Superior Plus Announces Sale of Specialty Chemicals Business and Acceleration of Acquisition Growth Strategy in Energy Distribution Business

19 February 2021

Superior Plus Corp. announced that its subsidiary, Superior Plus LP, has entered into a definitive agreement with Birch Hill Equity Partners (“Birch Hill”) to sell its Specialty Chemicals business (“Specialty Chemicals”) for total consideration of $725 million (the “Transaction”). Under the terms of the Transaction, Superior will receive $600 million in cash proceeds from Birch Hill, and $125 million in the form of a 6% unsecured note (“Note”) issued by an affiliated entity of Birch Hill that is acquiring Specialty Chemicals.

The sale of Superior’s Specialty Chemicals business represents the final step in Superior’s long-term portfolio transformation into a pure-play energy distribution company. With this sale, Superior is reinforcing its focus on growing its industry-leading North American retail propane distribution platform and delivering long-term shareholder value. Proceeds from the Transaction will improve Superior’s financial flexibility and allow the company to accelerate its growth through acquisitions of retail propane distribution businesses. In 2020, Superior acquired more than $285 million of energy distribution assets, and Superior has already completed three acquisitions in the U.S. and Canada in 2021. Superior has a robust pipeline of acquisition opportunities and anticipates more than doubling the U.S. Propane Distribution EBITDA from operations over the next five years.

“We are excited to enter into this transaction with Birch Hill,” said Luc Desjardins, President and CEO of Superior. “The sale of Specialty Chemicals is an important component of our strategic plan and provides us with additional capital to further accelerate our accretive growth strategy in the U.S. propane market.”

Superior is committed to maintaining a resilient balance sheet, growing the business through acquisitions and returning capital to shareholders. Superior’s Energy Distribution business generates significant free cash flow to support the company’s existing dividend. Superior plans to use the net proceeds from the Transaction initially to reduce debt, including paying down the outstanding balance on its revolving credit facility. As a result of the Transaction, Superior’s lease liabilities are expected to decrease $104.0 million, further reducing Superior’s Total Debt. Superior’s Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA leverage is expected to be 2.8x(1) pro forma the completion of the Transaction.

Superior will be holding an Investor Day in the coming months to outline our new long-term business plan and strategy.

Key terms of the Note:

  • Principal amount of the Note and accrued and unpaid interest due 5½ years from close of the Transaction;
  • The Note bears interest at a rate of 6% compounded annually, which interest may be accrued and paid on maturity;

Purchase Price Adjustment Mechanism

  • The purchase price is subject to adjustment. If the average EBITDA from operations of the Specialty Chemicals business for the three, consecutive twelve-month periods following the closing date of the Transaction (“Average EBITDA”) is between $100 million and $115 million, the purchase price will not be adjusted and the amount due on maturity of the Note, including interest, will be $172.3 million.
  • If the Average EBITDA is more than $115 million, the purchase price will be increased (effective and with accrued interest as of the closing date) by the amount of the difference multiplied by 4.5 up to a maximum of $84 million and the buyer will issue an additional Note in such amount to the seller.
  • If the Average EBITDA is less than $100 million, the purchase price will be reduced (effective and with accrued interest as of the closing date) by the amount of the difference multiplied by 4.5 up to a maximum of $84 million and the seller will issue a Note to the buyer in such amount.

Luc Desjardins further stated, “Through the transaction structure, we have increased our financial flexibility, focused our business portfolio on energy distribution, and preserved an ability to share in the potential upside in the chemicals business over the next three years.”

The Transaction, which has been approved by Superior’s Board of Directors, is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first or second quarter of 2021.

All dollar amounts in this press release are in Canadian dollars.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is acting as legal counsel to Superior on the Transaction. Barclays acted as financial advisor to Superior.

Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA is based on Total Debt, Cash and Cash Equivalents as of September 30, 2020 and Adjusted EBITDA on a trailing twelve months basis ended September 30, 2020 adjusted to reflect completion of the Transaction and the anticipated immediate use of proceeds to repay outstanding debt. See “Non-GAAP Measures”)

About the Corporation

Superior consists of two primary operating businesses: Energy Distribution includes the distribution of propane and distillates, and Specialty Chemicals includes the production and distribution of specialty chemicals products.

For further information about Superior, please visit our website at: or contact: Beth Summers, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Tel: (416) 340-6015, or Rob Dorran, Vice President, Investor Relations and Treasurer, Tel: (416) 340-6003, E-mail: [email protected], Toll Free: 1-866-490-PLUS (7587).

Forward Looking Information

Certain information included herein is forward-looking, within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. Such information is typically identified by words such as "anticipate", "believe", "could", "estimate", "expect", "plan", "intend", "forecast", "future", "guidance", "may", "predict", "project", "should", "strategy", "target", "will" or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes. Forward-looking information in this news release includes forward looking information relating to the completion and timing of, and the use of proceeds from, the Transaction, Superior's expected leverage after completion of the Transaction, anticipates more than doubling the U.S. Propane Distribution EBITDA from operations over the next five years and expectations the Energy Distribution business will support the annualized dividend of $0.72 per common share. Superior believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such information should not be unduly relied upon.

Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance. By its very nature, forward-looking information involves inherent assumptions, risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks that predictions, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking information will not be achieved, including risks relating to satisfaction of the conditions to, and completion of, the Transaction, risks relating to the operating and financial performance of the Energy Distribution business which are described in Superior’s third quarter management discussion and analysis for the period ended September 30, 2020 and in Superior current annual information form for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 and risks relating to the availability of and ability to execute sufficient energy distribution acquisitions on attractive terms over the next five years. Key assumptions or risk factors to the anticipated value of acquisitions to be completed in the next five years include, but are not limited to, financial market conditions, Superior’s future debt levels, Superior’s ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations to meet its current and future obligations, access to, and terms of, future sources of funding for Superior’s capital expenditures and acquisitions, the integration of businesses into Superior’s operations, competitive action by other companies, availability and timing of acquisition targets, actions by governmental authorities including increases in taxes and changes in environmental and other regulations, general economic, market and business conditions, the regulatory framework that governs the operations of Superior’s business and industry capacity. Should one or more of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions described above prove incorrect, Superior's actual performance and results in future periods may differ materially from any projections of future performance or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on this information as a number of important factors could cause the actual results to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations and anticipations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking information.

Forward-looking information contained in this news release is provided for the purpose of providing information about management's goals, plans and range of expectations for the future and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Any forward-looking information is made as of the date hereof and, except as required by law, Superior does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise such information to reflect new information, subsequent or otherwise.

Non-GAAP Measures

Throughout this release, Superior has used the following terms that are not defined by International Financial Reporting Standards (“Non-GAAP Financial Measures”), but are used by management to evaluate the performance of Superior and its business: Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”), EBITDA from operations, Average EBITDA, Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio. These measures may also provide additional useful information to and be used by investors, financial institutions and credit rating agencies to assess Superior’s performance and ability to service debt. Non-GAAP financial measures do not have standardized meanings prescribed by GAAP and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies as they may calculate them differently from Superior. Securities regulations require that Non-GAAP financial measures are clearly defined, qualified and reconciled to their most comparable GAAP financial measures.

Non-GAAP financial measures should not, therefore, be considered in isolation or used in substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. Investors should be cautioned that Adjusted EBITDA, EBITDA from operations and Average EBITDA should not be construed as alternatives to net earnings, cash flow from operating activities or other measures of financial results determined in accordance with GAAP as an indicator of Superior’s performance. Non-GAAP financial measures are identified and defined as follows:

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, losses (gains) on disposal of assets, finance expense, restructuring costs, transaction and other costs, and unrealized gains (losses) on derivative financial instruments.

Adjusted EBITDA is used by Superior and investors to assess its consolidated results and ability to service debt. Adjusted EBITDA is a significant performance measure used by management and investors to evaluate Superior’s ongoing performance of its businesses.

EBITDA from operations

EBITDA from operations is defined as Adjusted EBITDA excluding costs that are not considered representative of Superior’s underlying core operating performance, including gains and losses on foreign currency hedging contracts, corporate costs and transaction and other costs, and excludes the impact of IFRS 16. Management uses EBITDA from operations to set targets for Superior (including annual guidance and variable compensation targets).

Average EBITDA

Average EBITDA is defined as the average EBITDA from operations of the Specialty Chemicals business for the three years following the closing date of the Transaction.

Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio

Adjusted EBITDA for the Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio is defined as Adjusted EBITDA calculated on a 12-month trailing basis giving pro forma effect to acquisitions and dispositions adjusted to the first day of the calculation period (“Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA”). Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA is used by Superior to calculate its Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio.

Total Debt is the sum of borrowings before deferred financing fees and lease liabilities and Net Debt is Total Debt minus cash and cash equivalents. To calculate the Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio divide Net Debt by Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA.

Management believes that Net Debt to Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA is an important measure to monitor leverage and evaluate the balance sheet.

Beth Summers, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Tel: (416) 340-6015

Rob Dorran, Vice President, Investor Relations and Treasurer
Tel: (416) 340-6003

E-mail: [email protected]
Toll Free: 1-866-490-PLUS (7587)