Cereplast announces new sales following restructure

By Erin Voegele | February 07, 2013

Cereplast Inc., a bioplastics manufacturer, has announced it generated approximately $300,000 in new revenue during the final two weeks of January. According to the company, the new revenue is in addition to the $500,000 in revenue announced Jan. 23.

Cereplast attributes the most recent set of orders to the bioplastic demand in Italy that is resulting from the country’s ban of traditional plastic bags. “The Italian Application Decree, which mandates that companies discontinue the use of traditional plastic bags in favor of bioplastic bags or other alternatives, continues to drive demand for Cereplast Compostables blown film grades,” said the company in a statement, noting that the next milestone will be the formal publication of the decree, which is expected to further increase demand for bioplastic film.

According to information published by Cereplast in January, the Italian parliament voted on Dec. 13, 2012 to confirm proposed sanctions on companies using traditional plastic bags. Once the Application Decree is officially published Italian companies will have 60 days to switch to bioplastic bags or other alternatives.

"The Italian market for bioplastic blown film is once again gaining momentum," said Frederic Scheer, Cereplast chairman and CEO. "As a result of government legislation and mandates being passed down by the Italian parliament, the sales trend is continuing. We anticipate demand from this key region to approach similar sales volumes that we experienced in 2011. We are encouraged by the sales data we are analyzing, which is pointing to a strong 2013."

In late January, the company also provided an outlook for 2013. In that statement, Cereplast noted its debt holders waived the event of default, agreeing to forbear from exercising their rights and remedies under the indenture with respect to Cereplast’s failure to make interest payments in June and December. The company was able to arrange a structured investment from an institutional investor, offering a repayment plan to settle the past-due interest balance and the coupon due in June 2013. According to Cereplast, the restructuring provides company relief through Dec. 2013.

In addition, approximately $1 million in short-term convertible debt and equity financing was completed to provide Cereplast with working capital. As part of aggressive cost cutting measures, the company also furloughed production employees and reduced its worldwide headcount to 17 employees.

Cereplast has also appointed Michael Okada as its new chief financial officer, effective Feb. 5. He had been the acting interim chief financial officer since February 2012. “We are excited to promote Michael as our CFO as he has made exceptional contributions to the company during the past two years," Scheer said. "Michael's sound judgment, strong financial and operational expertise, and his broad understanding of our business and clients will make him an effective CFO for Cereplast. He is a key member of our senior management team, and we felt that with our current growth projections and expected sales volume for 2013, that now was the time to formally appoint him as our new CFO."