Enormous Untapped Opportunity in Citrus Trees as a Feedstock
ATLANTA, GA, March 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meridian Waste Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRDN) (“Meridian Waste” or the “Company” and recently announced name change to “Attis Industries, Inc.”), an innovative technology company, today announced that its subsidiary, Attis Innovations, is actively working with the Gulf Citrus Growers Association and the University of Florida Southwest Florida Research and Education Center to evaluate citrus trees as a feedstock for its proprietary biomass processing technology. The Attis biorefining technology can efficiently separate and convert biomass into high value, high volume commodities, such as cellulose, glucose, cellulosic ethanol, furfural and a melt-flowable form of lignin that disperses efficiently into plastics.
Since 2005, the Florida citrus industry has been struggling to combat a disease known as "greening", a bacterium that is spread by common bugs called psyllids. Once a citrus tree is exposed to the bacteria its lifespan and productivity are nearly cut in half. As a result, trees are "rogued" or extracted and burned at a rate of roughly 10-20% per year, almost ten times the normal rate of 1-2% annually. Attempts to eradicate the disease have thus far been unsuccessful to date, with the fallout having a negative impact on both citrus production and revenue for the industry.
Through a partnership with the Gulf Citrus Growers Association and the University of Florida, Attis Innovations is working aggressively to develop a system to create new jobs and value from rogued citrus trees and their byproducts. Attis Innovations estimates that from the roughly 350,000 acres of citrus groves in southwest Florida, there are roughly 7 million trees rogued each year. Assuming the average weight of the rogued trees is about 250 pounds, this leaves about 875,000 tons of trees being rogued and destroyed annually.
Attis expects that by fully deploying its biorefining technology in this region that approximately 125 high quality, well paying refinery jobs could be created while the business generates more than $115 million in EBITDA on invested capital of less than approximately $300 million. A key component of Attis’s technology is the ability to build cost effective facilities at small scale to match feedstock supplies and available capital. Attis expects that the total citrus tree plan would be built out over five projects at approximately $60 million each.
"The greening disease that has been affecting the citrus industry in Florida over the last 12 years has created a considerable strain on the profitability of citrus growers," said Ron Hamel, Executive Director of the Gulf Citrus Growers Association.
“These are exactly the type of applications and impact we look to have on our communities,” commented Attis Industries Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Cosman. “The construction and operations of just one system at one-fifth of the citrus scale would create incomes of equivalent to about $1 per share. This is one of many applications we wish to engage in to grow our company while creating high quality, sustainable jobs. The USDA estimates that there is more than 1-Billion tons of biomass available in the United States available for processing without disruption to the current food supply. This particular citrus application in southwest Florida represents less than 0.1% of the available feedstock for this purpose.”
Mr. Cosman added, “We wish to form partnerships with our feedstock suppliers and/or joint venture agreements to incentivize the creation of long lasting sustainable businesses where feedstock supplies are secured and economics preserved. These partnerships provide a win-win opportunity as the feedstock suppliers and rural economies benefit greatly from the additional incomes generated from otherwise undervalued materials while the Meridian shareholders are rewarded through the incomes generated by the technology investments they’ve made and will continue to make. We are actively in discussions with feedstock producers in several states to further advance this model.”
Mr. Cosman concluded, “Mining value from otherwise low value feedstocks to create new found wealth and jobs is our mission. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Ron Hamel and Dr. Calvin Arnold, director of the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, a department of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and excited about the potential source of income to our shareholders and the Florida citrus industry.”
About Meridian Waste Solutions, Inc. / Attis Industries
Meridian Waste Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRDN) is a company defined by our commitment to servicing our customers with unwavering respect, fairness and care. We are focused on finding and implementing solutions for the resource needs and challenges of our customers with a fundamental objective to seek rewarding solutions through technology and innovation. Our healthcare business centers on creating community-based synergies through collaborations and software solutions. Our innovation business (www.attisinnovations.com) strives to create value from recovered resources. For more information, visit www.mwsinc.com.
Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You can identify forward-looking statements by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “should,” “would” or similar words. You should consider these statements carefully because they discuss our plans, targets, strategies, prospects and expectations concerning our business, operating results, financial condition and other similar matters. These statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, including, but not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the Company's ability to develop, market and sell products based on its technology; the expected benefits and efficacy of the Company's products and technology; the availability of substantial additional funding for the Company to continue its operations and to conduct research and development, clinical studies and future product commercialization; and, the Company's business, research, product development, regulatory approval, marketing and distribution plans and strategies, the Company’s completion of the sale of its solid waste business; the ability of the Company to continue to meet the listing requirements of NASDAQ; the ability of the Company to execute on a business plan that permits the technologies and innovations businesses to provide sufficient growth, revenue, liquidity and cash flows for sustaining the Company’s go-forward business, and the risks identified and discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in the Meridian Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on April 17, 2017 and amended on May 31, 2017 and the other documents Meridian files with the SEC from time to time. There will be events in the future, however, that Meridian is not able to predict accurately or control. Meridian’s actual results may differ materially from the expectations that Meridian describes in its forward-looking statements. Factors or events that could cause Meridian’s actual results to materially differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for Meridian to accurately predict all of them. Any forward-looking statement made by Meridian in this press release speaks only as of the date on which Meridian makes it. Meridian undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
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