”) and adjoining countries. The SEC requires annual disclosure and reporting requirements for those companies who use conflict minerals mined from the DRC and adjoining countries in their products. We incur costs associated with complying with these disclosure requirements, including for diligence to determine the sources of conflict minerals used in our products and other potential changes to products, processes or sources of supply as a consequence of such verification activities. These rules could adversely affect the sourcing, supply and pricing of materials used in our products. As there may be only a limited number of suppliers offering “conflict free” conflict minerals, we cannot be sure that we will be able to obtain necessary conflict minerals from such suppliers in sufficient quantities or at competitive prices.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.
Our operating headquarters are located in Malvern, Pennsylvania and our primary research and development facility is in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. As of December 31, 2022, we had ten manufacturing facilities in two countries. We also had five administrative facilities and two research and development facilities located in two countries. Our joint ventures operated out of two facilities located in two countries.
The table below presents summary information regarding our principal manufacturing facilities that we own as of December 31, 2022.
|Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States||ES|
|Baytown, Texas, United States||ES|
|Dominguez, California, United States||ES|
Delfzijl, The Netherlands(2)
|Hammond, Indiana, United States||ES|
|Houston, Texas, United States||ES|
Kansas City, Kansas, United States(2)
|Martinez, California, United States||ES|
|West Orange, Texas, United States||ES|
|Portland, Oregon, United States||ES|
(1) ES: Ecoservices; CAT: Catalyst Technologies.
(2) We lease a portion of the site to the Zeolyst Joint Venture.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
From time to time we may be subject to various legal claims and proceedings incidental to the normal conduct of business, relating to such matters as personal injury, product liability and warranty claims, waste disposal practices, release of chemicals into the environment and other matters that may arise in the ordinary course of our business. We currently believe that there is no litigation pending that is likely to have a material adverse effect on our business. Regardless of the outcome, legal proceedings can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Market Information, Holders and Dividends
Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “ECVT”. As of February 23, 2023, there were 35 shareholders of record of our common stock. A substantially greater number of holders of our common stock hold their shares in “street name” through banks, brokers and other financial institutions.
We have not and do not currently intend to pay regular dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. The declaration and payment of any future dividends by our Board of Directors is subject to compliance with the covenants contained in the agreements governing our credit facilities, applicable law and other considerations. See Note 18 to our consolidated financial statements included in this Form 10-K for details regarding covenant restrictions on the payment of dividends under our debt agreements.
Stock Performance Graph
The graph below shows the cumulative total shareholder return of our common stock for the period from December 31, 2017 to December 31, 2022 as compared to the cumulative total return of the Russell 2000 Total Return Index and the S&P 1500 Specialty Chemicals Index, assuming an investment of $100 made at the respective closing prices on December 31, 2017. The information contained in the graph below is furnished and therefore not to be considered “filed” with the SEC, and is not incorporated by reference into any document that incorporates this Form 10-K by reference.
|ECVT (formerly PQG)||$||100 ||$||90 ||$||104 ||$||99 ||$||88 ||$||76 |
|Russell 2000||100 ||89 ||112 ||134 ||154 ||122 |
|SP 1500 Spec Chem||100 ||94 ||111 ||129 ||165 ||124 |
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
2022 Stock Repurchase Program
The following table contains information about purchases of our common stock during the fourth quarter of 2022.
|Total Number of|
Shares of Common Stock
Purchased as Part of
Plan or Programs
(or Dollar Value) of
Shares of Common Stock
that May Yet Be
Purchased Under the
Plans or Programs
Total Number of
Shares of Common
Stock Purchased (1)
Paid per Share of
Common Stock (2)
|October 1, 2022—October 31, 2022||— ||$||— ||—||$376,328|
|November 1, 2022—November 30, 2022||8,000,000 ||$||7.88 ||—||$313,298|
|December 1, 2022—December 31, 2022||— ||$||— ||—||$313,298|
(1) In April 2022, our Board of Directors approved and announced a new stock repurchase program authorizing the repurchase of up to $450 million of the Company’s outstanding common stock over the next four years. This program is expected to be funded using cash on hand and cash generated from operations. We primarily expect to conduct the repurchase program through negotiated transactions with the Company’s equity sponsors, as well as through open market repurchases or other means, including through Rule 10b-18 trading plans or through the use of other techniques such as accelerated share repurchases. The actual timing, number and nature of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including stock, price, trading volume, and general business and market conditions. The repurchase program does not obligate us to acquire any number of shares in any specific period or at all and may be amended, suspended or discontinued at any time at our discretion.
On August 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, or IRA, was signed into law. Among other things, the IRA imposes a 15% corporate alternative minimum tax for certain large corporations with average annual adjusted financial statement income in excess of $1 billion for tax years beginning after December 31, 2022, levies a 1% excise tax on net stock repurchases after December 31, 2022, and provides tax incentives to promote clean energy. Historically the Company has made discretionary share repurchases under its share repurchase programs. Beginning in 2023, these transactions will be subject to the excise tax of the IRA. Based on the Company’s historical net repurchase activity, the excise tax and the other provisions of the IRA are not expected to have a material impact on the Company’s results of operations or financial position.
During the three months ended December 31, 2022, in connection with a secondary offering of the Company’s common stock in November 2022, the Company repurchased 8,000,000 shares of its common stock sold in the offering from the underwriters at a price of $7.88 per share for a total of $63.0 million. As of December 31, 2022, $313.3 million was available for additional share repurchases under the program.
(2) Excludes brokerage commissions and other costs of execution.
In connection with the vesting of restricted stock awards, restricted stock units and performance stock units, shares of common stock may be delivered to the Company by employees to satisfy withholding tax obligations at the instruction of the employee award holders. These transactions when they occur are accounted for as stock repurchases by the Company, with the shares returned to treasury stock at a cost representing the payment by the Company of the tax obligations on behalf of the employees in lieu of shares for the vesting unit. There were no such transactions during the three months ended December 31, 2022.
ITEM 6. [Reserved]
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
We are a leading integrated and innovative global provider of specialty catalysts and services. We believe that our products, which are predominantly inorganic, and services contribute to improving the sustainability of the environment.
We conduct operations through two reporting segments: (1) Ecoservices and (2) Catalyst Technologies (including our 50% interest in the Zeolyst Joint Venture).
Ecoservices: We are a leading provider of sulfuric acid recycling services to North American refineries for the production of alkylate, an essential gasoline component for lowering vapor pressure and increasing octane to meet stringent gasoline specifications and fuel efficiency standards. We are also a leading North American producer of on-purpose virgin sulfuric acid for water treatment, mining, and industrial applications.
Catalyst Technologies: We are a global supplier of finished silica catalysts and catalyst supports necessary to produce high strength and high stiffness plastics used in packaging films, bottles, containers, and other molded applications. This segment includes our 50% interest in the Zeolyst Joint Venture, where we are a leading global supplier of zeolites used for catalysts that help produce renewable fuels, remove nitrogen oxides from diesel engine emissions as well as sulfur from fuels during the refining process.
In 2022, we served global customers across many end uses and, as of December 31, 2022, operated out of ten strategically located manufacturing facilities.
On December 14, 2020, we completed the sale of our Performance Materials business to Potters Buyer, LLC, an affiliate of The Jordan Company, L.P., for a purchase price of $650 million. Effective on August 1, 2021, we completed the sale of our Performance Chemicals business to Sparta Aggregator L.P., a partnership with Koch Minerals & Trading, LLC and Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for $1.1 billion. Additionally, our Board of Directors (the “Board”) declared a special cash dividend of $1.80 per share, paid on December 14, 2020 in connection with the sale of our Performance Materials business and declared a special cash dividend of $3.20 per share, paid on August 23, 2021 in connection with the sale of our Performance Chemicals business. The results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows for the Performance Materials and Performance Chemicals businesses are presented herein as discontinued operations. Refer to Note 4 and Note 5 of our Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
Impact of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine on our Business and Results
We are continuing to monitor the developments in Russia and Ukraine, as well as the related economic sanctions and export controls imposed on certain industry sectors. Although the current conflict has created global economic and political uncertainties and affected certain supply chain disruptions, we do not believe we have significant exposure in those countries. We have no operations in Russia or Ukraine. We had no sales to customers in Ukraine and our sales to a customer in Russia were immaterial for the year ended December 31, 2022 and have been discontinued. Sales to this customer in Russia represented 2% of total sales for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. We also did not make any purchases from suppliers in Russia or Ukraine. As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to unfold, we will continue to monitor compliance with sanctions imposed by the U.S. government and other countries.
Late in the fourth quarter of 2022, our Ecoservices business was adversely affected by Winter Storm Elliott. The storm disrupted operations at a number of our sites, impacting production and resulting in unplanned maintenance. While the storm had a modest impact on fourth quarter 2022 financial results, we expect the majority of the maintenance and repair costs incurred will be realized in the first quarter of 2023. In addition, we expect that the fourth quarter 2022 production outages will translate into lower availability and sales of virgin sulfuric acid in the first quarter of 2023.
Stock Repurchase Program
In April 2022, our Board of Directors approved and announced a new stock repurchase program authorizing the repurchase of up to $450 million of the Company’s outstanding common stock over the next four years. This program is expected to be funded using cash on hand and cash generated from operations. We primarily expect to conduct the repurchase program through negotiated transactions with the Company’s equity sponsors, as well as through open market repurchases or other means, including through Rule 10b-18 trading plans or through the use of other techniques such as
accelerated share repurchases. The actual timing, number and nature of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including stock price, trading volume, and general business and market conditions. The repurchase program does not obligate us to acquire any number of shares in any specific period or at all and may be amended, suspended or discontinued at any time at our discretion.
On August 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, or IRA, was signed into law. Among other things, the IRA imposes a 15% corporate alternative minimum tax for certain large corporations with average annual adjusted financial statement income in excess of $1 billion for tax years beginning after December 31, 2022, levies a 1% excise tax on net stock repurchases after December 31, 2022, and provides tax incentives to promote clean energy. Historically we have made discretionary share repurchases under our share repurchase programs. Beginning in 2023, these transactions will be subject to the excise tax of the IRA. Based on our historical net repurchase activity, the excise tax and the other provisions of the IRA are not expected to have a material impact on our results of operations or financial position.
From the announcement date of the program in April 2022 through December 31, 2022, the Company repurchased 1,970,763 shares of its common stock on the open market at an average price of $9.82 per share, for a total of $19.4 million. Additionally, in connection with secondary offerings of the Company’s common stock in August and November 2022, the Company repurchased 6,500,000 and 8,000,000 shares of its common stock sold in the offerings, respectively, from the underwriters at a price of $8.36 per share and $7.88 per share, respectively, simultaneous with the closing of the respective offerings, for a total of $117.3 million. As of December 31, 2022, $313.3 million was available for additional share repurchases under the program.
Basis of Presentation
Our zeolite catalysts product group operates through the Zeolyst Joint Venture, which we account for as an equity method investment in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”). We do not record sales by the Zeolyst Joint Venture as revenue and such sales are not consolidated within our results of operations. However, Adjusted EBITDA reflects our share of the earnings of the Zeolyst Joint Venture that have been recorded as equity in net income from affiliated companies in our consolidated statements of income and includes Zeolyst Joint Venture adjustments on a proportionate basis based on our 50% ownership interest.
Key Performance Indicators
Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income
Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income are financial measures that are not prepared in accordance with GAAP and that we use to evaluate our operating performance, for business planning purposes and to measure our performance relative to that of our competitors. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income are presented as key performance indicators as we believe these financial measures will enhance a prospective investor’s understanding of our results of operations and financial condition. EBITDA consists of net income (loss) attributable to continuing operations before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA consists of EBITDA adjusted for (i) non-operating income or expense, (ii) the impact of certain non-cash, nonrecurring or other items included in net income (loss) and EBITDA that we do not consider indicative of our ongoing operating performance, and (iii) depreciation, amortization and interest of our 50% share of the Zeolyst Joint Venture. Adjusted net income consists of net income (loss) attributable to Ecovyst Inc. adjusted for (i) non-operating income or expense and (ii) the impact of certain non-cash, nonrecurring or other items included in net income (loss) that we do not consider indicative of our ongoing operating performance. We believe that these non-GAAP financial measures provide investors with useful financial metrics to assess our operating performance from period-to-period by excluding certain items that we believe are not representative of our core business.
You should not consider Adjusted EBITDA or adjusted net income in isolation or as alternatives to the presentation of our financial results in accordance with GAAP. The presentation of Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income financial measures may differ from similar measures reported by other companies and may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures. In evaluating Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income, you should be aware that we are likely to incur expenses similar to those eliminated in this presentation in the future and that certain of these items could be considered recurring in nature. Our presentation of Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income should not be construed as an inference that our future results will be unaffected by unusual or nonrecurring items. Reconciliations of Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income to GAAP net income (loss) are included in the results of operations discussion that follows for each of the respective periods.
Key Factors and Trends Affecting Operating Results and Financial Condition
Our Ecoservices and Catalyst Technologies segments' sales have grown primarily due to increased demand for our products and services in the markets we serve, expansion into new end use applications, including catalysts used in the production of renewable fuels, polyethylene, and emission control, as well as continued supply share gains and customer contractual pass-through mechanisms. Sales in our Ecoservices and Catalyst Technologies segments are made on both a purchase order basis and pursuant to long-term contracts.
Overall economic demand has significantly rebounded since the 2020 lows that resulted from the impact of COVID-19. Refineries have seen demand return with increasing miles driven and a general increase in economic activity. Polyethylene demand remains strong driven by the growing consumer demand for films and packaging. Higher refinery utilization rates are increasing demand for catalyst and regeneration.
Cost of Goods Sold
Cost of goods sold consists of variable product costs, fixed manufacturing expenses, depreciation expense and freight expenses. Variable product costs include all raw materials, energy and packaging costs that are directly related to the manufacturing process. Fixed manufacturing expenses include all plant employment costs, manufacturing overhead and periodic maintenance costs.
The primary raw materials for our Ecoservices segment include spent sulfuric acid, sulfur, acids, bases (including sodium hydroxide, or “caustic soda”), and certain metals. Spent sulfuric acid for our Ecoservices segment is supplied by customers for a nominal charge as part of their contracts. The primary raw materials used in the manufacture of products in our Catalyst Technologies segment include sodium silicate and cesium hydroxide.
Most of our Ecoservices contracts feature take-or-pay volume protection and/or quarterly price adjustments for commodity inputs, labor, the Chemical Engineering Index (U.S. chemical plant construction cost index) and natural gas. Over 80% of our Ecoservices segment sales for the year ended December 31, 2022 were under contracts featuring quarterly price adjustments. The price adjustments generally reflect actual costs for producing acid and tend to protect us from volatility in labor, fixed costs and raw material pricing. The take-or-pay volume protection allows us to cover fixed costs through intermittent, temporary production issues at customer refineries.
While natural gas is not a direct feedstock for any product, natural gas powered machinery and equipment are used to heat raw materials and create the chemical reactions necessary to produce end-products. We maintain multiple suppliers wherever possible and structure our customer contracts when possible to allow for the pass-through of raw material and natural gas costs.
We account for our investments in our equity joint ventures under the equity method. Our joint venture, the Zeolyst Joint Venture, manufactures high performance, specialty, zeolite-based catalysts for use in the polymers and engineered plastics, emission control, refining and petrochemical industries and other areas of the broader chemicals industry. Demand for the Zeolyst Joint Venture products fluctuates based upon the timing of our customer’s fixed bed catalyst replacements. We share proportionally in the management of our joint ventures with the other parties to each such joint venture.
Our regeneration services product group, which is a part of our Ecoservices segment, typically experiences seasonal fluctuations as a result of higher demand for gasoline products in the summer months and lower demand in the winter months. These demand fluctuations results in higher sales and working capital requirements in the second and third quarter.
As a global business, we are subject to the impact of gains and losses on currency translations, which occur when the financial statements of foreign operations are translated into U.S. dollars. Approximately 6% of our sales for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Because our consolidated financial results are reported in U.S. dollars, sales or earnings generated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar can result in a significant increase or decrease in the amount of those sales and earnings when translated to U.S. dollars. The foreign currency to which we have the most significant exchange rate exposure is the British Pound.
Results of Operations
Year Ended December 31, 2022 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2021
The following is a summary of our financial performance for the year ended December 31, 2022 compared with the year ended December 31, 2021.
Sales increased $209.0 million to $820.2 million. The increase in sales was primarily due to higher average selling prices, including the favorable pass-through of sulfur pricing and higher sales volumes, and increased demands for our products and services.
Gross profit increased $48.0 million to $224.7 million. The increase in gross profit was primarily due to increased pricing and higher sales volumes across the portfolio. Inflationary factors increased through the year, namely from higher sulfur, freight and energy indexed costs, but customer contractual pass-through mechanisms preserved earnings in Ecoservices, while targeted price increases helped to mitigate cost pressures in Catalyst Technologies.
Operating income increased $49.8 million to $104.4 million. The increase in operating income was primarily due to an increase in gross profit and lower selling, general and administrative expenses, partially offset by higher other operating expenses.
Equity in Net Income from Affiliated Companies
Equity in net income of affiliated companies for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 was $27.7 million.
The following is our consolidated statement of income and a summary of financial results for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021.
|(in millions, except percentages)|
|Sales||$||820.2 ||$||611.2 ||$||209.0 ||34.2 ||%|
|Cost of goods sold||595.5 ||434.5 ||161.0 ||37.1 ||%|
|Gross profit ||224.7 ||176.7 ||48.0 ||27.2 ||%|
|Gross profit margin||27.4 ||%||28.9 ||%|
|Selling, general and administrative expenses||85.3 ||97.8 ||(12.5)||(12.8)||%|
|Other operating expense, net||35.0 ||24.3 ||10.7 ||44.0 ||%|
|Operating income||104.4 ||54.6 ||49.8 ||91.2 ||%|
|Operating income margin||12.7 ||%||8.9 ||%|
|Equity in net income from affiliated companies||(27.7)||(27.7)||— ||— ||%|
|Interest expense, net||37.2 ||37.0 ||0.2 ||0.5 ||%|
|Debt extinguishment costs||— ||26.9 ||(26.9)||(100.0)||%|
|Other expense, net||0.2 ||4.5 ||(4.3)||(95.6)||%|
|Income from continuing operations before income taxes and noncontrolling interest||94.7 ||13.9 ||80.8 ||581.3 ||%|
|Provision for income taxes||24.9 ||12.1 ||12.8 ||105.8 ||%|
|Effective tax rate||26.3 ||%||87.1 ||%|
|Net income from continuing operations||69.8 ||1.8 ||68.0 ||NM|
|Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax||3.9 ||(141.4)||145.3 ||(102.8)||%|
|Net income (loss)||73.7 ||(139.6)||213.3 ||(152.8)||%|
|Less: Net income attributable to the noncontrolling interest - discontinued operations||— ||0.3 ||(0.3)||(100.0)||%|
|Net income (loss) attributable to Ecovyst Inc.||$||73.7 ||$||(139.9)||$||213.6 ||(152.7)||%|
|(in millions, except percentages)|
|Ecoservices||$||702.5 ||$||500.5 ||$||202.0 ||40.4 ||%|
|Catalyst Technologies||117.7 ||110.7 ||7.0 ||6.3 ||%|
|Total sales||$||820.2 ||$||611.2 ||$||209.0 ||34.2 ||%|
Ecoservices: Sales in Ecoservices for the year ended December 31, 2022 were $702.5 million, an increase of $202.0 million, or 40.4%, compared to sales of $500.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in sales was primarily due to higher average selling price of $178.4 million, including pass-through of higher sulfur costs of $84.8 million, and higher sales volumes of $23.6 million.
The increase in average selling price was due to favorable pricing, which was primarily driven by pass-through of higher sulfur costs and higher labor, freight and energy indexed costs. The increase in volumes was due to a higher demand for regeneration services during the year and higher sales of virgin sulfuric acid used in mining and industrial uses.
Catalyst Technologies: Sales in Catalyst Technologies for the year ended December 31, 2022 were $117.7 million, an increase of $7.0 million, or 6.3%, compared to sales of $110.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in sales was primarily due to the contribution from higher sales volume of $7.1 million and higher average selling prices of $4.6 million, partially offset by the unfavorable effects of foreign currency translation of $4.7 million.
The increase in sales volume was attributable to the continued strong customer demand for polyethylene catalysts and higher sales of niche custom catalysts.
Gross profit for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $224.7 million, an increase of $48.0 million, or 27.2%, compared with $176.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in gross profit was due to higher average selling prices of aggregating $183.0 million and the contribution from higher sales volume of $22.8 million which were partially offset by unfavorable raw material and manufacturing costs of $152.1 million and a $5.7 million impact associated with a less-favorable product mix.
The unfavorable change in raw materials was driven by higher sulfur costs of approximately $85.0 million and higher natural gas. The unfavorable change in manufacturing costs were driven by the timing of plant maintenance projects, and higher variable, transportation and fixed costs.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2022 were $85.3 million, a decrease of $12.5 million compared with $97.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The decrease in selling, general and administrative expenses was mainly due to a decrease in compensation related costs of $5.2 million and a decrease in stock-based compensation expense of $11.2 million, which consisted of $4.0 million of incremental cost recognized during the year ended December 31, 2021 in connection with the modifications of our equity incentive awards and stock options associated with the special dividend and sale of the Performance Chemicals business in August 2021, with the remaining decrease driven by forfeitures of equity incentive awards in 2022 by former Company executives and employees of the Performance Chemicals business. This was mostly offset by $3.7 million of income generated during the year ended December 31, 2021 from the transition service agreements entered into as part of the sales of the Performance Materials and Performance Chemicals businesses.
Other Operating Expense, Net
Other operating expense, net for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $35.0 million, an increase of $10.7 million, or 44.0%, compared with $24.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in other operating expense, net was mainly driven by increases of $5.3 million in severance charges associated with former executives and $5.0 million in residual costs from the Performance Chemicals divestiture and other transactions costs.
Equity in Net Income from Affiliated Companies
Equity in net income from affiliated companies for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $27.7 million, in line with the year ended December 31, 2021. The Zeolyst Joint Venture during the year ended December 31, 2022 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2021, continued to have high demands for hydrocracking and specialty catalyst.
Interest Expense, Net
Interest expense, net for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $37.2 million, an increase of $0.2 million, as compared with $37.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in interest expense was due to higher interest rates on our variable rate debt.
Debt Extinguishment Costs
Debt extinguishment costs for the year ended December 31, 2021 was $26.9 million.
Effective on August 1, 2021, we completed the sale of our Performance Chemicals business which triggered an obligation to provide partial payment under our 2018 Term Loan Facility and pay in full our 5.75% Senior Unsecured Notes. As a result of the required payments, previous unamortized deferred financing costs of $3.1 million and original issue discount of $3.6 million were written off as debt extinguishment costs.
Concurrent with, and using a portion of the net cash proceeds from, the divestiture of the Performance Chemicals business in August 2021, we repaid the remaining balance on our 2016 Term Loan Facility and redeemed the 5.75% Senior Unsecured Notes. In connection with the redemption of the 5.75% Senior Unsecured Notes, we paid a redemption premium of $8.5 million, which was recorded as debt extinguishment costs during the nine months ended September 30, 2021. We wrote off $0.8 million of unamortized deferred financing costs and $2.4 million of original issue discount related to the 2016 Term Loan Facility and $2.3 million of unamortized deferred financing costs and $1.2 million of original issue discount related to the 5.75% Senior Unsecured Notes as debt extinguishment costs during the nine months ended September 30, 2021.
In June 2021, we entered into an agreement for a new senior secured term loan facility and used the proceeds to repay a portion of our existing term loan facilities. As a result of this transaction, we recorded $5.7 million of new creditor and third-party financing costs as debt extinguishment costs during the three months ended September 30, 2021. In addition, previous unamortized deferred financing costs of $1.7 million and original issue discount of $3.7 million associated with the previously outstanding debt were written off as debt extinguishment costs.
In June 2021, we amended our ABL Credit Agreement to decrease the aggregate amount of revolving loan commitments and extend the maturity date. As a result of the amendment, we wrote off $0.6 million of unamortized deferred financing costs as debt extinguishment costs.
Other Expense, Net
Other expense, net was $0.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, a favorable change of $4.3 million, compared to $4.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The change primarily related to $0.5 million in pension plan benefit and $3.7 million favorable change in foreign currency losses in the current year on the non-permanent intercompany debt denominated in local currency and translated to U.S. dollars.
Provision for Income Taxes
The provision for income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2022 was a $24.9 million provision compared to a $12.1 million provision for the year ended December 31, 2021. The effective income tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2022 was 26.3% compared to 87.1% for the year ended December 31, 2021. The difference between the U.S. federal statutory income tax rate and our effective income tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2022 was mainly due to the impact of the Section 162(m) deduction limitation for “covered” employees with compensation in excess of $1 million, along with the tax deductibility of stock compensation. The difference between the U.S. federal statutory income tax rate and our effective income tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2021 was mainly due to GILTI, foreign tax credit benefit and the impact of intra-period allocation as a result of the Performance Chemicals and Performance Materials businesses being classified as held for sale.
Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Ecovyst Inc.
For the foregoing reasons and after the effect of the non-controlling interest in earnings of subsidiaries for each period presented, net income attributable to Ecovyst Inc. was $73.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2022 as compared to net loss of $139.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Summarized EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA information is shown below in the following table:
|(in millions, except percentages)|
|Ecoservices||$||227.8 ||$||177.7 ||$||50.1 ||28.2 ||%|
|78.0 ||88.0 ||(10.0)||(11.4)||%|
|Unallocated corporate expenses||(29.0)||(38.1)||9.1 ||(24.0)||%|
|Total||$||276.8 ||$||227.6 ||$||49.2 ||21.6 ||%|
(1)We define Adjusted EBITDA as EBITDA adjusted for certain items as noted in the reconciliation below. Our management evaluates the performance of our segments and allocates resources based primarily on Adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA does not represent cash flow for periods presented and should not be considered as an alternative to net income as an indicator of our operating performance or as an alternative to cash flows as a source of liquidity. Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable with EBITDA or Adjusted EBITDA as defined by other companies.
(2)The Adjusted EBITDA from the Zeolyst Joint Venture included in the Catalyst Technologies segment is $50.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2022, which includes $27.9 million of equity in net income, excluding $6.4 million of amortization of investment in affiliate step-up, plus $16.0 million of joint venture depreciation, amortization and interest. The Adjusted EBITDA from the Zeolyst Joint Venture included in the Catalyst Technologies segment is $49.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, which includes $27.8 million of equity in net income, excluding $6.5 million of amortization of investment in affiliate step-up, plus $15.6 million of joint venture depreciation, amortization and interest.
Ecoservices: Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $227.8 million, an increase of $50.1 million, or 28.2%, compared to $177.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in Ecoservices’ Adjusted EBITDA was the result of higher sales volumes for regeneration services and for virgin sulfuric acid, and higher average selling prices that more than covered higher variable costs.
Catalyst Technologies: Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2022 was $78.0 million, a decrease of $10.0 million, or 11.4%, compared with $88.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. Adjusted EBITDA decreased due higher variable costs arising from inflation and supply chain pressures, along with less-favorable product mix during the year. This was only partially offset by increased volume and higher average selling prices.
A reconciliation of net income attributable to Ecovyst Inc. to Adjusted EBITDA is as follows:
|Reconciliation of net income attributable to Ecovyst Inc. to Adjusted EBITDA|
|Net income from continuing operations||$||69.8 ||$||1.8 |
|Provision for income taxes||24.9 ||12.1 |
|Interest expense, net||37.2 ||37.0 |
|Depreciation and amortization||79.2 ||79.7 |
|EBITDA||211.1 ||130.6 |
Joint venture depreciation, amortization and interest(a)
|16.0 ||15.6 |
Amortization of investment in affiliate step-up(b)
|6.4 ||6.5 |
|Debt extinguishment costs||— ||26.9 |
Net loss on asset disposals(c)
|3.6 ||5.7 |
Foreign currency exchange loss(d)
|1.4 ||4.7 |
Transaction and other related costs(f)
|7.0 ||2.0 |
|Equity-based compensation||20.6 ||31.8 |
Restructuring, integration and business optimization expenses(g)
|11.6 ||3.9 |
|Adjusted EBITDA||$||276.8 ||$||227.6 |
(a)We use Adjusted EBITDA as a performance measure to evaluate our financial results. Because our Catalyst Technologies segment includes our 50% interest in the Zeolyst Joint Venture, we include an adjustment for our 50% proportionate share of depreciation, amortization and interest expense of the Zeolyst Joint Venture.
(b)Represents the amortization of the fair value adjustments associated with the equity affiliate investment in the Zeolyst Joint Venture as a result of the combination of the businesses of PQ Holdings Inc. and Eco Services Operations LLC in May 2016 (the “Business Combination”). We determined the fair value of the equity affiliate investment and the fair value step-up was then attributed to the underlying assets of the Zeolyst Joint Venture. Amortization is primarily related to the fair value adjustments associated with fixed assets and intangible assets, including customer relationships and technical know-how.
(c)When asset disposals occur, we remove the impact of net gain/loss of the disposed asset because such impact primarily reflects the non-cash write-off of long-lived assets no longer in use.
(d)Reflects the exclusion of the foreign currency transaction gains and losses in the statements of income related to the non-permanent intercompany debt denominated in local currency translated to U.S. dollars.
(e)Represents non-cash adjustments to the Company’s LIFO reserves for certain inventories in the U.S. that are valued using the LIFO method, which we believe provides a means of comparison to other companies that may not use the same basis of accounting for inventories.
(f)Relates to certain transaction costs, including debt financing, due diligence and other costs related to transactions that are completed, pending or abandoned, that we believe are not representative of our ongoing business operations.
(g)Includes the impact of restructuring, integration and business optimization expenses which are incremental costs that are not representative of our ongoing business operations.
(h)Other costs consist of adjustments for defined benefit pension plan (benefit) costs and certain expenses that are not core to our ongoing business operations, including environmental remediation-related costs, capital and franchise taxes. All of our defined benefit pension plan obligations are under defined benefit pension plans that are frozen. Included in this line-item are rounding discrepancies that may arise from rounding from dollars (in thousands) to dollars (in millions).
Adjusted Net Income
Summarized adjusted net income information is shown below in the following table:
|Years ended December 31,|
|Pre-tax||Tax expense (benefit)||After-tax||Pre-tax||Tax expense (benefit)||After-tax|
Reconciliation of net income attributable to Ecovyst Inc. to Adjusted Net Income (1)(2)
|Net income from continuing operations||$||94.7 ||$||24.9 ||$||69.8 ||$||13.9 ||$||12.1 ||$||1.8 |
Amortization of investment in affiliate step-up(b)
|6.4 ||1.5 ||4.9 ||6.5 ||1.6 ||4.9 |
|Debt extinguishment costs||— ||— ||— ||26.9 ||6.6 ||20.3 |
Net loss on asset disposals(c)
|3.6 ||0.9 ||2.7 ||5.7 ||1.4 ||4.3 |
Foreign currency exchange loss(d)
|1.4 ||0.4 ||1.0 ||4.7 ||1.0 ||3.7 |
Transaction and other related costs(f)
|7.0 ||1.1 ||5.9 ||2.0 ||0.5 ||1.5 |
|Equity-based compensation||20.6 ||(0.1)||20.7 ||31.8 ||7.7 ||24.1 |
Restructuring, integration and business optimization expenses(g)
|11.6 ||2.8 ||8.8 ||3.9 ||0.7 ||3.2 |
|(0.7)||(0.2)||(0.5)||1.8 ||0.7 ||1.1 |
|Adjusted Net Income, including Impact of Discrete Tax Items||144.4 ||31.2 ||113.2 ||95.3 ||31.8 ||63.5 |
Impact of Discrete Tax Items(3)
|— ||— ||— ||— ||(6.1)||6.1 |
|Adjusted Net Income||$||144.4 ||$||31.2 ||$||113.2 ||$||95.3 ||$||25.7 ||$||69.6 |
(1)We define adjusted net income as net income attributable to Ecovyst Inc. adjusted for non-operating income or expense and the impact of certain non-cash or other items that are included in net income that we do not consider indicative of our ongoing operating performance. Adjusted net income is presented as a key performance indicator as we believe it will enhance a prospective investor’s understanding of our results of operations and financial condition. Adjusted net income may not be comparable with net income or adjusted net income as defined by other companies.
(2)Refer to the Adjusted EBITDA notes above for more information with respect to each adjustment.
(3)Represents intra-period allocation rules related to a change in the UK legislature, which increased the UK corporate rate as well as an uncertain tax position related to a foreign entity.
The adjustments to net income attributable to Ecovyst Inc. are shown net of each applicable statutory tax rates.
Results of Operations
Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2020
The following is a summary of our financial performance for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared with the year ended December 31, 2020.
Sales increased $115.3 million to $611.2 million. The increase in sales was primarily due to higher sales volumes and pass-through of higher sulfur pricing. The higher volumes were primarily the result of stronger demand for polyethylene catalysts and higher volume for regeneration services. The global macroeconomic recovery supported demand across both business segments.
Gross profit increased $25.8 million to $176.7 million. The increase in gross profit was primarily due to higher sales volumes across the portfolio and favorable product mix. These factors more than offset headwinds from higher variable costs and elevated fixed costs driven by Winter Storm Uri in early 2021. Inflationary factors increased through the year, namely from higher sulfur and energy costs, but customer contractual pass-through mechanisms preserved earnings in Ecoservices, while targeted price increases served to mitigate cost pressures in Catalyst Technologies.
Operating income increased by $3.0 million to $54.6 million. The increase in operating income was primarily due to an increase in gross profit for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Equity in Net Income from Affiliated Companies
Equity in net income from affiliated companies for the year ended December 31, 2021 was $27.7 million, compared with net income of $21.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase was due to higher earnings of $6.4 million generated by the Zeolyst Joint Venture during the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2020.
The following is our consolidated statement of income and a summary of financial results for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020.
|(in millions, except percentages)|
|Sales||$||611.2 ||$||495.9 ||$||115.3 ||23.3 ||%|
|Cost of goods sold||434.5 ||345.0 ||89.5 ||25.9 ||%|
|Gross profit||176.7 ||150.9 ||25.8 ||17.1 ||%|
|Gross profit margin||28.9 ||%||30.4 ||%|
|Selling, general and administrative expenses||97.8 ||81.5 ||16.3 ||20.0 |