20190331 10Q Q1

Table of Contents

 



UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

_______________________



FORM 10-Q



Quarterly Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the

Securities Exchange Act of 1934



For the Quarterly Period Ended March 31, 2019



Commission File Number 001-37469



Green Plains PARTNERS LP

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)





 

Delaware

47-3822258

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)



 

1811 Aksarben Drive, Omaha, NE 68106

(402) 884-8700

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)



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.

 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).

 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 is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 Yes    No



Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:





 

 

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Units, Representing Limited Partner Interests

GPP

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC



The registrant had 23,137,695 common units outstanding as of May 6, 2019.


 

Table of Contents

 



TABLE OF CONTENTS





 

 



 

 



Page

PART I – FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Commonly Used Defined Terms

3



 

 

Item 1.

Financial Statements

4



 

 



Consolidated Balance Sheets

4



 

 



Consolidated Statements of Operations

5



 

 



Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

6



 

 



Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

7



 

 

Item 2.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

23



 

 

Item 3.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

29



 

 

Item 4.

Controls and Procedures

30



 

 

PART II – OTHER INFORMATION



 

 

Item 1.

Legal Proceedings

31



 

 

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

31



 

 

Item 2.

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds

31



 

 

Item 3.

Defaults Upon Senior Securities

31



 

 

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

31



 

 

Item 5.

Other Information

31



 

 

Item 6.

Exhibits

32



 

 

Signatures.

33









 

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Table of Contents

 

Commonly Used Defined Terms



The abbreviations, acronyms and industry terminology used in this quarterly report are defined as follows:



Green Plains Partners LP, Subsidiaries, and Partners:



z

 

Green Plains Operating Company

Green Plains Operating Company LLC

Green Plains Partners; the partnership

Green Plains Partners LP and its subsidiaries

NLR

NLR Energy Logistics LLC



Green Plains Inc. and Subsidiaries:





 

Green Plains; the parent or sponsor

Green Plains Inc. and its subsidiaries

Green Plains Holdings, the general partner

Green Plains Holdings LLC

Green Plains Trade

Green Plains Trade Group LLC



Other Defined Terms:









2018 annual report

The partnership’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, filed February 20, 2019

ARO

Asset retirement obligation

ASC

Accounting Standards Codification

Bgy

Billion gallons per year

CAFE

Corporate Average Fuel Economy

CAMEX

Brazil Chamber of Foreign Trade

Conflicts committee

The partnership’s committee responsible for reviewing situations involving certain transactions with affiliates or other potential conflicts of interest

D.C.

District of Columbia

E10

Gasoline blended with up to 10% ethanol by volume

E15

Gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol by volume

E85

Gasoline blended with up to 85% ethanol by volume

EBITDA

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization

EIA

U.S. Energy Information Administration

EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Exchange Act

Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended

FASB

Financial Accounting Standards Board

GAAP

U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

IPO

Initial public offering of Green Plains Partners LP

LIBOR

London Interbank Offered Rate

LTIP

Green Plains Partners LP 2015 Long-Term Incentive Plan

Mmg

Million gallons

MTBE

Methyl tertiary-butyl ether

MVCs

Minimum volume commitments

Partnership agreement

First Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership of Green Plains Partners LP, dated as of July 1, 2015, between Green Plains Holdings LLC and Green Plains Inc.

PCAOB

Public Company Accounting Oversight Board

RFS II

Renewable Fuels Standard II

RIN

Renewable identification number

RVO

Renewable volume obligation

SEC

Securities and Exchange Commission

U.S.

United States

USDA

U.S. Department of Agriculture





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PART I – FINANCIAL INFORMATION



Item 1.  Financial Statements.

GREEN PLAINS PARTNERS LP

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(in thousands, except unit amounts)







 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 



 

March 31,

 

December 31,



 

2019

 

2018



 

(unaudited)

 

 

 

ASSETS

Current assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

304 

 

$

569 

Accounts receivable

 

 

2,277 

 

 

1,460 

Accounts receivable from affiliates

 

 

18,646 

 

 

13,897 

Prepaid expenses and other

 

 

667 

 

 

690 

Total current assets

 

 

21,894 

 

 

16,616 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization of $29,250 and $28,265, respectively

 

 

39,926 

 

 

40,911 

Operating lease right-of-use assets

 

 

35,950 

 

 

 -

Goodwill

 

 

10,598 

 

 

10,598 

Investment in equity method investee

 

 

3,863 

 

 

3,648 

Note receivable

 

 

8,100 

 

 

8,100 

Other assets

 

 

1,069 

 

 

1,271 

Total assets

 

$

121,400 

 

$

81,144 



 

 

 

 

 

 

LIABILITIES AND PARTNERS' DEFICIT

Current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts payable

 

$

4,697 

 

$

2,501 

Accounts payable to affiliates

 

 

517 

 

 

676 

Accrued and other liabilities

 

 

6,326 

 

 

4,337 

Asset retirement obligations

 

 

683 

 

 

674 

Operating lease current liabilities

 

 

12,621 

 

 

 -

Total current liabilities

 

 

24,844 

 

 

8,188 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-term debt

 

 

143,037 

 

 

142,025 

Deferred lease liability

 

 

 -

 

 

843 

Asset retirement obligations

 

 

2,592 

 

 

2,542 

Operating lease long-term liabilities

 

 

24,323 

 

 

 -

Total liabilities

 

 

194,796 

 

 

153,598 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Commitments and contingencies (Note 9)

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Partners' deficit

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common unitholders - public (11,551,147 units issued and outstanding)

 

 

114,958 

 

 

115,352 

Common unitholders - Green Plains (11,586,548 units issued and outstanding)

 

 

(187,110)

 

 

(186,635)

General partner interests

 

 

(1,244)

 

 

(1,171)

Total partners' deficit

 

 

(73,396)

 

 

(72,454)

Total liabilities and partners' deficit

 

$

121,400 

 

$

81,144 



See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

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GREEN PLAINS PARTNERS LP

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(unaudited and in thousands, except per unit amounts)







 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31,



 

2019

 

2018

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affiliate

 

$

18,782 

 

$

24,257 

Non-affiliate

 

 

2,305 

 

 

1,628 

Total revenues

 

 

21,087 

 

 

25,885 

Operating expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operations and maintenance (excluding depreciation and amortization reflected below)

 

 

6,865 

 

 

8,410 

General and administrative

 

 

1,117 

 

 

1,401 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

985 

 

 

1,181 

Total operating expenses

 

 

8,967 

 

 

10,992 

Operating income

 

 

12,120 

 

 

14,893 

Other income (expense)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest income

 

 

20 

 

 

20 

Interest expense

 

 

(2,055)

 

 

(1,571)

Other

 

 

 -

 

 

75 

Total other expense

 

 

(2,035)

 

 

(1,476)

Income before income taxes and income (loss) from equity method investee

 

 

10,085 

 

 

13,417 

Income tax expense

 

 

(52)

 

 

(32)

Income (loss) from equity method investee

 

 

215 

 

 

(13)

Net income

 

$

10,248 

 

$

13,372 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income attributable to partners' ownership interests:

 

 

 

 

 

 

General partner

 

$

205 

 

$

267 

Limited partners - common unitholders

 

 

10,043 

 

 

6,559 

Limited partners - subordinated unitholders

 

 

 -

 

 

6,546 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per limited partner unit (basic and diluted):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common units

 

$

0.43 

 

$

0.41 

Subordinated units

 

$

 -

 

$

0.41 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted average limited partner units outstanding (basic and diluted):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common units

 

 

23,119 

 

 

15,922 

Subordinated units

 

 

 -

 

 

15,890 



See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.



 

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GREEN PLAINS PARTNERS LP

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(unaudited and in thousands)





 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31,



 

2019

 

2018

Cash flows from operating activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

10,248 

 

$

13,372 

Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash
provided by operating activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

985 

 

 

1,181 

Accretion

 

 

59 

 

 

63 

Amortization of debt issuance costs

 

 

204 

 

 

145 

Unit-based compensation

 

 

79 

 

 

60 

(Income) loss from equity method investee

 

 

(215)

 

 

13 

Other

 

 

(22)

 

 

11 

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts receivable

 

 

(817)

 

 

1,829 

Accounts receivable from affiliates

 

 

(4,749)

 

 

(5,380)

Prepaid expenses and other assets

 

 

23 

 

 

189 

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

 

 

4,238 

 

 

2,583 

Accounts payable to affiliates

 

 

(159)

 

 

611 

Operating lease liabilities and right-of-use assets

 

 

119 

 

 

 -

Other

 

 

11 

 

 

12 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

 

10,004 

 

 

14,689 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from investing activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchases of property and equipment, net

 

 

 -

 

 

(1,212)

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

 -

 

 

(1,212)



 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments of distributions

 

 

(11,269)

 

 

(15,306)

Proceeds from revolving credit facility

 

 

30,600 

 

 

24,400 

Payments on revolving credit facility

 

 

(29,600)

 

 

(22,300)

Payments of loan fees

 

 

 -

 

 

(185)

Net cash used in financing activities

 

 

(10,269)

 

 

(13,391)



 

 

 

 

 

 

Net change in cash and cash equivalents

 

 

(265)

 

 

86 

Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period

 

 

569 

 

 

502 

Cash and cash equivalents, end of period

 

$

304 

 

$

588 



 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Supplemental disclosures of cash flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash paid for income taxes

 

$

126 

 

$

71 

Cash paid for interest

 

$

1,780 

 

$

1,327 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-cash investing activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributions to equity method investee

 

$

 -

 

$

1,172 



See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

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GREEN PLAINS PARTNERS LP



NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS



(unaudited)

 

1.  BASIS OF PRESENTATION, DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS AND SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES



Organization



References to “the partnership” in the consolidated financial statements and notes to the consolidated financial statements refer to Green Plains Partners LP and its subsidiaries.

 

Green Plains Holdings LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Green Plains Inc., serves as the general partner of the partnership. References to (i) “the general partner” and “Green Plains Holdings” refer to Green Plains Holdings LLC; (ii) “the parent,” “the sponsor” and “Green Plains” refer to Green Plains Inc.; and (iii) “Green Plains Trade” refers to Green Plains Trade Group LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Green Plains.



Consolidated Financial Statements



The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the partnership and its controlled subsidiaries. All significant intercompany balances and transactions are eliminated on a consolidated basis for reporting purposes. Results for the interim periods presented are not necessarily indicative of the expected results for the entire year.



The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP for interim financial information and instructions to Form 10-Q and Article 10 of Regulation S-X. Because they do not include all of the information and footnotes required by GAAP, the consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the partnership’s 2018 annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, as filed with the SEC on February 20, 2019.



The partnership accounts for its interest in joint ventures using the equity method of accounting, with its investment recorded at the acquisition cost plus the partnership’s share of equity in undistributed earnings or losses and reduced by distributions received.



Reclassifications



Certain prior year amounts were reclassified to conform to the current year presentation. These reclassifications did not affect total revenues, costs and expenses, net income, or partners’ deficit.



Use of Estimates in the Preparation of Consolidated Financial Statements



Preparation of the consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, and revenues and expenses during the reporting period. The partnership bases its estimates on historical experience and assumptions it believes are proper and reasonable under the circumstances. The partnership regularly evaluates the appropriateness of these estimates and assumptions. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Key accounting policies, including, but not limited to, those related to depreciation of property and equipment, asset retirement obligations, operating leases, and impairment of long-lived assets and goodwill, are impacted significantly by judgments, assumptions and estimates used to prepare the consolidated financial statements.



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Description of Business



The partnership provides fuel storage and transportation services by owning, operating, developing and acquiring ethanol and fuel storage tanks, terminals, transportation assets and other related assets and businesses. The partnership is its parent’s primary downstream logistics provider to support the parent’s approximately 1.1 bgy ethanol marketing and distribution business since the partnership’s assets are the principal method of storing and delivering the ethanol its parent produces. The ethanol produced by the parent is predominantly fuel grade, made principally from starch extracted from corn, and primarily used for blending with gasoline. Ethanol currently comprises approximately 10% of the U.S. gasoline market and is an economical source of octane and oxygenates for blending into the fuel supply. The partnership does not take ownership of, or receive any payments based on the value of the ethanol, other fuels or products it handles. As a result, the partnership does not have any direct exposure to fluctuations in commodity prices.



Revenue Recognition



The partnership recognizes revenue when obligations under the terms of a contract with a customer are satisfied. Generally, this occurs with the completion of services or the transfer of control of products to the customer or another specified third party. Operating lease revenue related to minimum volume commitments is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease. To the extent shortfalls associated with minimum volume commitments in the previous four quarters continue to exist, volumes in excess of the minimum volume commitment are applied to those shortfalls. Remaining excess volumes generating operating lease revenue are recognized as incurred.



The partnership generates a substantial portion of its revenues under fee-based commercial agreements with Green Plains Trade. Please refer to Note 2 - Revenue to the consolidated financial statements for further details.



Operations and Maintenance Expenses



The partnership’s operations and maintenance expenses consist primarily of lease expenses related to the transportation assets, labor expenses, outside contractor expenses, insurance premiums, repairs and maintenance expenses, and utility costs. These expenses also include fees for certain management, maintenance and operational services to support the storage and terminal facilities, trucks, and leased railcar fleet allocated by Green Plains under the operational services and secondment agreement.



Concentrations of Credit Risk



In the normal course of business, the partnership is exposed to credit risk resulting from the possibility a loss may occur due to failure of another party to perform according to the terms of their contract. The partnership provides fuel storage and transportation services for various parties with a significant portion of its revenues earned from Green Plains Trade. The partnership continually monitors its credit risk exposure and concentrations. Please refer to Note 2 – Revenue and Note 10 – Related Party Transactions to the consolidated financial statements for additional information.



Segment Reporting



The partnership accounts for segment reporting in accordance with ASC 280, Segment Reporting, which establishes standards for entities reporting information about the operating segments and geographic areas in which they operate. Management evaluated how its chief operating decision maker has organized the partnership for purposes of making operating decisions and assessing performance, and concluded it has one reportable segment.



Asset Retirement Obligations



The partnership records an ARO for the fair value of the estimated costs to retire a tangible long-lived asset in the period incurred if it can be reasonably estimated, which is subsequently adjusted for accretion expense. Corresponding asset retirement costs are capitalized as a long-lived asset and depreciated on a straight-line basis over the asset’s remaining useful life. The expected present value technique used to calculate the fair value of the AROs includes assumptions about costs, settlement dates, interest accretion, and inflation. Changes in assumptions, such as the amount or timing of estimated cash flows, could increase or decrease the AROs. The partnership’s AROs are based on legal obligations to perform remedial activity related to land, machinery and equipment when certain operating leases expire.



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Recent Accounting Pronouncements 



On January 1, 2019, the partnership adopted the amended guidance in ASC 842, Leases. Please refer to Note 9 – Commitments and Contingencies to the consolidated financial statements for further details.



2.  REVENUE



Revenue Recognition



The partnership recognizes revenue when obligations under the terms of a contract with a customer are satisfied.  Generally, this occurs with the completion of services or the transfer of control of products to the customer or another specified third party. Revenue is measured as the amount of consideration expected to be received in exchange for providing services.



Revenue by Source



The following table disaggregates our revenue by major source for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018 (in thousands):



 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31,



 

2019

 

2018

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terminal services

 

$

2,566 

 

$

2,281 

Trucking and other

 

 

895 

 

 

1,083 

Railcar transportation services

 

 

 -

 

 

26 

Total service revenues

 

 

3,461 

 

 

3,390 

Leasing revenues (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storage and throughput services

 

 

11,785 

 

 

14,642 

Railcar transportation services

 

 

5,619 

 

 

7,443 

Terminal services

 

 

222 

 

 

410 

Total leasing revenues

 

 

17,626 

 

 

22,495 

Total revenues

 

$

21,087 

 

$

25,885 



(1) Leasing revenues do not represent revenues recognized from contracts with customers under ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, and are accounted for under ASC 842, Leases.



Terminal Services Revenue



The partnership provides terminal services and logistics solutions to Green Plains Trade, and other customers, through its fuel terminal facilities under various terminal service agreements, some of which have minimum volume commitments. Revenue generated by these terminals is disaggregated between service revenue and leasing revenue in accordance with the new revenue standard. If Green Plains, or other customers, fail to meet their minimum volume commitments during the applicable term, a deficiency payment equal to the deficient volume multiplied by the applicable fee will be charged. Deficiency payments related to the partnership’s terminal services revenue may not be utilized as credits toward future volumes. At terminals where customers have shared use of terminal and tank storage assets, revenue is generated from contracts with customers and accounted for as service revenue. This service revenue is recognized at the point in time when product is withdrawn from tank storage. At terminals where a customer is predominantly provided exclusive use of the terminal or tank storage assets, the partnership is considered a lessor as part of an operating lease agreement. Revenue is recognized over the term of the lease based on the minimum volume commitment or total actual throughput if in excess of the minimum volume commitment.



Trucking and Other Revenue



The partnership transports ethanol, natural gasoline, other refined fuels and feedstocks by truck from identified receipt points to various delivery points. Trucking revenue is recognized over time based on the percentage of total miles traveled, which is on average less than 100 miles.



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Railcar Transportation Services Revenue



Under the rail transportation services agreement, Green Plains Trade is obligated to use the partnership to transport ethanol and other fuels from receipt points identified by Green Plains Trade to nominated delivery points. Green Plains Trade is required to pay the partnership fees for the minimum railcar volumetric capacity provided, regardless of utilization of that capacity. However, Green Plains Trade is not charged for railcar volumetric capacity that is not available for use due to inspections, upgrades or routine repairs and maintenance. Revenue associated with the rail transportation services fee is considered leasing revenue and is recognized over the term of the lease based on the actual average daily railcar volumetric capacity provided. The partnership may also charge Green Plains Trade a related services fee for logistical operations management of railcar volumetric capacity utilized by Green Plains Trade which is not provided by the partnership. Revenue associated with the related services fee is also considered leasing revenue and recognized over the term of the lease based on the average volumetric capacity for which services are provided.



Storage and Throughput Revenue



The partnership generates leasing revenue from its storage and throughput agreement with Green Plains Trade based on contractual rates charged for the handling, storage and throughput of ethanol. Under this agreement, Green Plains Trade is required to pay the partnership a fee for a minimum volume commitment regardless of the actual volume delivered. If Green Plains Trade fails to meet its minimum volume commitment during any quarter, the partnership will charge Green Plains Trade a deficiency payment equal to the deficient volume multiplied by the applicable fee. The deficiency payment may be applied as a credit toward volumes delivered by Green Plains Trade in excess of the minimum volume commitment during the following four quarters, after which time any unused credits will expire. Revenue is recognized over the term of the lease based on the minimum volume commitment or total actual throughput if in excess of the minimum volume commitment.

 

Payment Terms



The partnership has standard payment terms, which vary depending on the nature of the services provided, with the majority of terms falling within 10 to 30 days after transfer of control or completion of services. Contracts generally do not include a significant financing component in instances where the timing of revenue recognition differs from the timing of invoicing.



Major Customers



Revenue from Green Plains Trade Group was $18.8 million and $24.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, which exceeds 10% of the partnership's total revenue.



Contract Liabilities



The partnership records unearned revenue when consideration is received, or such consideration is unconditionally due, from a customer prior to transferring goods or services to the customer under the terms of service and lease agreements. Unearned revenue from service agreements, which represents a contract liability, is recorded for fees that have been charged to the customer prior to the completion of performance obligations, and is generally recognized in the subsequent quarter.



The following table reflects the changes in our unearned revenue from service agreements, which is recorded in accrued and other liabilities on the consolidated balance sheets, for the three months ended March 31, 2019 (in thousands):





 

 

 



 

Amount

Balance at January 1, 2019

 

$

248 

Revenue recognized included in beginning balance

 

 

(248)

Net additions

 

 

101 

Balance at March 31, 2019

 

$

101 



The partnership expects to recognize all of the unearned revenue associated with service agreements from contracts with customers as of March 31, 2019, in the subsequent quarter when the product is withdrawn from tank storage.



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3.  DEBT



Revolving Credit Facility



Green Plains Operating Company has a $200.0 million revolving credit facility, which matures on July 1, 2020, to fund working capital, acquisitions, distributions, capital expenditures and other general partnership purposes. The credit facility can be increased by an additional $20.0 million without the consent of the lenders. Advances under the credit facility, are subject to a floating interest rate based on the preceding fiscal quarter’s consolidated leverage ratio at a base rate plus 1.25% to 2.00% or LIBOR plus 2.25% to 3.00%. The unused portion of the credit facility is also subject to a commitment fee of 0.35% to 0.50%, depending on the preceding fiscal quarter’s consolidated leverage ratio.



The revolving credit facility is available for revolving loans, including sublimits of $30.0 million for swing line loans and $30.0 million for letters of credit. The revolving credit facility is guaranteed by the partnership, each of its existing subsidiaries, and any potential future domestic subsidiaries. As of March 31, 2019, the revolving credit facility had an average interest rate of 5.51%.



The partnership’s obligations under the credit facility are secured by a first priority lien on (i) the capital stock of the partnership’s present and future subsidiaries, (ii) all of the partnership’s present and future personal property, such as investment property, general intangibles and contract rights, including rights under any agreements with Green Plains Trade, and (iii) all proceeds and products of the equity interests of the partnership’s present and future subsidiaries and its personal property. The terms impose affirmative and negative covenants, including restrictions on the partnership’s ability to incur additional debt, acquire and sell assets, create liens, invest capital, pay distributions and materially amend the partnership’s commercial agreements with Green Plains Trade. The credit facility also requires the partnership to maintain a maximum consolidated net leverage ratio of no more than 3.50x and a minimum consolidated interest coverage ratio of no less than 2.75x, each of which is calculated on a pro forma basis with respect to acquisitions and divestitures occurring during the applicable period. The consolidated leverage ratio is calculated by dividing total funded indebtedness minus the lesser of cash in excess of $5.0 million or $30.0 million by the sum of the four preceding fiscal quarters’ consolidated EBITDA. The consolidated interest coverage ratio is calculated by dividing the sum of the four preceding fiscal quarters’ consolidated EBITDA by the sum of the four preceding fiscal quarters’ interest charges.



The partnership had $135.0 million and $134.0 million of borrowings outstanding under the revolving credit facility as of March 31, 2019, and December 31, 2018 respectively.



The partnership had $63 thousand and $75 thousand of debt issuance costs recorded as a direct reduction of the carrying value of the partnership’s long-term debt as of March 31, 2019, and December 31, 2018, respectively. 



Covenant Compliance

 

The partnership, including all of its subsidiaries, was in compliance with its debt covenants as of March 31, 2019.



4.  DISPOSITIONS



On November 15, 2018, Green Plains closed on the sale of three of its ethanol plants located in Bluffton, Indiana, Lakota, Iowa, and Riga, Michigan to Valero Renewable Fuels Company, LLC (“Valero”). Correspondingly, the partnership’s storage assets located adjacent to such plants were sold to Green Plains for $120.9 million. As consideration, the partnership received from its parent 8.7 million Green Plains units and a portion of the general partner interest equating to 0.2 million equivalent limited partner units to maintain the general partner’s 2% interest. These units were retired upon receipt. In addition, the partnership also received cash consideration of $2.7 million from Valero for the assignment of certain railcar operating leases. This transaction was accounted for as a transfer between entities under common control and was approved by the conflicts committee.

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The following is a summary of assets and liabilities disposed of (in thousands):







 

 

 

Total consideration received

 

$

120,900 

Identifiable assets and liabilities disposed of:

 

 

 

Property and equipment, net

 

 

4,192 

Asset retirement obligations

 

 

(425)

Total identifiable net assets

 

 

3,767 

Units retired:

 

 

 

Common units - Green Plains

 

 

118,482 

General partners interest

 

 

2,418 

Total units retired

 

 

120,900 

Partners' deficit effect

 

$

(3,767)



In conjunction with the disposition, the partnership amended the 1) omnibus agreement, 2) operational services agreement, 3) ethanol storage and throughput agreement, and (4) rail transportation services agreement. Please refer to Note 10 – Related Party Transactions to the consolidated financial statements for additional information.



5.  UNIT-BASED COMPENSATION



The board of directors of the general partner adopted the LTIP upon completion of the IPO. The LTIP is intended to promote the interests of the partnership, its general partner and affiliates by providing unit-based incentive compensation awards to employees, consultants and directors to encourage superior performance. The LTIP reserves 2,500,000 common limited partner units for issuance in the form of options, restricted units, phantom units, distribution equivalent rights, substitute awards, unit appreciation rights, unit awards, profit interest units or other unit-based awards. The partnership measures unit-based compensation grants at fair value on the grant date and records noncash compensation expense related to the awards over the requisite service period.



There was no change in the number of non-vested unit-based awards during the three months ended March 31, 2019.



Compensation costs related to the unit-based awards of $79 thousand and $60 thousand were recognized during the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. As of March 31, 2019, there was $79 thousand of unrecognized compensation costs from unit-based compensation awards.



6.  PARTNERS’ DEFICIT





Changes in partners’ deficit are as follows (in thousands):







 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Limited Partners

 

 

 

 

 



 

Common Units-
Public

 

Common Units-
Green Plains

 

General Partner

 

 

Total

Balance, December 31, 2018

 

$

115,352 

 

$

(186,635)

 

$

(1,171)

 

$

(72,454)

Quarterly cash distributions to unitholders ($0.475 per unit)

 

 

(5,487)

 

 

(5,504)

 

 

(278)

 

 

(11,269)

Net income

 

 

5,014 

 

 

5,029 

 

 

205 

 

 

10,248 

Unit-based compensation, including general partner net contributions

 

 

79 

 

 

 -

 

 

 -

 

 

79 

Balance, March 31, 2019

 

$

114,958 

 

$

(187,110)

 

$

(1,244)

 

$

(73,396)







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Limited Partners

 

 

 

 

 



 

Common Units-
Public

 

Common Units-
Green Plains

 

Subordinated Units-
Green Plains

 

General Partner

 

 

Total

Balance, December 31, 2017

 

$

115,747 

 

$

(38,505)

 

$

(139,376)

 

$

(712)

 

$

(62,846)

Quarterly cash distributions to unitholders ($0.470 per unit)

 

 

(5,420)

 

 

(2,063)

 

 

(7,468)

 

 

(355)

 

 

(15,306)

Net income

 

 

4,751 

 

 

1,808 

 

 

6,546 

 

 

267 

 

 

13,372 

Unit-based compensation, including general partner net contributions

 

 

60 

 

 

 -

 

 

 -

 

 

 -

 

 

60 

Balance, March 31, 2018

 

$

115,138 

 

$

(38,760)

 

$

(140,298)

 

$

(800)

 

$

(64,720)



There was no change in the number of common limited partner units outstanding during the three months ended March 31, 2019.





Subordinated Unit Conversion



The requirements under the partnership agreement for the conversion of all of the outstanding subordinated units into common units were satisfied upon the payment of the distribution with respect to the quarter ended June 30, 2018. Accordingly, the subordination period ended on August 13, 2018, the first business day after the date of the distribution payment, and all of the 15,889,642 outstanding subordinated units were converted into common units on a one-for-one basis. The conversion of the subordinated units did not impact the amount of cash distributions paid or the total number of outstanding units.



Issuance of Additional Securities



The partnership agreement authorizes the partnership to issue unlimited additional partnership interests on the terms and conditions determined by the general partner without unitholder approval.



Cash Distribution Policy



Quarterly distributions are made from available cash within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter.  Available cash generally means, all cash and cash equivalents on hand at the end of that quarter less cash reserves established by the general partner plus all or any portion of the cash on hand resulting from working capital borrowings made subsequent to the end of that quarter.



The general partner also holds incentive distribution rights that entitles it to receive increasing percentages, up to 48%, of available cash distributed from operating surplus, as defined in the partnership agreement, in excess of $0.46 per unit per quarter. The maximum distribution of 48% does not include any distributions the general partner or its affiliates may receive on its general partner interest, common units, or subordinated units.



On February 8, 2019, the partnership distributed $11.3 million to unitholders of record as of February 1, 2019, related to the quarterly cash distribution of $0.475 per unit that was declared on January 17, 2019, for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.



On April 18, 2019, the board of directors of the general partner declared a quarterly cash distribution of $0.475 per unit, or approximately $11.3 million, for the quarter ended March 31, 2019. The distribution is payable on May 10, 2019, to unitholders of record at the close of business on May 3, 2019.

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The total cash distributions declared for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, are as follows (in thousands):





 

 

 

 

 



Three Months Ended
March 31,



2019

 

2018

General partner distributions

$

225 

 

$

310 

Incentive distributions

 

53 

 

 

73 

Total distributions to general partner

 

278 

 

 

383 



 

 

 

 

 

Limited partner common units - public

 

5,487 

 

 

5,478 

Limited partner common units - Green Plains

 

5,504 

 

 

2,085 

Limited partner subordinated units - Green Plains

 

 -

 

 

7,547 

Total distributions to limited partners

 

10,991 

 

 

15,110 

Total distributions declared

$

11,269 

 

$

15,493 











7. EARNINGS PER UNIT



The partnership computes earnings per unit using the two-class method. Earnings per unit applicable to common units, and to subordinated units prior to the expiration of the subordination period, is calculated by dividing the respective limited partners’ interest in net income by the weighted average number of common and subordinated units outstanding during the period, adjusted for the dilutive effect of any outstanding dilutive securities. Diluted earnings per limited partner unit was the same as basic earnings per limited partner unit as there were no potentially dilutive common or subordinated units outstanding as of March 31, 2019. The following tables show the calculation of earnings per limited partner unit – basic and diluted (in thousands, except for per unit data): 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Three Months Ended
March 31, 2019



Limited Partner

Common Units

 

General Partner

 

Total

Net income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distributions declared

$

10,991 

 

$

278 

 

$

11,269 

Earnings less than distributions

 

(948)

 

 

(73)

 

 

(1,021)

Total net income

$

10,043 

 

$

205 

 

$

10,248 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted-average units outstanding - basic and diluted

 

23,119 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per limited partner unit - basic and diluted

$

0.43 

 

 

 

 

 

 







 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Three Months Ended
March 31, 2018



Limited Partner
Common Units

 

Limited Partner
Subordinated Units (1)

 

General Partner

 

Total

Net income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distributions declared

$

7,563 

 

$

7,547 

 

$

383 

 

$

15,493 

Earnings less than distributions

 

(1,004)

 

 

(1,001)

 

 

(116)

 

 

(2,121)

Total net income

$

6,559 

 

$

6,546 

 

$

267 

 

$

13,372 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted-average units outstanding - basic and diluted

 

15,922 

 

 

15,890 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per limited partner unit - basic and diluted

$

0.41 

 

$

0.41 

 

 

 

 

 

 



(1) The subordinated units converted to common units on a one-for-one basis in August 2018 (see Note 6 – Partners’ Deficit).





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8.  INCOME TAXES



The partnership is a limited partnership, which is not subject to federal income taxes. The general partner and the unitholders are responsible for paying federal and state income taxes on their share of the partnership’s taxable income. However, the partnership owns a subsidiary that is taxed as a corporation for federal and state income tax purposes. In addition, the partnership is subject to state income taxes in certain states. As a result, the financial statements reflect a provision or benefit for such income taxes.



The partnership recognizes uncertainties in income taxes based upon the technical merits of the position, and measures the maximum benefit and degree of likelihood to determine the tax liability in the financial statements.



9.  COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES



Adoption of ASC 842



On January 1, 2019, the partnership adopted the amended guidance in ASC 842, Leases, and all related amendments (“new lease standard”) and applied it to all leases using the optional transition method which requires the amended guidance to be applied at the date of adoption. The standard does not require the guidance to be applied to the earliest comparative period presented in the financial statements. As such, comparative information has not been restated and continues to be reported under the accounting standards in effect for those periods. The new lease standard had a material impact on the partnership’s consolidated balance sheets, increasing total assets and total liabilities by $39.7 million upon adoption. It did not have a material impact on the consolidated statement of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2019. 



The impact on the consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2018 for the adoption of the new lease standard was as follows (in thousands):





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Balance at December 31, 2018

 

Adjustments Due to ASC 842

 

Balance at January 1, 2019



 

(audited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance sheet

 

 

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating lease right-of-use assets

 

$

 -

 

$

39,685 

 

$

39,685 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating lease current liabilities

 

 

 -

 

 

13,534 

 

 

13,534 

Deferred lease liabilities

 

 

843 

 

 

(843)

 

 

 -

Operating lease long-term liabilities

 

 

 -

 

 

26,994 

 

 

26,994 



The partnership’s leases do not specify an implicit interest rate. Therefore, the incremental borrowing rate was used based on information available at commencement date to determine the present value of future payments.



Practical Expedients



Under the new lease standard, companies may elect various practical expedients upon adoption. The partnership elected the package of practical expedients related to transition, which states that an entity need not reassess initial direct costs for existing leases, the lease classification for any expired or existing leases, and whether any expired or existing contracts are or contain leases.



The partnership elected to utilize a portfolio approach for lease classification, which allows for an entity to group together leases with similar characteristics provided that its application does not create a material difference when compared to accounting for the leases at a contract level. For the partnership’s railcar leases, the partnership elected to combine the railcars within each contract rider and account for each contract rider as an individual lease.



The partnership also elected the practical expedient for lessees to include both the lease and non-lease components as a single component and account for them as a lease. Certain of the partnership’s railcar agreements provide for maintenance costs to be the responsibility of the partnership as incurred or charged by the lessor. This maintenance cost is a non-lease component that the partnership elected to combine with the monthly rental payment and account for the total cost as operating lease expense. In addition, the partnership has a land lease that contains a non-lease component for the handling

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and unloading services the landlord provides. The partnership elected to combine the cost of services with the land lease cost and account for the total as operating lease expense.



The lessor practical expedient to combine both the lease and non-lease components and account for them as a lease was applied by class of underlying asset. The storage and throughput agreement consists of lease costs paid by Green Plains Trade for the rental of the terminal facilities as well as non-lease costs for the throughput services provided by the partnership. For this agreement, the partnership elected to combine the facility rental revenue and the service revenue and account for the total as leasing revenue. The railcar transportation services agreement consists of lease costs paid by Green Plains Trade for the use of the partnership’s railcar assets as well as non-lease costs for logistical operations management and other services. For this agreement, the partnership elected to combine the railcar rental revenue and the service revenue and account for the total as leasing revenue.



A lessee may elect not to apply the recognition requirements in the new lease standard for short-term leases. Instead, the lease payments may be recognized into profit or loss on a straight-line basis over the lease term. The partnership has elected to use this short-term lease exemption, and therefore will not record a lease liability or right-of-use asset for leases with a term of one year or less. The partnership did not incur any short-term lease expense for the three months ended March 31, 2019. 



Operating Lease Expense



The partnership leases certain facilities, parcels of land, and railcars with remaining terms ranging from less than one year to approximately 12.6 years, including renewal options reasonably certain to be exercised for the land and facility leases. Railcar agreement renewals are not considered reasonably certain to be exercised as they typically renew with significantly different underlying terms.



The partnership may sublease certain of its railcars to third parties on a short-term basis. These subleases are classified as operating leases, with the associated sublease revenue recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term.



The components of lease expense are as follows (in thousands):





 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31, 2019

Lease expense

 

 

 

Operating lease expense

 

$

4,209 

Variable lease expense (1)

 

 

122 

Total lease expense

 

$

4,331 



(1) Represents amounts incurred in excess of the minimum payments required for the handling and unloading of railcars for a certain land lease, offset by railcar lease abatements provided by the lessor when railcars are out of service during periods of maintenance or upgrade.



Supplemental cash flow information related to operating leases is as follows (in thousands):



 

 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31, 2019

Cash paid for amounts included in the measurement of lease liabilities:

 

 

 

Operating cash flows from operating leases

 

$

4,091 



Supplemental balance sheet information related to operating leases is as follows:





 

 

 



 

March 31, 2019

Weighted average remaining lease term

 

 

4.3 years



 

 

 

Weighted average discount rate

 

 

5.21% 



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Aggregate minimum lease payments under the operating lease agreements for the remainder of 2019 and in future years are as follows (in thousands):







 

 

 



 

 

 

Year Ending December 31,

 

Amount

2019

 

$

10,892 

2020

 

 

12,315 

2021

 

 

6,803 

2022

 

 

5,183 

2023

 

 

1,587 

Thereafter

 

 

4,794 

Total

 

$

41,574 

Less: Present value discount

 

 

(4,630)

Operating lease liabilities

 

$

36,944 



The partnership has additional railcar operating leases that will commence in the second quarter of 2019 to replace expiring leases, with estimated future minimum lease commitments of approximately $6.7 million and lease terms of five years. The undiscounted amounts are not included in the tables above.



Aggregate minimum lease payments remaining under the operating lease agreements as of December 31, 2018 are as follows (in thousands):







 

 

 

Year Ending December 31,

 

Amount

2019

 

$

14,180 

2020

 

 

11,843 

2021

 

 

6,842 

2022

 

 

4,758 

2023

 

 

1,164 

Thereafter

 

 

4,028 

Total

 

$

42,815 



Lease Revenue



The components of lease revenue are as follows (in thousands):





 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31, 2019

Lease revenue

 

 

 

Operating lease revenue

 

$

17,334 

Variable lease revenue (1)

 

 

68 

Sublease revenue

 

 

224 

Total lease revenue

 

$

17,626 



(1) Represents amounts delivered by Green Plains Trade and other customers in excess of various minimum volume commitments, as well as the difference between the contracted railcar volumetric capacity and the actual amount provided to Green Plains Trade during the period.



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In accordance with the amended storage and throughput agreement, Green Plains Trade is obligated to deliver a minimum volume of 235.7 mmg per calendar quarter to the partnership’s storage facilities and pay $0.05 per gallon on all volume it throughputs associated with the agreement. While this agreement contains a provision stating that the rate could potentially increase above the $0.05 per gallon on the sixth anniversary of the effective date, the potential increase would be based on a percentage change in the Bureau of Labor Producer Price Index, which cannot be predicted at this time. The remaining lease term for this agreement is approximately 9.3 years, with automatic one-year renewal periods in which either party has the right to terminate the contract. Due to the unilateral right to termination during the renewal period, the lease contract would no longer contain enforceable rights or obligations. Therefore, the lease term does not include the successive one-year renewal periods. Anticipated minimum operating lease revenue under this agreement assuming a consistent rate of $0.05 per gallon for the remainder of 2019 and in future years is as follows (in thousands):





 

 

 



 

 

 

Year Ending December 31,

 

Amount

2019

 

$

35,355 

2020

 

 

47,140 

2021

 

 

47,140 

2022

 

 

47,140 

2023

 

 

47,140 

Thereafter

 

 

212,130 

Total

 

$

436,045 



In accordance with the amended rail transportation services agreement with Green Plains Trade, Green Plains Trade is required to pay the rail transportation services fee for railcar volumetric capacity provided by the partnership. The remaining lease term for this agreement is approximately 6.3 years, with automatic one-year renewal periods in which either party has the right to terminate the contract. Due to the unilateral right to termination during the renewal period, the lease contract would no longer contain enforceable rights or obligations. Therefore, the lease term does not include the successive one-year renewal periods. Under the terms of the agreement, Green Plains Trade is not required to pay for volumetric capacity that is not available due to inspections, upgrades, or routine repairs and maintenance. As a result, the actual volumetric capacity billed may be reduced based on the amount of volumetric capacity available for use during any applicable period. Anticipated minimum operating lease revenue under this agreement for the remainder of 2019 and in future years is as follows (in thousands):





 

 

 

Year Ending December 31,

 

Amount

2019

 

$

14,252 

2020

 

 

17,255 

2021

 

 

9,983 

2022

 

 

7,417 

2023

 

 

1,109 

Thereafter

 

 

 -

Total

 

$

50,016 



The partnership provides terminal services and logistics solutions to certain customers under various terminal service agreements, some of which have minimum volume commitments. At terminals where a customer is predominantly provided exclusive use of the terminal or tank storage assets, the partnership is considered a lessor as part of an operating lease agreement. Revenue is recognized over the term of the lease based on the minimum volume commitment, or total actual throughput if in excess of the minimum volume commitment. The remaining lease terms for these agreements range from less than one year to approximately 6.4 years, some of which contain renewal options reasonably certain to be exercised. Minimum operating lease revenue for these terminals for the remainder of 2019 and in future years is as follows (in thousands):







 

 

 

Year Ending December 31,

 

Amount

2019

 

$

106 

2020

 

 

74 

2021

 

 

74 

2022

 

 

74 

2023

 

 

74 

Thereafter

 

 

123 

Total

 

$

525 



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Other Commitments and Contingencies



The partnership has agreements for contracted services with certain vendors that require the partnership to pay minimum monthly amounts, which expire on various dates. These agreements do not contain an identified asset and therefore are not considered operating leases. The partnership satisfied the minimum commitments under these agreements during the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018. Aggregate minimum payments under these agreements for the remainder of 2019 and in future years are as follows (in thousands):





 

 

 



 

 

 

Year Ending December 31,

 

Amount

2019

 

$

498 

2020

 

 

153 

2021

 

 

157 

2022

 

 

156 

2023

 

 

 -

Thereafter

 

 

 -

Total

 

$

964 



Legal



The partnership may be involved in litigation that arises during the ordinary course of business. The partnership is not currently party to any material litigation. 



10.  RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS



The partnership engages in various related party transactions with Green Plains and subsidiaries of Green Plains. Green Plains provides a variety of shared services to the partnership, including general management, accounting and finance, payroll and human resources, information technology, legal, communications and treasury activities. These costs are proportionally allocated by Green Plains to its subsidiaries based on common financial metrics management believes are reasonable. The partnership recorded expenses related to these shared services of $0.9 million and $1.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. In addition, the partnership reimburses Green Plains for wages and benefit costs of employees directly performing services on its behalf. Green Plains may also pay certain direct costs on behalf of the partnership, which are reimbursed by the partnership. The partnership believes the consolidated financial statements reflect all material costs of doing business related to its operations, including expenses incurred by other entities on its behalf.



Omnibus Agreement



The partnership has entered into an omnibus agreement, as amended, with Green Plains and its affiliates which, among other terms and conditions, addresses the partnership’s obligation to reimburse Green Plains for direct or allocated costs and expenses incurred by Green Plains for general and administrative services; the prohibition of Green Plains and its subsidiaries from owning, operating or investing in any business that owns or operates fuel terminals or fuel transportation assets; the partnership’s right of first offer to acquire assets if Green Plains decides to sell them; a nontransferable, nonexclusive, royalty-free license to use the Green Plains trademark and name; the allocation of taxes among the parent, the partnership and its affiliates and the parent’s preparation and filing of tax returns; and an indemnity by Green Plains for environmental and other liabilities.



If Green Plains or its affiliates cease to control the general partner, then either Green Plains or the partnership may terminate the omnibus agreement, provided that (i) the indemnification obligations of the parties survive according to their respective terms; and (ii) Green Plains’ obligation to reimburse the partnership for operational failures survives according to its terms.



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Operating Services and Secondment Agreement



The general partner has entered into an operational services and secondment agreement, as amended, with Green Plains. Under the terms of the agreement, Green Plains seconds employees to the general partner to provide management, maintenance and operational functions for the partnership, including regulatory matters, health, environment, safety and security programs, operational services, emergency response, employee training, finance and administration, human resources, business operations and planning. The seconded personnel are under the direct management and supervision of the general partner who reimburses the parent for the cost of the seconded employees, including wages and benefits. If a seconded employee does not devote 100% of his or her time providing services to the general partner, the general partner reimburses the parent for a prorated portion of the employee’s overall wages and benefits based on the percentage of time the employee spent working for the general partner.



Under the operational services and secondment agreement, Green Plains will indemnify the partnership from any claims, losses or liabilities incurred by the partnership, including third-party claims, arising from their performance of the operational services secondment agreement; provided, however, that Green Plains will not be obligated to indemnify the partnership for any claims, losses or liabilities arising out of the partnership’s gross negligence, willful misconduct or bad faith with respect to any services provided under the operational services and secondment agreement.



Commercial Agreements



The partnership has various fee-based commercial agreements with Green Plains Trade, including:

·

10-year storage and throughput agreement, expiring on June 30, 2028;

·

10-year rail transportation services agreement, expiring on June 30, 2025;

·

1-year trucking transportation agreement, expiring on May 31, 2019;

·

Terminal services agreement for the Birmingham, Alabama unit train terminal, expiring December 31, 2019; and

·

Various other terminal services agreements for other fuel terminal facilities, each with Green Plains Trade.



The storage and throughput, rail transportation services, and trucking transportation agreements have various automatic renewal terms if not cancelled by either party within specified timeframes. Please refer to Item 15 – Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedule in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, for further details.



The storage and throughput agreement and terminal services agreements are supported by minimum volume commitments. The rail transportation services agreement is supported by minimum take-or-pay volumetric capacity commitments.



Under the storage and throughput agreement, as amended, Green Plains Trade is obligated to deliver a minimum volume of 235.7 mmg of product per calendar quarter to the partnership’s storage facilities and pay $0.05 per gallon on all volume it throughputs. If Green Plains Trade fails to meet its minimum volume commitment during any quarter, Green Plains Trade will pay the partnership a deficiency payment equal to the deficient volume multiplied by the applicable fee. The deficiency payment may be applied as a credit toward volumes delivered by Green Plains Trade in excess of the minimum volume commitment during the following four quarters, after which time any unused credits will expire. The partnership charged Green Plains Trade a deficiency payment in the amount of $4.0 million related to the minimum volume commitment for the three months ended March 31, 2019. The cumulative minimum volume deficiency credits available to Green Plains Trade as of March 31, 2019 totaled $7.0 million, of which $3.0 million will expire if unused by the end of the fourth quarter of 2019, and $4.0 million will expire if unused by the end of the first quarter of 2020.



Under the rail transportation services agreement, Green Plains Trade is obligated to use the partnership to transport ethanol and other fuels from receipt points identified by Green Plains Trade to nominated delivery points. The average daily railcar volumetric capacity provided by the partnership was 83.4 mmg and 99.2 mmg, respectively, and the associated monthly fee was approximately $0.0216 and $0.0252 per gallon, respectively, during the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018. The partnership’s leased railcar fleet consisted of approximately 2,840 and 3,500 railcars as of March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.



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Green Plains Trade is also obligated to use the partnership for logistical operations management and other services related to average daily railcar volumetric capacity provided by Green Plains Trade, which was approximately 3.6 mmg and 6.6 mmg for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Green Plains Trade is obligated to pay a monthly fee of approximately $0.0013 per gallon for these services. In addition, Green Plains Trade reimburses the partnership for costs related to: (1) railcar switching and unloading fees; (2) increased costs related to changes in law or governmental regulation related to the specification, operation or maintenance of railcars; (3) demurrage charges, except when the charges are due to the partnership’s gross negligence or willful misconduct; and (4) fees related to rail transportation services under transportation contracts with third-party common carriers. Green Plains Trade frequently contracts with the partnership for additional railcar volumetric capacity during the normal course of business at comparable margins.



Under the trucking transportation agreement, Green Plains Trade pays the partnership to transport ethanol and other fuels by truck from identified receipt points to various delivery points. Green Plains Trade is obligated to pay a monthly trucking transportation services fee equal to the aggregate volume transported in a calendar month by the partnership’s trucks, multiplied by the applicable rate for each truck lane. A truck lane is defined as a specific and routine route of travel between a point of origin and point of destination. Rates for each truck lane are negotiated based on product, location, mileage and other factors. Green Plains Trade reimburses the partnership for costs related to: (1) truck switching and unloading fees; (2) increased costs related to changes in law or governmental regulation related to the specification, operation and maintenance of trucks; and (3) fees related to trucking transportation services under transportation contracts with third-party common carriers.



Under the Birmingham terminal services agreement, effective January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2019, Green Plains Trade is obligated to throughput a minimum volume commitment of approximately 2.8 mmg per month and pay associated throughput fees, as well as fees for ancillary services.



The partnership recorded revenues from Green Plains Trade under the storage and throughput agreement and rail transportation services agreement of $17.2 million and $22.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The partnership recorded revenues from Green Plains Trade and other Green Plains subsidiaries related to trucking and terminal services of $1.6 million and $2.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.



Cash Distributions



The partnership distributed $5.8 million and $9.9 million to Green Plains related to the quarterly cash distribution paid for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.



Equity Method Investment



The partnership entered into a project management agreement with NLR Energy Logistics LLC, effective June 23, 2017, in which NLR provided the partnership a fixed monthly fee to coordinate and manage the development, design, and construction of the Little Rock, Arkansas unit train terminal. Construction of the terminal was completed during the first quarter of 2018. The partnership recognized no income related to the project management agreement during the three months ended March 31, 2019, and $75 thousand of other income during the three months ended March 31, 2018. In addition, the partnership has recorded a receivable of $51 thousand for various expenses to be reimbursed by NLR as of March 31, 2019.



Other Related Party Revenues and Expenses



The partnership incurs expenses charged by a subsidiary of the parent for cleaning of its storage tanks. There were no tank cleaning expenses incurred for the three months ended March 31, 2019. The partnership incurred tank cleaning expense of $10 thousand for the three months ended March 31, 2018.



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11. EQUITY METHOD INVESTMENT



NLR Energy Logistics LLC



The partnership and Delek Renewables LLC have a 50/50 joint venture, NLR Energy Logistics LLC, which operates a unit train terminal in the Little Rock, Arkansas area with capacity to unload 110-car unit trains and provide approximately 100,000 barrels of storage. Operations commenced at the beginning of the second quarter of 2018, and the first unit train was received in July 2018. As of March 31, 2019, the partnership's investment balance in the joint venture was $3.9 million.



The partnership does not consolidate any part of the assets or liabilities or operating results of its equity method investee. The partnership’s share of net income or loss in the investee increases or decreases, as applicable, the carrying value of the investment. With respect to NLR, the partnership determined that this entity does not represent a variable interest entity and consolidation is not required. In addition, although the partnership has the ability to exercise significant influence over the joint venture through board representation and voting rights, all significant decisions require the consent of the other investor without regard to economic interest.



Summarized Financial Information



The partnership reports its proportional share of equity method investee income (loss) on a one-month lag in the consolidated statements of operations. The following table presents combined summarized statement of operations data of our equity method investee for the three months ended February 28, 2019 and 2018 (amounts represent 100% of investee financial information in thousands, unaudited):





 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
February 28,



 

2019

 

2018

Total revenues

 

$

816 

 

$

 -

Total operating expenses

 

 

387 

 

 

26 

Net income (loss)

 

$

429 

 

$

(26)







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Item 2.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.



The following discussion and analysis provides information we believe is relevant to understand our consolidated financial condition and results of operations. This discussion should be read in conjunction with our unaudited consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes contained in this report together with our 2018 annual report. The results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2019, are not necessarily indicative of the results we expect for the full year.



Cautionary Information Regarding Forward-Looking Statements



Forward-looking statements are made in accordance with safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties and do not relate strictly to historical or current facts, but rather to plans and objectives for future operations. These statements may be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “outlook,” “plan,” “predict,” “may,” “could,” “should,” “will” and similar expressions, as well as statements regarding future operating or financial performance or guidance, business strategy, environment, key trends and benefits of actual or planned acquisitions.



Factors that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements include those discussed in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of our 2018 annual report or incorporated by reference. Specifically, we may experience fluctuations in future operating results due to changes in general economic, market or business conditions; foreign imports of ethanol; fluctuations in demand for ethanol and other fuels; risks of accidents or other unscheduled shutdowns affecting our assets, including mechanical breakdown of equipment or infrastructure; risks associated with changes to federal policy or regulation; ability to comply with changing government usage mandates and regulations affecting the ethanol industry; price, availability and acceptance of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, and laws mandating such fuels or vehicles; changes in operational costs at our facilities and for our railcars; failure to realize the benefits projected for capital projects; competition; inability to successfully implement growth strategies; the supply of corn and other feedstocks; unusual or severe weather conditions and natural disasters; ability and willingness of parties with whom we have material relationships, including Green Plains Trade, to fulfill their obligations; labor and material shortages; changes in the availability of unsecured credit and changes affecting the credit markets in general; risks related to acquisition and disposition activities; and other risk factors detailed in our reports filed with the SEC.



We believe our expectations regarding future events are based on reasonable assumptions. However, these assumptions may not be accurate or account for all risks and uncertainties. Consequently, forward-looking statements are not guaranteed. Actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied in our forward-looking statements. In addition, we are not obligated nor do we intend to update our forward-looking statements as a result of new information unless it is required by applicable securities laws. We caution investors not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which represent management’s views as of the date of this report or documents incorporated by reference.



Overview



Green Plains Partners provides fuel storage and transportation services by owning, operating, developing and acquiring ethanol and fuel storage tanks, terminals, transportation assets and other related assets and businesses. We are Green Plains’ primary downstream logistics provider and generate a substantial portion of our revenues under fee-based commercial agreements with Green Plains Trade for receiving, storing, transferring and transporting ethanol and other fuels, which are supported by minimum volume or take-or-pay capacity commitments.



Results of Operations



During the first quarter of 2019, our parent continued to adjust ethanol production in response to the weaker margin environment. In addition, overall performance at our parent’s ethanol plants was negatively impacted by flooding during the quarter, with the largest impact on the ability to transport products. Our parent’s average utilization rate was approximately 56.0% of capacity, resulting in ethanol production of 155.0 mmg, compared with the contracted minimum volume commitment of 235.7 mmg per quarter. As a result, we charged Green Plains Trade a deficiency payment in the amount of $4.0 million related to the minimum volume commitment for the three months ended March 31, 2019. 



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Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow



Adjusted EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest expense, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization excluding the amortization of right-of-use assets and debt issuance costs, plus adjustments for transaction costs related to acquisitions or financing transactions, minimum volume commitment deficiency payments, unit-based compensation expense, net gains or losses on asset sales, and our proportional share of EBITDA adjustments of our equity method investee.



Distributable cash flow is defined as adjusted EBITDA less interest paid or payable, income taxes paid or payable, maintenance capital expenditures, which are defined under our partnership agreement as cash expenditures (including expenditures for the construction or development of new capital assets or the replacement, improvement or expansion of existing capital assets) made to maintain our operating capacity or operating income, and our proportional share of distributable cash flow adjustments of our equity method investee.



Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow are supplemental financial measures that we use to assess our financial performance. We believe their presentation provides useful information to investors in assessing our financial condition and results of operations. However, these presentations are not made in accordance with GAAP. The GAAP measure most directly comparable to adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow is net income. Since adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow may be defined differently by other companies in our industry, our definitions of adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies, diminishing their utility. Adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow should not be considered in isolation or as alternatives to net income or any other measure of financial performance presented in accordance with GAAP to analyze our financial performance and operating results.



The following table presents reconciliations of net income to adjusted EBITDA and to distributable cash flow, for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018 (unaudited, dollars in thousands):







 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31,

 



 

2019

 

2018

 

Reconciliations to Non-GAAP Financial Measures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

10,248 

 

$

13,372 

 

Interest expense

 

 

2,055 

 

 

1,571 

 

Income tax expense

 

 

52 

 

 

32 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

985 

 

 

1,181 

 

MVC adjustments (1)

 

 

 -

 

 

747 

 

Transaction costs

 

 

 -

 

 

135 

 

Unit-based compensation expense

 

 

79 

 

 

60 

 

Proportional share of EBITDA adjustments of equity method investee (2)

 

 

66 

 

 

 -

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

 

13,485 

 

 

17,098 

 

Interest paid or payable

 

 

(2,055)

 

 

(1,571)

 

Income taxes paid or payable

 

 

(53)

 

 

(32)

 

Maintenance capital expenditures

 

 

 -

 

 

(15)

 

Distributable cash flow

 

$

11,377 

 

$

15,480 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distributions declared (3)

 

$

11,269 

 

$

15,493 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coverage ratio

 

 

1.01x

 

 

1.00x

 



(1) Adjustments related to the storage and throughput quarterly minimum volume commitments.

(2) Represents our proportional share of depreciation and amortization, interest expense, and income tax expense of our equity method investee.

(3) Distributions declared for the applicable period and paid in the subsequent quarter.

   

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Selected Financial Information and Operating Data



The following discussion reflects the results of the partnership for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018.



Selected financial information for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, is as follows (unaudited, in thousands):









 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Three Months Ended
March 31,



 

2019

 

2018

 

% Var.

Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storage and throughput services

 

$

11,785 

 

$

14,642 

 

(19.5)

%

Railcar transportation services

 

 

5,619 

 

 

7,469 

 

(24.8)

 

Terminal services

 

 

2,788 

 

 

2,691 

 

3.6 

 

Trucking and other

 

 

895 

 

 

1,083 

 

(17.4)

 

Total revenues

 

 

21,087 

 

 

25,885 

 

(18.5)

 

Operating expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operations and maintenance (excluding depreciation and amortization reflected below)

 

 

6,865 

 

 

8,410 

 

(18.4)

 

General and administrative

 

 

1,117 

 

 

1,401 

 

(20.3)

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

985 

 

 

1,181 

 

(16.6)

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

8,967 

 

 

10,992 

 

(18.4)

 

Operating income

 

$

12,120 

 

$

14,893 

 

(18.6)

%



Selected operating data for the three months ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, is as follows (unaudited):







 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Three Months Ended
March 31,

 



2019

 

2018

 

% Var.

 

Product volumes (mmg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storage and throughput services

155.7 

 

298.3 

 

(47.8)

%

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terminal services:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affiliate

24.8 

 

29.6 

 

(16.2)

 

 

Non-affiliate

25.6 

 

32.1 

 

(20.2)

 

 



50.4 

 

61.7 

 

(18.3)

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Railcar capacity billed (daily avg.)

83.4 

 

99.2 

 

(15.9)

 

 



Three Months Ended March 31, 2019, Compared with the Three Months Ended March 31, 2018



Consolidated revenues decreased $4.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared with the same period for 2018. Storage and throughput revenue decreased $2.9 million primarily due to a decrease in throughput volumes as a result of our parent’s sale of the Bluffton, Indiana, Lakota, Iowa, and Riga, Michigan ethanol plants in the fourth quarter of 2018, and lower utilization rates across the remaining platform. Revenues generated from rail transportation services decreased $1.8 million primarily due to the reduction in volumetric capacity provided as a result of the assignment of railcar operating leases to Valero in the fourth quarter of 2018. Trucking and other revenue decreased $0.2 million primarily due to a reduction in volumes transported for Green Plains Trade. Terminal services revenue remained relatively consistent as a result of non-affiliate minimum volume commitments.



Operations and maintenance expenses decreased $1.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared with the same period for 2018, primarily due to lower railcar lease expense as a result of the assignment of railcar leases to Valero in the fourth quarter of 2018, as well as lower unloading fees on less volume at our terminals.



General and administrative expenses decreased $0.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared with the same period for 2018, primarily due to a reduction in accounting and transaction fees.



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Distributable cash flow decreased $4.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared with the same period for 2018 primarily due to lower net income as a result of the sale of our parent’s Bluffton, Indiana, Lakota, Iowa, and Riga, Michigan ethanol plants in the fourth quarter of 2018. Interest expense increased by $0.5 million primarily due to higher average interest rates.



Industry Factors Affecting our Results of Operations



U.S. Ethanol Supply and Demand



According to the EIA, domestic ethanol production averaged 1.01 million barrels per day during the first quarter of 2019, which was 3% lower than the 1.04 million barrels for the first quarter of last year. Refiner and blender input volume increased 1% to 886 thousand barrels per day for the first quarter of 2019, compared with 875 thousand barrels per day for the same quarter last year. Gasoline demand for the first quarter of 2019 decreased 62 thousand barrels per day, or 1% compared to the same quarter last year. U.S. domestic ethanol ending stocks increased by approximately 1.6 million barrels, or 7%, to 24.0 million barrels for the first quarter of 2019. As of May 1, 2019, there were approximately 1,780 retail stations selling E15 in 31 states, up from 1,700 at the beginning of the year, according to Growth Energy.



Global Ethanol Supply and Demand



According to the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, domestic ethanol exports for 2018 were approximately 1.70 bgy, up 25% from 1.37 bgy for 2017. Brazil remained the largest export destination for U.S. ethanol, which accounted for 30% of domestic ethanol export volume despite the 20% tariff on U.S. ethanol imports in excess of 150 million liters, or 39.6 million gallons per quarter, imposed in September 2017 by Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade, or CAMEX. Canada, India and South Korea accounted for 20%, 9% and 5%, respectively, of U.S. ethanol exports. 



On April 1, 2018, China announced it would add an additional 15% tariff to the existing 30% tariff it had earlier imposed on ethanol imports from the United States and Brazil. China later raised the tariff further to 70% as the trade war escalated. In April 2019, the Trump administration announced a potential meeting with Chinese President Xi in May of 2019 to complete the trade agreement between the U.S. and China.



The cost to produce the equivalent amount of starch found in sugar from $3.50-per-bushel corn is 7 cents per pound. The average price of sugar remained at approximately 13 cents per pound during the first quarter of 2019. We currently estimate that net ethanol exports will reach between 1.6 billion gallons and 1.7 billion gallons in 2019 based on historical demand from a variety of countries and certain countries who seek to improve their air quality and eliminate MTBE from their own fuel supplies.



Legislation and Regulation



We are sensitive to government programs and policies that affect the supply and demand for ethanol and other fuels, which in turn may impact the volume of ethanol and other fuels we handle. This Congress may consider legislation that would impact the RFS. Various bills have been discussed in the House and Senate which would eliminate the RFS entirely, eliminate the corn based ethanol portion of the mandate, or make it more difficult to sell fuel blends with higher levels of ethanol. However, we believe it is unlikely these bills will be passed in a divided Congress.



Federal mandates supporting the use of renewable fuels are a significant driver of ethanol demand in the U.S. Ethanol policies are influenced by environmental concerns, diversifying our fuel supply, and an interest in reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil. Consumer acceptance of flex-fuel vehicles and higher ethanol blends of ethanol in non-flex-fuel vehicles may be necessary before ethanol can achieve significant growth in U.S. market share. CAFE, which was first enacted by Congress in 1975 to reduce energy consumption by increasing the fuel economy of cars and light trucks, provides a 54% efficiency bonus to flexible-fuel vehicles running on E85. Another important factor is a waiver in the Clean Air Act, known as the One-Pound Waiver, which allows E10 to be sold year-round, even though it exceeds the Reid Vapor Pressure limitation of nine pounds per square inch. In proposed rule-making, the EPA has proposed to extend the One-Pound Waiver to E15 so its sale can expand beyond flex-fuel vehicles during the June 1 to September 15 summer driving season.



The EPA accepted comments on its proposed rule until April 29, 2019, and is working to finalize the rule consistent with the U.S. President’s stated goal of having a final rule out before the start of summer driving season on June 1, 2019. Any final rule from the agency is susceptible to legal challenges. The proposed rule also contains certain RIN reform changes that could reduce RIN values and subsequently reduce incentives for higher ethanol blends, including E15.



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When the RFS II was passed in 2007 and rulemaking finalized in October 2010, the required volume of conventional renewable fuel to be blended with gasoline was to increase each year until it reached 15.0 billion gallons in 2015. In November 2018, the EPA announced it would maintain the 15.0 billion gallon mandate for conventional ethanol in 2019.



The EPA has the authority to waive the mandates in whole or in part if there is inadequate domestic renewable fuel supply or the requirement severely harms the economy or environment. According to the RFS II, if mandatory renewable fuel volumes are reduced by at least 20% for two consecutive years, the EPA is required to modify, or reset, statutory volumes through 2022. While conventional ethanol maintained 15 billion gallons, 2019 is the second year that the total proposed RVOs are more than 20% below statutory volumes levels. Thus, the EPA Administrator has directed his staff to initiate a reset rulemaking, wherein the EPA will modify statutory volumes through 2022, based on the same factors used to set the RVOs post-2022. These factors include environmental impact, domestic energy security, expected production, infrastructure impact, consumer costs, job creation, price of agricultural commodities, food prices, and rural economic development.



The EPA assigns individual refiners, blenders, and importers the volume of renewable fuels they are obligated to use based on their percentage of total domestic transportation fuel sales. Obligated parties use RINs to show compliance with RFS-mandated volumes. RINs are attached to renewable fuels by ethanol producers, like our parent, and detached when the renewable fuel is blended with transportation fuel or traded in the open market. The market price of detached RINs affects the price of ethanol in certain markets and influences the purchasing decisions by obligated parties.



The EPA can, in consultation with the Department of Energy, waive the obligation for individual refineries that are suffering “disproportionate economic hardship” due to compliance with the RFS. To qualify, the refineries must be under total throughput of 75,000 barrels per day and state their case for an exemption in an application to the EPA each year.



The Trump administration waived the obligation for 19 of 20 applicants for compliance year 2016, totaling 790 million gallons, and 35 of 37 for compliance year 2017, totaling 1.82 billion gallons. This effectively reduces the annual RVO by that amount, since the waived gallons are not reallocated to other obligated parties at this time. The resulting surplus of RINs in the market has brought values down significantly to under $0.20. Since higher RIN values help to make higher blends of ethanol more cost effective, lower RIN values could negatively impact retailer and consumer adoption of E15 and higher blends. There are 39 waiver applications pending for compliance year 2018.



Biofuels groups have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Federal District Court for the D.C. Circuit, challenging the 2019 RVO rule over the EPA’s failure to address small refinery exemptions in the rulemaking. This is the first RFS rulemaking since the expanded use of the exemptions came to light, however the EPA has refused to cap the number of waivers it grants or how it accounts for the retroactive waivers in its percentage standard calculations. The EPA has a statutory mandate to ensure the volume requirements are met, which are achieved by setting the percentage standards for obligated parties. The current approach accomplishes the opposite. Even if all the obligated parties comply with their respective percentage obligations for 2019, the nation’s overall supply of renewable fuel will not meet the total volume requirements set by the EPA. We believe this undermines Congressional intent of demand pressure creation and an increased consumption of renewable fuels. Biofuels groups argue the EPA must therefore adjust its percentage standard calculations to make up for past retroactive waivers and adjust the standards to account for any waivers it reasonably expects to grant in the future.



In another case on July 28, 2017, the U.S. Federal District Court for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the Americans for Clean Energy and its petitioners against the EPA related to its decision to lower the 2016 volume requirements. The Court concluded the EPA erred in how it interpreted the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver provision of RFS II, which authorizes the EPA to consider supply-side factors affecting the volume of renewable fuel available to refiners, blenders and importers to meet statutory volume requirements. The waiver provision does not allow the EPA to consider the volume of renewable fuel available to consumers or the demand-side constraints that affect the consumption of renewable fuel by consumers. As a result, the Court vacated the EPA’s decision to reduce the total renewable fuel volume requirements for 2016 through its waiver authority, which the EPA is expected to address. We believe this decision to confine the EPA’s waiver analysis to supply considerations benefits the industry overall and expect the primary impact will be on the RINs market. The EPA has not yet accounted for the 500 million gallons that the Court in the Americans for Clean Energy case directed, though they have indicated they will include it in the reset rulemaking or the 2020 RVOs.



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Government actions abroad can significantly impact the demand for U.S. ethanol. In September 2017, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the National Energy Board and 15 other state departments issued a joint plan to expand the use and production of biofuels containing up to 10% ethanol by 2020. China, the number three importer of U.S. ethanol in 2016, imported negligible volumes during fiscal year 2018 due to a 30% tariff, which increased to 70% in early 2018, imposed on the U.S. There is no assurance that China’s joint plan will lead to increased imports of U.S. ethanol. Our exports also face tariffs, rate quotas, countervailing duties, and other hurdles in Brazil, the European Union, India, Peru, and elsewhere, which limits our ability to compete in some markets.



In Brazil, the Secretary of Foreign Trade issued an official written resolution, imposing a 20% tariff on U.S. ethanol imports in excess of 150 million liters, or 39.6 million gallons per quarter in September 2017. The ruling is valid for two years, and is set to expire at the end of August 2019. In June 2017, the Energy Regulatory Commission of Mexico (CRE) approved the use of 10% ethanol blends, which was challenged by nine lawsuits. Four cases were dismissed. The five remaining cases follow one of two tracks: 1) to determine the constitutionality of the CRE regulation, or 2) to determine the benefits, or lack thereof, of introducing E10 to Mexico. An injunction was granted in October 2017, preventing the blending and selling of E10, but was overturned by a higher court in June 2018 making it legal to blend and sell E10 by PEMEX throughout Mexico except for its three largest metropolitan areas. U.S. ethanol exports to Mexico totaled 29.4 mmg in 2018.



Liquidity and Capital Resources



Our principal sources of liquidity include cash generated from operating activities and borrowings under our revolving credit facility. We consider opportunities to repay, redeem, repurchase or refinance our debt, depending on market conditions, as part of our normal course of doing business. Our ability to meet our debt service obligations and other capital requirements depends on our future operating performance, which is subject to general economic, financial, business, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other conditions, many of which are beyond our control. We plan to fund future expansion capital expenditures primarily from external sources, including borrowings under our revolving credit facility and issuances of debt and equity securities. We expect these sources will be adequate for both our short-term and long-term liquidity needs. 



At March 31, 2019, we had $0.3 million of cash and cash equivalents and $65.0 million available under our revolving credit facility.



Net cash provided by operating activities was $10.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared with $14.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. The decrease in cash flows from operating activities resulted primarily from a decrease in net income of $3.1 million as a result of the sale of the storage assets and the assignment of railcar operating leases associated with the Bluffton, Indiana, Lakota, Iowa, and Riga, Michigan ethanol plants in the fourth quarter of 2018. There was no cash used in investing activities for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared to $1.2 million utilized for the expansion of our truck and tanker fleet during the three months ended March 31, 2018. Net cash used in financing activities was $10.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2019, compared with $13.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018. The decrease in cash used in financing activities was due to a $4.0 million reduction in cash distributions as a result of the retirement of shares in the fourth quarter of 2018, partially offset by a $1.1 million decrease in net borrowings.



We did not incur any capital expenditures for the three months ended March 31, 2019, and we do not anticipate significant capital spending for the remainder of 2019.



We did not make any equity method investee contributions related to the NLR joint venture for the three months ended March 31, 2019, and we do not anticipate making significant equity contributions to NLR for the remainder of 2019.



Revolving Credit Facility



Green Plains Operating Company has a $200.0 million secured revolving credit facility, which matures on July 1, 2020, to fund working capital, acquisitions, distributions, capital expenditures and other general partnership purposes. The facility can be increased by up to $20.0 million without the consent of the lenders. At March 31, 2019, the outstanding principal balance was $135.0 million with an average interest rate of 5.51%.



We use LIBOR as a reference rate for our revolving credit facility. LIBOR is set to be phased out at the end of 2021. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of this change or the alternative reference rate to be used. We will need to renegotiate our credit facility to determine the interest rate to replace LIBOR with the new standard that is established. The potential effect of any such event on interest expense cannot yet be determined.

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For more information related to our debt, see Note 3 – Debt to the consolidated financial statements in this report.



Distributions to Unitholders



On February 8, 2019, the partnership distributed $11.3 million to unitholders of record as of February 1, 2019, related to the quarterly cash distribution of $0.475 per unit that was declared on January 17, 2019, for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.



On April 18, 2019, the board of directors of the general partner declared a quarterly cash distribution of $0.475 per unit, or approximately $11.3 million, for the quarter ended March 31, 2019. The distribution is payable on May 10, 2019, to unitholders of record at the close of business on May 3, 2019.



Contractual Obligations



Our contractual obligations as of March 31, 2019, were as follows (in thousands):









 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

Payments Due By Period

Contractual Obligations

 

Total

 

Less Than
1 Year

 

1-3 Years

 

3-5 Years