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EX-32.1 - SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS INCex32-1.htm
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EX-21.1 - SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS INCex21-1.htm

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

[X] ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
   
For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019
   
[  ] TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from _________ to________

 

Commission file number: 001-33522

 

SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

Delaware   20-2110031
(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)   (I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
     
One Riverway, Suite 1700, Houston, Texas   77056
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)   (Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (713) 579-0600

 

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

 

Common Stock, $.01 par value   NASDAQ Stock Market
(Title of Class)   (Name of Exchange on Which Registered)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 of 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes [  ] No [X]

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) 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 [X] 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 [X] No [  ]

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (Section 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. [  ]

 

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 [X]
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 [X]

 

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $6.9 million on December 31, 2018. The registrant had 1,576,500 shares of common stock outstanding on January 2, 2020.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None

 

 

 

 
   

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  Page
   
PART I  
Item 1. Description of Business 4
Item 1A. Risk Factors 18
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments 35
Item 2. Properties 35
Item 3. Legal Proceedings 35
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures 35
   
PART II  
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 36
Item 6. Selected Financial Data 36
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 37
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk 43
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data 44
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosures 78
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures 78
Item 9B. Other Information 78
   
PART III  
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 79
Item 11. Executive Compensation 82
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters 89
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence 91
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services 92
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules 93

 

2

 

 

Forward-Looking Statements

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements and are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those risks, trends and uncertainties are the possibility that our proposed merger transaction with Australian Future Energy Pty Ltd may be unable to obtain stockholder approval or satisfy the other conditions to closing; the ability to achieve the necessary consents to acquire the additional shares of Batchfire Resources Pty Ltd; the ability of Batchfire, Australian Future Energy Pty Ltd, and Cape River Resources Pty Ltd management to successfully grow and develop their Australian assets and operations, including Callide, the Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project and the West Pentland coal resource development; the ability of Batchfire to produce earnings and pay dividends; the ability of SES EnCoal Energy sp. z o. o. management to successfully grow and develop projects, assets and operations in Poland; our ability to raise additional capital; our indebtedness and the amount of cash required to service our indebtedness; our ability to find a partner for our technology business; our ability to develop and expand business of the TSEC Joint Venture in the joint venture territory; our ability to develop our business verticals, including DRI steel, through our marketing arrangement with Midrex Technologies; our ability to successfully develop our licensing business; our ability to continue as a going concern; the ability of our project with Yima to produce earnings and pay dividends; the economic conditions of countries where we are operating; events or circumstances which result in an impairment of our assets; our ability to reduce operating costs; our ability to make distributions and repatriate earnings from our Chinese operations; our ability to maintain our listing on the NASDAQ Stock Market; our ability to successfully commercialize our technology at a larger scale and higher pressures; commodity prices, including in particular coal, natural gas, crude oil, methanol and power; the availability and terms of financing; our customers’ and/or our ability to obtain the necessary approvals and permits for future projects; our ability to estimate the sufficiency of existing capital resources; the sufficiency of internal controls and procedures; and our results of operations in countries outside of the U.S., where we are continuing to pursue and develop projects. Although we believe that in making such forward-looking statements our expectations are based upon reasonable assumptions, such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected by us. We cannot assure you that the assumptions upon which these statements are based will prove to be correct.

 

When used in this Form 10-K, the words “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “seek,” “estimate” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements for a number of important reasons, including those discussed under “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

 

You should read these statements carefully because they discuss our expectations about our future performance, contain projections of our future operating results or our future financial condition, or state other “forward-looking” information. You should be aware that the occurrence of certain events described in this Form 10-K could substantially harm our business, results of operations and financial condition and that upon the occurrence of any of these events, the trading price of our common stock could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment.

 

We cannot guarantee any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements in this Form 10-K after the date hereof.

 

3

 

 

PART I

 

Item 1. Description of Business

 

General

 

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (referred to herein as “we”, “us” and “our”), together with its wholly-owned and majority-owned controlled subsidiaries is a global clean energy company that owns proprietary technology, SES Gasification Technology (“SGT”), for the low-cost and environmentally responsible production of synthesis gas (referred to as “syngas”). Our focus has been on commercializing our technology both in China and globally through the regional business platforms we have created with partners in Australia, via Australian Future Energy Pty Ltd (“AFE”), in Poland, via SES EnCoal Energy sp. zo. o (“SEE”) and in China, via Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited (“TSEC Joint Venture”).

 

SGT produces syngas that can provide a competitive alternative to other forms of energy such as natural gas, LNG, crude oil and the conventional utilization of coal in boilers for power generation. Our syngas can provide a lower cost energy source in markets where coal, low quality coal, coal wastes, biomass and municipal wastes are available and where natural gas, LNG, and crude oil are expensive or constrained due to lack of infrastructure such as distribution pipelines or power transmission lines, such as Australia, Asia, Eastern Europe and parts of South America. In addition to the economic advantages, we believe our syngas also provides an environmentally responsible option for the manufacturing of chemical, hydrogen, industrial fuel gas and a cleaner option for the generation of power from coal. We believe that our technology is well positioned to be an important solution that addresses the market needs of a changing global energy landscape.

 

Over the past twelve years, we have successfully commercialized SGT primarily through our efforts in China where, between 2006 and 2016, we invested in and built two commercial scale gasification projects together with Chinese partners and sub-licensed SGT into three additional projects in China. In the aggregate, we have completed five commercial scale industrial projects in China over a ten-year period, in which the projects utilize twelve SES proprietary SGT systems. We believe the completion of these projects in China propelled SGT into a globally recognized gasification technology.

 

We have determined that we did not have adequate cash to continue the commercialization of SGT due primarily to our inability to realize financial results from our two investments into projects in China and three technology licensed projects in China as well as our inability to quickly develop alternative technology income sources in Australia, Poland and other global regions. As a result, in our fiscal third quarter and the current quarter, we suspended our global SGT commercialization efforts, we undertook operating expense reductions, we severed our SGT technology resources, we ceased providing funds to project developments as we continue to explore the divesting of assets such as our Yima and TSEC Joint Ventures and we formed a special committee of the board of directors to evaluate financing and restructuring alternatives. On October 10, 2019, we announced the proposed merger with AFE and the acquisition of additional ownership in Batchfire Resources.

 

Proposed Merger with AFE

 

On March 29, 2019, our Board of Directors engaged Clarksons Platou Securities, Inc. (“CPS”) to act as our financial advisors to advise us as we conducted a process to evaluate financing options and strategic alternatives such as but not limited to a strategic merger, a sale, a recapitalization and/or a financing consisting of equity and/or debt securities focused on maximizing shareholder value and protecting the interests of our debtholders.

 

As a result of our efforts evaluating financing and strategic options, on October 10, 2019, we, SES Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of us (“Merger Subsidiary”), and AFE, entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) pursuant to which, among other things, AFE will, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the conditions set forth in the Merger Agreement, merge with and into Merger Subsidiary (the “Merger”), the separate corporate existence of Merger Subsidiary shall cease and AFE shall be the successor or surviving corporation of the Merger and a wholly owned subsidiary of us. The Merger is intended to qualify for federal income tax purposes as a tax-free reorganization under the provisions of Section 368(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Upon the consummation of the Merger, it is contemplated that we will also change our name.

 

Upon consummation of the Merger, and subject to the terms and conditions of the Merger Agreement, holders of AFE ordinary shares will receive, in exchange for such ordinary shares, 3,875,000 shares of our common stock. All outstanding stock options and restricted stock will remain outstanding post-Merger on the same terms and conditions as currently applicable to such awards, provided that outstanding awards for departing directors shall be amended to extend exercisability for the term of the award.

 

The Merger Agreement contains certain termination rights for both us and AFE, including, among other things, if the Merger is not consummated on or before April 15, 2020.

 

We operate our business from our headquarters located in Houston, Texas and our office in Shanghai, China.

 

4

 

 

Syngas as an Alternative to Conventional Energy Sources

 

Our syngas is used to produce a wide variety of high-value clean energy and chemical products, such as synthetic natural gas, power, methanol, and fertilizer. Syngas can provide a competitive alternative to other forms of energy such as natural gas, LNG, crude oil and conventional utilization of coal in boilers for power generation. Such competing technologies include reforming of natural gas for chemicals and hydrogen production, oil refining for fuels production, petroleum byproducts for plastics, precursors such as olefins and conventional natural gas, fuel oil and coal combustion in power generation equipment and other industrial applications.

 

Our syngas can provide a lower cost energy source in markets where coal, low quality coal, coal wastes, biomass and municipal wastes are available and where natural gas, LNG and crude oil are expensive or constrained due to lack of infrastructure such as distribution pipelines and power transmission lines, such as Australia, Asia, Eastern Europe, and parts of South America, while conversely in markets with relatively inexpensive natural gas, LNG and crude oil, we do not anticipate new syngas capacity additions.

 

In addition to economic advantages, we believe our syngas also provides an environmentally responsible option for the manufacturing of chemicals, hydrogen, industrial fuel gas and can provide a cleaner option for the generation of power from coal as it minimizes both air and solid environmental emissions, in addition to utilizing less water.

 

Target Markets

 

Our target markets focus primarily on lower quality coals, biomass and municipal waste where our gasification technology allows energy in the widest range of feedstocks to be unlocked and converted into flexible and valuable syngas. We offer a compelling advantage because of our ability to use such a wide range of solid fuel natural resources. Without our technology, regions where lignite coal, high moisture coal, high ash coal and/or high fines coals exist may face technology barriers which will prevent those resources from being used in energy production. Our technology can transform most of these natural resources into a valuable and flexible syngas products.

 

Our primary focus is on the Australia and Eastern Europe markets through AFE and SEE where each have unique market dynamics where we believe we can deploy our technology can be deployed into projects and provide the investment returns necessary to attract equity investment and debt capital.

 

Our syngas technology provides project owners with what we believe can be a responsible environmental footprint related to harmful pollutants such as nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides, particulate matter, airborne mercury and heavy metals and is an efficient and responsible user of water resources. However, we face challenges with the growing anti-coal sentiment primarily in the western world where we are doing business such as in Australia and Eastern Europe. We believe we address this new challenge through utilizing our technology’s ability to blend renewable solid feedstocks with coal or by using only renewable solid feedstocks and/or integration with other technologies that together can produce a lower overall CO2 footprint.

 

While historical uses of gasification technology have predominantly been driven by the chemicals industry, we believe new growth will be within the chemicals industry but will also come from utilization of syngas as a source of industrial fuel gas, as a precursor to hydrogen and SNG production for power generation. We believe that our technology is well positioned to be an important solution that addresses the market needs of the changing global energy landscape. Our gasification technology is unique in its ability to provide an economic, efficient and environmentally responsible alternative to many energy and chemical products normally derived from natural gas, LNG, crude oil, and oil derivatives.

 

Competition

 

Our SGT competes against both, other forms of gasification technology, and other competing technologies that include reforming of natural gas for chemicals and hydrogen production, oil refining for fuels production, petroleum byproducts for plastics, precursors such as olefins and conventional natural gas, fuel oil and coal combustion in power generation equipment and other industrial applications. SGT is most competitive in regions of the world where oil and gas are expensive or have reduced market availability. The energy industry is highly competitive, and we compete with a substantial number of other companies that have greater financial and other resources than we have.

 

SGT offers an economical and cleaner approach for conversion of coal into energy and chemicals through our ability to efficiently and economically gasify a wide range of solid-form natural resources including biomass, low quality coals, high quality coals, and coal wastes. We are not aware of commercially available gasifiers with such a wide range of feedstock flexibility combined with our high carbon conversion efficiency. Our gasification technology is positively differentiated by its ability to provide high carbon conversion efficiency from high ash and high moisture coals without coal rejection due to particle size and without the formation of tars and oils present in the technology of our competitors. We are also positively differentiated in our lower capital costs and lower water usage relative to other gasification technologies.

 

5

 

 

Historically, the most predominantly deployed western gasification technologies are from Air Products, which has acquired the General Electric technology (previously known as the Texaco technology), Shell’s gasification technology and Lurgi’s technology. Siemens and CB&I have also deployed gasification technology but not at the scale of Air Products. With the exception of Lurgi, these competitors utilized entrained flow slagging gasification technologies. The entrained flow technologies operate on more expensive high grade bituminous and some sub-bituminous coals as feedstocks, but lack capability with the more difficult low heating value, high ash and high moisture coals and with biomass or other renewable waste materials. The Lurgi gasification technology, a moving bed gasification technology, is capable of gasifying many lower grade coals, but has restrictive requirements on its coal feedstock. Also, due to its lower and uneven reaction temperatures, it generates a variety of high volatile hydrocarbon constituents (tars and oils) in the syngas that require expensive downstream removal and can cause the need for additional capital to be spent managing the environmental concerns related to these high volatile constituents that must be removed after the syngas is produced.

 

China has deployed Chinese derivatives of these western technologies on a very large scale, such as East China University and Beijing Aerospace. The Chinese technologies commercialized thus far are derivatives of the historically commercialized western technologies mentioned above and generally fall into the category of entrained flow slagging gasification, and the Chinese have also developed a derivate of the Lurgi technology which has been widely deployed in China. To date, commercialization of these technologies has been primarily inside China.

 

Barriers to New Competition

 

Historically gasification technologies have required many years of development with large sums of research development and commercial demonstration investment required to achieve commercial viability. We believe that the current range of available technologies leaves little incentive for development of new coal-based technologies, and emerging competition for everyone in the industry will likely focus on imitation and adaptation.

 

GTI Agreement

 

In November 2009, we entered into an Amended and Restated License Agreement, (the “GTI Agreement”), with the Gas Technology Institute, (“GTI”), replacing the Amended and Restated License Agreement between us and GTI dated August 31, 2006, as amended. Under the GTI Agreement, we maintain our exclusive worldwide right to license the U-GAS® technology for all types of coals and coal/biomass mixtures with coal content exceeding 60%, as well as the non-exclusive right to license the U-GAS® technology for 100% biomass and coal/biomass blends exceeding 40% biomass.

 

In order to sublicense any U-GAS® system, we are required to comply with certain requirements set forth in the GTI Agreement. In the preliminary stage of developing a potential sublicense, we are required to provide notice and certain information regarding the potential sublicense to GTI and GTI is required to provide notice of approval or non-approval within ten business days of the date of the notice from us, provided that GTI is required to not unreasonably withhold their approval. If GTI does not respond within the ten-business day period, they are deemed to have approved of the sublicense. We are required to provide updates on any potential sublicenses once every three months during the term of the GTI Agreement. We are also restricted from offering a competing gasification technology during the term of the GTI Agreement.

 

For each U-GAS® unit which we license, design, build or operate for ourselves or for a party other than a sub-licensee and which uses coal or a coal and biomass mixture or biomass as the feedstock, we must pay a royalty based upon a calculation using the MMBtu per hour of dry syngas production of a rated design capacity, payable in installments at the beginning and at the completion of the construction of a project, or the Standard Royalty. If we invest, or have the option to invest, in a specified percentage of the equity of a third party, and the royalty payable by such third party for their sublicense exceeds the Standard Royalty, we are required to pay to GTI an agreed percentage split of third party licensing fees, or the Agreed Percentage, of such royalty payable by such third party. However, if the royalty payable by such third party for their sublicense is less than the Standard Royalty, we are required to pay to GTI, in addition to the Agreed Percentage of such royalty payable by such third party, the Agreed Percentage of our dividends and liquidation proceeds from our equity investment in the third party. In addition, if we receive a carried interest in a third party, and the carried interest is less than a specified percentage of the equity of such third party, we are required to pay to GTI, in our sole discretion, either (i) the Standard Royalty or (ii) the Agreed Percentage of the royalty payable to such third party for their sublicense, as well as the Agreed Percentage of the carried interest. We will be required to pay the Standard Royalty to GTI if the percentage of the equity of a third party that we (a) invest in, (b) have an option to invest in, or (c) receive a carried interest in, exceeds the percentage of the third party specified in the preceding sentence.

 

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We are required to make an annual payment to GTI for each year of the term, with such annual payment due by the last day of January of the following year; provided, however, that we are entitled to deduct all royalties paid to GTI in a given year under the GTI Agreement from this amount, and if such royalties exceed the annual payment amount in a given year, we are not required to make the annual payment. We must also provide GTI with a copy of each contract that we enter into relating to a U-GAS® system and report to GTI with our progress on development of the technology every six months.

 

For a period of ten years, beginning in May 2016, we and GTI are restricted from disclosing any confidential information (as defined in the GTI Agreement) to any person other than employees of affiliates or contractors who are required to deal with such information, and such persons will be bound by the confidentiality provisions of the GTI Agreement. We have further indemnified GTI and its affiliates from any liability or loss resulting from unauthorized disclosure or use of any confidential information that we receive.

 

We continue to innovate and modify the SGT process to a point where we maintain certain intellectual property rights over SGT. Since the original licensing in 2004, we have maintained a strong relationship with GTI and continue to benefit from the resources and collaborative work environment that GTI provides us. In relation to the Merger with AFE, AFE and GTI have agreed upon new terms which, subject to a definitive agreement being completed prior to the Merger closing, would replace the current GTI Agreement.

 

Relationships with Strategic Partners and Business Verticals

 

We have focused on completing the evaluation of financing options, strategic alternatives and restructuring efforts and we determined that we do not have the financial or human resources to actively support our strategic partners and business verticals. However, we have worked to maintain the availability, to the extent practical, of these strategic partnerships and business verticals for the Company upon successful completion of a merger or restructuring. Also, we have continued to (i) monitor, support and facilitate our minority ownership interest in BFR in order to realize the financial value through dividend income or other means and (ii) worked to recover cash and monetize our joint venture operations, Yima and TSEC Joint Ventures.

 

Current Projects

 

Australian Future Energy Pty Ltd

 

In February 2014, we established AFE together with an Australian company, Ambre Investments PTY Limited (“Ambre”). AFE is an independently managed Australian business platform established for the purpose of building a large-scale, vertically integrated business in Australia based on developing, building and owning equity interests in financially attractive and environmentally responsible projects that produce low cost syngas as a competitive alternative to expensive local natural gas and LNG.

 

On June 9, 2015, we entered into a Master Technology Agreement (the “MTA”) with AFE which was later revised on May 10, 2017 (as described below). Pursuant to the MTA, we have conveyed certain exclusive access rights to our gasification technology in Australia focusing on promotion and use of our technology in projects. AFE is the exclusive operational entity for business relating to our technology in Australia and AFE owns no rights to sub-license our technology. AFE will work with us on project license agreements for use of our technology as projects are developed in Australia. In return for its work, AFE will receive a share of any license fee we receive for project licenses in Australia.

 

On May 10, 2017, we entered into a project technology license agreement with AFE in connection with a project being developed by AFE in Queensland Australia. AFE intends to form a subsidiary project company and assign the project technology license agreement to that company which will assume all of the obligations of AFE thereunder. Pursuant to the project technology license agreement, we granted a non-exclusive, license to use our technology at the project to manufacture syngas and to use our technology in the design of the facility. In consideration, the project technology license agreement calls for a license fee to be finalized based on the designed plant capacity and a separate fee of $2.0 million for the delivery of a process design package. The license agreement calls for license fees to be paid as project milestones are reached throughout the planning, construction and first five years of plant operations. The success and timing of the project being developed by AFE will affect if and/or when we will be able to receive all of the payments related to this license agreement. However, there can be no assurance that AFE will be successful in developing this or any other project.

 

In October 2016, AFE completed the creation and spin-off of BFR(as discussed below) as a separate standalone company which acquired and operates the Callide thermal coal mine in Queensland.

 

In August 2017, AFE completed the acquisition of a mine development lease related to the 266-million-ton resource near Pentland, Queensland through AFE’s wholly owned subsidiary, Great Northern Energy Pty Ltd (“GNE”).

 

In July 2018, we entered into a loan agreement (the “Loan Agreement”) with AFE to provide short-term funding in order to enable AFE to continue to progress its project related initiatives for the betterment of AFE shareholders and the successful promotion of their projects in the amount of 350,000 Australian Dollars, approximately $260,000. The Loan Agreement had a term of three months, subject to certain events, and an interest rate of 6%. AFE repaid the outstanding principal amount under the Loan Agreement plus interest in August 2018.

 

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In September 2018, AFE’s Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project (“Gladstone Project”) was formally announced in Queensland Parliament by Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Innovation and Planning, Mr. Cameron Dick and was declared by the Queensland Co-Ordinator General as a Co-Ordinated Project. A coordinated project approach also means that all the potential impacts and benefits of the project are considered in an integrated and comprehensive manner and the Coordinator-General’s decision to declare this project a Coordinated Project is expected to help streamline approvals and fast-track delivery of the project.

 

The project will be located in the State Development Area in Gladstone, Queensland and is planned to process 1.5 million mtpa of low-quality coal using SGT, to produce up to 330,000 mtpa of ammonia product, and up to 8 petajoules of pipeline quality gas for the east coast domestic gas market. In addition, the proposed project will generate approximately 90 MW of electrical power, with approximately 25 MW of this being available for export to the local domestic grid. The ammonia and gas produced is to be used by major industrial users, including those focusing on agriculture, the mining industry and advanced manufacturing. The project is estimated by AFE to commence construction by early 2021, with the first ammonia production proposed in early 2023.

 

On April 4, 2019, we entered into a Technology Purchase Option Agreement (the “Option Agreement”) with AFE providing AFE with an exclusive option through July 31, 2019 to purchase 100% ownership of Synthesis Energy Systems Technology, LLC, our wholly-owned subsidiary which owns our interest in the SGT. In addition, ownership rights to SGT were to be carved out of the transaction and retained by us for China and we have a three-year option period post-closing to monetize SGT for India, Brazil, Poland and for the DRI technology market segment. On July 31, 2019, we entered into an Amendment to the Option Agreement with AFE extending the exclusive option provided in the Option Agreement through August 31, 2019. On August 31, 2019, we mutually agreed with AFE to allow the Option Agreement to terminate pursuant to its terms and no penalties or payments were due as a result of the termination of the agreement.

 

AFE issued one million shares to us in connection with the execution of the Option Agreement. AFE would also pay (i) an additional $2.0 million in three equal installments, with the first installment paid at closing and the remainder over the subsequent twelve months, and (ii) $3.8 million on the earlier of the closing of a construction financing by AFE or five years from closing. The closing of the transaction was subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements and other conditions specified in the Option Agreement. In addition to the payment schedule above, AFE issued an additional one million shares with the execution of the Option Agreement and would also pay an additional $100,000 with the first installment paid at closing as full and final settlement of outstanding invoices owing AFE to us at the date of this Option Agreement. As a result of the termination, we retained the two million shares AFE issued in connection with the Option Agreement. We accounted for the first million shares as an additional investment in AFE and a reduction of the receivable amounts due from AFE with a fair value of $100,000. The second million shares were accounted for as an additional investment in AFE and a deferred liability in the amount of $70,000 as a down payment on the purchase of our subsidiary.

 

For our ownership interest in AFE, we have been contributing cash and engineering support for AFE’s business development while Ambre contributed cash and services. Additional ownership in AFE has been granted to the AFE management team and staff individuals providing services to AFE. In August 2017 and March 2018, we elected to make additional contributions of $0.47 million and $0.16 million respectively to assist AFE with developing its business in Australia. In April 2019, we were issued two million shares in connection with the Option Agreement and its subsequent termination.

 

See “Proposed Merger with AFE” for a discussion of the Merger with AFE.

 

Batchfire Resources Pty Ltd

 

As a result of AFE’s early stage business development efforts associated with the Callide thermal coal mine in Central Queensland, Australia, AFE created BFR. BFR was a spin-off company for which ownership interest was distributed to the existing shareholders of AFE and to the new BFR management team in December 2015. BFR is registered in Australia and was formed for the purpose of purchasing the Callide thermal coal mine from Anglo-American plc (“Anglo-American”). The Callide mine is one of the largest thermal coal mines in Australia and has been in operation for more than 40 years.

 

In October 2016, BFR stated that it had received investment support for the acquisition from Singapore-based Lindenfels Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of commodity traders Avra Commodities, and as a result, the acquisition of the Callide thermal coal mine from Anglo-American was completed.

 

In January 2018, the Minister of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy approved BFR’s mining lease application through to 2043 for Callide’s Boundary Hill South Project. The Callide mining tenure extends across 180 square kilometers and contains an estimated coal resource of up to 1.7 billion metric tons and saleable coal production averages 10 million metric tons per year. BFR is implementing its mining plan at Callide intended to lower the per unit mining costs and deliver profitable financial results.

 

8

 

 

On April 29, 2019, BFR issued additional shares as part of a rights offering. We did not execute our rights in this offering and therefore after the completion of the offering process and the issuance of the additional shares, our ownership interest has been diluted from approximately 11% to approximately 7%.

 

In connection with the entry into the Merger Agreement, we entered into Share Exchange Agreements (each, a “Share Exchange Agreement”) with certain of the shareholders of BFR, whereby such shareholders will exchange their shares of BFR for shares of common stock at a ratio of 10 BFR shares for one share of common stock. As a result of these exchanges, we would own 25% of the outstanding shares of BFR. The closing of the exchange is subject to certain conditions specified in the Share Exchange Agreements, including, without limitation, the consummation of the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement. In addition, we are making an offer to the remaining shareholders of BFR such that we would acquire 100% of the shares if the offers are all accepted.

 

Cape River Resources Pty Ltd

 

In October 2018, AFE formed a separate unrelated company, Cape River Resources Pty Ltd (“CRR”) for the purpose of developing the Pentland resource into an operating thermal coal mine. Ownership in CRR was distributed proportionately to the shareholders of AFE with additional shares issued to the management team. Our ownership in CRR was approximately 38% upon the formation of CRR through our ownership interest in AFE. GNE sold its 100% ownership interest in the Pentland Coal Mine to CRR.

 

In September 2019, AFE repurchased all of the shares in CRR in exchange for AFE shares. The CRR shareholders received one share of AFE for every ten shares of CRR. As a result of the transaction, CRR is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AFE. CRR owns the Pentland Coal Resource which is a 266 million metric tonne thermal coal resource located approximately 230 kms southwest of Townsville in Queensland, Australia. The project is well located with good access to rail, road and mains power. The project is not being actively pursued at present due to funding restraints and the focus of AFE on the Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project. Following the completion of the proposed Merger, it is intended to devote additional funding and resources to this project.

 

Townsville Metals Infrastructure Pty Ltd

 

In August 2018, AFE formed a separate unrelated company, Townsville Metals Infrastructure Pty Ltd (“TMI”) for the purpose of completing the development of the required infrastructure such as rail and port modifications related to the transport of mined products including coal from the Pentland resource to the Townsville port. Ownership in TMI was distributed proportionately to the shareholders of AFE. Our ownership in TMI is approximately 38% upon the formation of TMI through our ownership interest in AFE.

 

SES EnCoal Energy sp. z o.o

 

In October 2017, we entered into agreements with Warsaw-based EnInvestments sp. z o.o. Under the terms of the agreements, we and EnInvestments are equal shareholders of SEE and SEE will exclusively market, develop, and commercialize projects in Poland which utilize our technology, services, and proprietary equipment and we share with SEE a portion of the technology license payments, net of fees, we receive from Poland. The goal of SEE is to establish efficient clean energy projects that provide Polish industries superior economic benefits as compared to the use of expensive, imported natural gas and LNG, while providing energy independence through our technological capabilities to convert the wide range of Poland’s indigenous coals, coal waste, biomass and municipal waste to valuable syngas products. SEE has developed a pipeline of projects and together with us is actively working with Polish customers and partners to complete necessary project feasibility, permitting, and SGT agreement steps required prior to starting construction on the projects.

 

Tauron Wytwarzanie S.A., (“Tauron”), has contracted Poland’s Institute of Coal Chemistry (“IChPW”) to complete a detailed preliminary design assessment and economic study for the conversion of its 200MW conventional power boilers to clean syngas which would be Poland’s first SGT facility. The project feasibility study concluded in March 2018 with positive results. The results presented by IChPW to Tauron have shown that the conversion of Tauron’s 200 MW power boiler utilizing SGT can be both economically attractive and environmentally beneficial. We believe that SGT power boiler conversions are an ideal solution capable of meeting EU and IED targets.

 

For our ownership interest in SEE, we have been contributing cash and assisting in the development of SEE. SEE was initially funded in January 2018 with a cash contribution of approximately $6,000 and an additional funding in March 2018 of approximately $76,000. In August 2018, we made an additional cash contribution of approximately $11,000.

 

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Midrex Technologies

 

In July 2015, we entered into a Project Alliance Agreement that expands our exclusive relationship with Midrex Technologies for integration and optimization of DRI technology using coal gasification. Midrex has taken the lead in marketing, sales, proposal development, and project execution for coal gasification DRI projects as part of the new project alliance. Midrex may also lead the construction of the fully integrated solution for customers who desire such an execution strategy. We will provide the DRI gasification technology for each project including engineering, key equipment, and technical services. The agreement includes finalization of an engineering package for the optimized coal gasification DRI solution. Prior to the Project Alliance Agreement, we also entered into an exclusive agreement with the TSEC Joint Venture and Midrex for the joint marketing of coal gasification-based DRI facilities in China. These facilities will combine our gasification technology with the Direct Reduction Process of Midrex to create syngas from low quality coals in order to convert iron ore into high-purity DRI. The TSEC Joint Venture will aid in the marketing of these DRI facilities in China and will supply the gasification equipment and licensing of the technology.

 

Yima Joint Venture

 

In August 2009, we entered into joint venture contracts and related agreements with Yima Coal Industry Group Company (“Yima”), replacing the prior joint venture contracts entered in October 2008 and April 2009. The joint ventures were formed for each of the gasification, methanol/methanol protein production, and utility island components of the plant (collectively the “Yima Joint Venture”). The joint venture contracts provided that we and Yima contribute equity of 25% and 75%, respectively, to the Yima Joint Venture. The remaining capital for the project construction has been funded with project debt obtained by the Yima Joint Venture. Yima agreed to guarantee the project debt in order to secure debt financing from domestic Chinese banking sources. We agreed to pledge to Yima our ownership interests in the joint ventures as security for our obligations. In the event that the necessary additional debt financing is not obtained, Yima agreed to provide a loan to the joint venture to satisfy the remaining capital needs of the project with terms comparable to current market rates at the time of the loan. Yima also agreed to provide coal to the project at preferential pricing under a side-letter agreement related to the JV contracts. Despite our efforts, to date, Yima has not provided coal at preferential price to the project and we do not believe Yima will do so in the future.

 

The term of the joint venture commenced June 9, 2009 at the time each joint venture company obtained its business operating license and shall end 30 years after the business license issue date, June 8, 2039. As discussed below, in November 2016, as part of an overall corporate restructuring plan, these joint ventures were combined into a single joint venture.

 

We continue to own a 25% interest in the Yima Joint Venture and Yima owns a 75% interest. Notwithstanding this, in connection with an expansion of the project, we have the option to contribute a greater percentage of capital for the expansion, such that as a result, we could expand through contributions, at our election, up to a 49% ownership interest in the Yima Joint Venture.

 

In 2016, the plant faced increasing regulatory scrutiny from the environmental and safety bureaus as the plant was not built in full compliance with its original submitted designs. In June 2016, the local environmental bureau requested that the plant temporarily halt operations to address certain issues identified by the environmental bureau. These issues affected the joint venture’s ability to receive its final operating and safety permits and were related to the original approval for methanol protein production and the original three JV business structure. This has been addressed and fully resolved and the three joints ventures were combined into one in November 2016. The Yima Joint Venture returned to operations in late November 2016 and in November 2017, the Yima Joint Venture completed the required safety testing and successfully received its safety production permit from the Henan government and it subsequently received the Industry Products License in May 2018, allowing for its products to be sold on the open market and an updated business license was successfully obtained in January 2018.

 

Since the plant restored operations in November 2016, it has had periods of running at full design capacity and periods of operations at lower levels of production. The primary operational issues have been related to operational errors, equipment quality that has caused increased downtime and the failure to secure coal supply. The plant experienced its first 90-day period in which it operated at full capacity ending in August 2017. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the plant produced 284,642 tons of pure methanol, its best fiscal year performance to date besting the plant production of 185,761 tons of pure methanol for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018. We continue to see signs of overall improvement in operations, resulting in longer periods of production at design capacity. In May 2019, the plant was idled to perform its annual maintenance. Due to lack of funds and a decrease in the price of methanol the maintenance program was delayed. The plant remained idled from May 2019 until November 2019.

 

In December 2017 and January 2018, on-going development cooperation and discussions with the Yima Joint Venture management resulted in the joint venture agreeing to pay various costs incurred by us during the construction and commissioning period of the facility in the amount of approximately 16 million Chinese Renminbi yuan, (“RMB”) (approximately $2.5 million). As of June 30, 2018, we have received 6.15 million RMB (approximately $0.9 million) of payments from the Yima Joint Venture related to these costs. Due to uncertainty, revenues will be recorded upon receipt of payment. Despite our continuous collection efforts, we have not received any additional payments for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.

 

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Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited

 

Joint Venture Contract

 

In February 2014, SES Asia Technologies Limited, one of our wholly owned subsidiaries, entered into a Joint Venture Contract (the “JV Contract”) with Zhangjiagang Chemical Machinery Co., Ltd., which subsequently changed its legal name to Suzhou Thvow Technology Co. Ltd. (“STT”), to form the TSEC Joint Venture. The purpose of the TSEC Joint Venture is to establish SGT as the leading gasification technology in the TSEC Joint Venture territory (which is China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mongolia and Malaysia) by becoming a leading provider of proprietary equipment and engineering services for SGT. The scope of the TSEC Joint Venture is to market and license SGT via project sublicenses, procurement and sale of proprietary equipment and services, coal testing, engineering, procurement and research and development related to SGT. STT contributed 53.8 million RMB (approximately $8.0 million) in April 2014 and was required to contribute an additional 46.2 million RMB (approximately $6.8 million) within two years of such date for a total contribution of 100 million RMB (approximately $14.8 million) in cash to the TSEC Joint Venture in return for a 65% ownership interest in the TSEC Joint Venture. The second capital contribution from STT of 46.2 million RMB (approximately $6.8 million) was not paid by STT in April 2016 as required by the initial JV Contract. As part of a restructuring of the agreement described below, the obligation for payment of additional registered capital was removed.

 

We contributed certain exclusive technology sub-licensing rights into the TSEC Joint Venture for the territory pursuant to the terms of a Technology Usage and Contribution Agreement (the “TUCA”) entered into among the TSEC Joint Venture, STT and us on the same date and further described in more detail below. This resulted in our original ownership of 35% of the TSEC Joint Venture. Under the JV Contract, neither party may transfer their interests in the TSEC Joint Venture without first offering such interests to the other party.

 

In August 2017, we entered into a restructuring agreement of the TSEC Joint Venture (“Restructuring Agreement”). The agreed change in share ownership, reduction in the registered capital of the joint venture, and the final transfer of shares with local government authorities was completed in December 2017. In this restructuring, an additional party was added to the JV Contract, upon receipt of final government approvals, The Innovative Coal Chemical Design Institute (“ICCDI”) became a 25% owner of the TSEC Joint Venture, we decreased our ownership to 25% and STT decreased its ownership to 50%. ICCDI previously served as general contractor and engineered and constructed all three projects which utilize SGT in seven gasification systems for the Aluminum Corporation of China. Equipment orders related to these projects were secured by our joint venture partner, STT. The projects are located in the provinces of Shandong, Henan, and Shanxi, have been completed and are currently operating for the Aluminum Corporation of China.

 

We received 11.15 million RMB (approximately $1.7 million) from ICCDI as a result of this restructuring. In conjunction with the joint venture restructuring, we also received 1.2 million RMB (approximately $180,000) related to outstanding invoices for services we had provided to the TSEC Joint Venture. The inclusion of ICCDI as an owner has the potential to enhance the joint venture’s bidding ability and we believe the joint venture will focus on securing larger coal to chemical projects as well as continue to pursue projects in the industrial fuels segment.

 

In addition to the ownership changes described above, the TSEC Joint Venture is now managed by a board of directors (the “Board”) consisting of eight directors, four appointed by STT, two appointed by ICCDI and two appointed by us. All significant acts as described in the JV Contract require the unanimous approval of the Board.

 

The JV Contract also includes a non-competition provision which requires that the TSEC Joint Venture be the exclusive legal entity within the TSEC Joint Venture territory for the marketing and sale of any gasification technology or related equipment that utilizes low quality coal feedstock. Notwithstanding this, STT retained the right to manufacture and sell gasification equipment outside the scope of the TSEC Joint Venture within the TSEC Joint Venture territory. In addition, we retained the right to develop and invest equity in projects outside of the TSEC Joint Venture within the TSEC Joint Venture territory. As a result of the Restructuring Agreement, we have further retained the right to provide SGT licenses and to sell proprietary equipment directly into projects in the TSEC Joint Venture territory provided we have an equity interest in the project. After the termination of the TSEC Joint Venture, STT and ICCDI must obtain written consent from us to market development of any gasification technology that utilizes low quality coal feedstock in the TSEC Joint Venture territory.

 

The JV Contract may be terminated upon, among other things: (i) a material breach of the JV Contract which is not cured; (ii) a violation of the TUCA; (iii) the failure to obtain positive net income within 24 months of establishing the TSEC Joint Venture or (iv) mutual agreement of the parties.

 

TUCA

 

Pursuant to the TUCA, we have contributed to the TSEC Joint Venture certain exclusive rights to our SGT in the TSEC Joint Venture territory, including the right to: (i) grant site specific project sub-licenses to third parties; (ii) use our marks for proprietary equipment and services; (iii) engineer and/or design processes that utilize our SGT or our other intellectual property; (iv) provide engineering and design services for joint venture projects and (v) take over the development of projects in the TSEC Joint Venture territory that have previously been developed by us and our affiliates. As a result of the Restructuring Agreement, ICCDI was added as a party to the TUCA, but all other material terms remained the same.

 

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The TSEC Joint Venture will be the exclusive operational entity for business relating to SGT in the TSEC Joint Venture territory, except for projects in which we have an equity ownership position. For these projects, as a result of the Restructuring Agreement, we can provide technology and equipment directly, with no obligation to the joint venture. If the TSEC Joint Venture loses exclusivity due to a breach by us, STT and ICCDI are to be compensated for direct losses and all lost project profits. We were also required to provide training for technical personnel of the TSEC Joint Venture through the second anniversary of the establishment of the TSEC Joint Venture, which has now passed. We will also provide a review of engineering works for the TSEC Joint Venture. If modifications are suggested by us and not made, the TSEC Joint Venture bears the liability resulting from such failure. If we suggest modifications and there is still liability resulting from the engineering work, it is our liability.

 

Any party making improvements, whether patentable or not, relating to SGT after the establishment of the TSEC Joint Venture, grants to the other party an irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty free right to use or license such improvements and agrees to make such improvements available to us free of charge. All such improvements shall become part of SGT and all parties shall have the same rights, licenses and obligations with respect to the improvement as contemplated by the TUCA.

 

Any breach of or default under the TUCA which is not cured on notice entitles the non-breaching party to terminate. The TSEC Joint Venture indemnifies us for misuse of SGT or infringement of SGT upon rights of any third party.

 

Business Development, Engineering and Project Management

 

Management and Business Development Staff

 

We currently employ a staff of three employees and access to several contractors in addition to the Board of Directors, the President and Chief Executive Officer and the Corporate Controller. In addition, we utilize consultants and our relationships with our strategic partners to further supplement our staff in developing relationships with potential customers, engineering and project management.

 

Business Concentration

 

Our assets related to the corporate office and the technology accounted for approximately 93% of our total assets as of June 30, 2019. While all of the operating plants using our technology are located in China, we are primarily focused on restructuring the Company through the Merger Agreement and emphasizing opportunities outside of China, primarily in Australia.

 

Suppliers

 

In China, through our strategic relationships, we have been successful in locating and contracting with a number of key suppliers of major equipment and services. For projects outside of China, we would plan to continue to leverage our strong ties and partnerships in China to provide low cost equipment and engineering into our projects. In locations where local sourcing is of value, we expect to be able to develop supply chain capabilities for our equipment utilizing experienced industrial manufacturing capabilities and low-cost sources of labor and materials that will benefit our technology if and/or when necessary.

 

Patents

 

We currently hold multiple U.S. and international patents and a number of pending patent applications, primarily relating to new technology developments that we have made to the U-GAS® technology, known as SGT. This includes our gasification process, the integration of our gasification process with downstream uses and the equipment design for our gasification facilities. Although in the aggregate our patents are important to us, we do not regard any individual patent as critical or essential to our business.

 

Prior to us entering into the GTI Agreement, U-GAS® had not been commercially deployed on coal above approximately 150 tons per day per gasification system nor had it been commercially deployed on coal using pure oxygen as a reactant or at elevated pressures. Today, we have commercially deployed SGT at a scale of 1,200 tons per day of coal feed using pure oxygen as a reactant and at pressures of up to 10 bar. Our new designs allow for quoting gasification systems to customers that would increase our gasification capacity to approximately 3,000 tons per day of coal using pure oxygen as a reactant at pressures up to 55 bar. We have made improvements to the U-GAS technology which have either been patented, are in the process of patenting, or are held by us as trade secrets.

 

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Project and Technical Development

 

We have in the past incurred internal and third-party project and technical development costs related to the advancement of our gasification technology and related processes. We no longer plan to continue the technical development initiatives to support project development activities.

 

Environmental Regulation

 

Our operations are subject to stringent national, provincial state and local laws and regulations governing the discharge of materials into the environment or otherwise relating to environmental protection. Numerous governmental agencies, including various Chinese and Australian authorities, issue regulations to implement and enforce such laws, which often require difficult and costly compliance measures that carry substantial administrative, civil and criminal penalties or may result in injunctive relief for failure to comply. These laws and regulations may require the acquisition of a permit before construction or operation at a facility commences, restrict the types, quantities and concentrations of various substances that can be released into the environment in connection with such activities, limit or prohibit construction activities on certain lands lying within wilderness, wetlands, ecologically sensitive and other protected areas, and impose substantial liabilities for pollution.

 

Our facilities may require permits for or be constrained by permit conditions in relation to acceptable air emissions and wastewater discharges, as well as other authorizations, some of which must be issued before construction commences. Issuance of these permits could be subject to unpredictable delays, contests and even, in some cases, denial or refusal. Although we believe that there will be support for our projects, the permitting process could be complex and time consuming and the issuance of permits may be subject to the potential for contest and other regulatory uncertainties that may result in unpredictable delays. We are in substantial compliance with current applicable environmental laws and regulations and have not experienced any material adverse effect from compliance with these environmental requirements.

 

In addition, some recent scientific studies have suggested that emissions of certain gases, commonly referred to as “greenhouse gases,” may be contributing to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. In response to such studies, many countries are actively considering legislation, or have already taken legal measures, to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Examples of such legislation and new legal measures include new environmental laws and regulations that could impose a carbon tax, a cap and trade program requiring us to purchase carbon credits, or measures that would require reductions in emissions or require modification of raw materials, fuel use or production rates. In China, the Environmental Protection Tax Law entered into force on January 1, 2018, pursuant to which enterprises that directly discharge taxable pollutants within the territory of China and maritime space under its justification shall pay environmental protection tax. This legislation includes two appendices, one of which provides for the tax rate of different pollutants and the other lists taxable pollutants and pollution equivalent. According to this legislation, the environmental protection tax has replaced the pollutant discharge fee since January 1, 2018.

 

Carbon dioxide (CO2), a byproduct of burning fossil fuels such as coal, is an example of a greenhouse gas. Regardless of technology used in gasification facilities, there is carbon dioxide released whenever the syngas is cleaned and prepared for energy or chemicals production. We believe that gasification is currently the most desirable technology for processing coal if CO2 emissions become regulated. This is because gasification and the adjacent syngas cleaning technologies separate the CO2 produced from the final products and thereby create a rich CO2 stream that can be captured, sequestered and/or sold. However, greenhouse gas regulations can add production and capital cost to all fossil fuel technologies and may require us or our customers to obtain additional permits, meet additional control requirements, install additional environmental mitigation equipment, or take other as yet unknown steps to comply with such potential regulations, which could adversely affect our financial performance.

 

In 2013, the U.S. and a number of international development banks, including the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, announced that they would no longer provide financing for the development of new coal-fueled power plants or would do so only in narrowly defined circumstances. Other international development banks, such as the Asian Development Bank and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, have continued to provide such financing.

 

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in December 1997 by the signatories to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), established a binding set of greenhouse gas emission targets for developed nations. The U.S. signed the Kyoto Protocol, but it has never been ratified by the U.S. Senate. Australia ratified the Kyoto Protocol in December 2007 and became a full member in March 2008. There were discussions to develop a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol after the expiration of its commitment period in 2012, including at the UNFCCC conferences in Copenhagen (2009), Cancun (2010), Durban (2011), Doha (2012) and Paris (2015). At the Durban conference, an ad hoc working group was established to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC, applicable to all parties. At the Doha meeting, an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, which included new commitments for certain parties in a second commitment period, from 2013 to 2020. In December 2012, Australia signed on to the second commitment period. During the UNFCCC conference in Paris, France in late 2015, an agreement was adopted calling for voluntary emissions reductions contributions after the second commitment period ends in 2020. The agreement was entered into force on November 4, 2016 after ratification and execution by more than 55 countries that account for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Both Australia and the United States ratified the agreement. On August 4, 2017 the United States formally signaled its intention to withdraw from the agreement (although it has not yet withdrawn).

 

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Enactment of laws or passage of regulations regarding emissions from the combustion of coal by the U.S., some of its states or other countries, or other actions to limit such emissions, could result in electricity generators switching from coal to other fuel sources. Further, policies limiting available financing for the development of new coal-fueled power stations could adversely impact the global demand for coal in the future. The potential financial impact on us of future laws, regulations or other policies will depend upon the degree to which any such laws or regulations force electricity generators to diminish their reliance on coal as a fuel source. That, in turn, will depend on a number of factors, including the specific requirements imposed by any such laws, regulations or other policies, the time periods over which those laws, regulations or other policies would be phased in, the state of commercial development and deployment of CCUS technologies and the alternative uses for coal. From time to time, we attempt to analyze the potential impact on the Company of as-yet-unadopted, potential laws, regulations and policies. Such analysis require that we make significant assumptions as to the specific provisions of such potential laws, regulations and policies. These analyses sometimes show that certain potential laws, regulations and policies, if implemented in the manner assumed by the analyses, could result in material adverse impacts on our operations, financial condition or cash flow, in view of the significant uncertainty surrounding each of these potential laws, regulations and policies. We do not believe that such analyses reasonably predict the quantitative impact that future laws, regulations or other policies may have on our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows.

 

Australian Regulatory Matters

 

Native Title and Cultural Heritage. Since 1992, the Australian courts have recognized that native title to lands, as recognized under the laws and customs of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia, may have survived the process of European settlement. These developments are supported by Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) which recognizes and protects native title, and under which a national register of native title claims and determinations has been established. Native title rights do not extend to minerals; however, native title rights can be affected by the mining process unless those rights have previously been extinguished thereby requiring negotiation with the registered native title claimants or determined native title holders (as applicable) (and potentially the payment of compensation) prior to the grant of certain mining tenements. There is also federal and state legislation to prevent damage to and manage Aboriginal cultural heritage and archaeological sites.

 

Mining Tenements and Environmental. In Queensland and New South Wales, the development of a mine requires both the grant of a right to extract the resource and an approval which authorizes the environmental impact. These approvals are obtained under separate legislation from separate government authorities. The application processes can run concurrently and are also concurrent with any native title or cultural heritage process that is required. The environmental impacts of mining projects are regulated by state and federal governments. Federal regulation will only apply if the particular project will, or is likely to, significantly impact a matter of national environmental significance (for example, a water resource, an endangered species or particular protected places). Environmental approvals processes involve complex issues that, on occasion, require lengthy studies and documentation. Typically mining proponents must also reach agreement with the owners of land underlying proposed mining tenements prior to the grant and/or conduct of mining activities or otherwise acquire the land. These arrangements generally involve the payment of compensation in lieu of the impacts of mining on the land.

 

Australian mining operations are generally subject to local, state and federal laws and regulations. At the federal level, these legislative acts include, but are not limited to, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cth). Foreign investors into Australia may also require approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board.

 

In Queensland, laws and regulations related to mining include, but are not limited to, the Mineral Resources Act 1989 (Qld), Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Act 2014 (Qld) (MERCP Act), Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) (EP Act), Environmental Protection Regulation 2019 (Qld), potentially the Planning Act 2016 (Qld), Building Act 1975 (Qld), Explosives Act 1999 (Qld), Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld), Native Title (Queensland) Act 1993 (Qld), Water Act 2000 (Qld), State Development and Public Works Organization Act 1971 (Qld), Queensland Heritage Act 1992 (Qld), Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 (Qld), Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld), Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld), Land Act 1994 (Qld), Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (Qld), Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld) and the Forestry Act 1959 (Qld). Under the EP Act, policies have been developed to achieve the objectives of the law and provide guidance on specific areas of the environment, including air, noise, water and waste management. Increased emphasis has recently been placed on topics including, but not limited to, hazardous dams assessment, the assessment and provision of financial assurance and undertaking rehabilitation of mining activities. On April 1, 2019, amendments to the EP Act (by way of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Act 2018 (Qld) (MERFP Act)) took effect to implement a new risk-based framework and new financial provisioning requirements in the undertaking resource activities in Queensland. The financial provisioning scheme now in place features a pooled scheme fund and expanded surety and security options operated by an appointed Scheme Manager. On November 1, 2019, further amendments to the EP Act by way of the MERFP Act commenced, which requires on a transitional basis, all holders of an environmental authority for site-specific mining activities to prepare a “progressive rehabilitation and closure plan”(PRCP) which details how and where activities will be carried out on the land in a way that maximizes the progressive rehabilitation of the land to a stable condition. The PRCP must be approved by the administering authority and include a PRCP Schedule (that identifies post-mining land uses, any non-use management areas, milestones and conditions) which must be complied with. Further EP Act reforms are expected during 2020 in relation to residual risk issues.

 

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The MERCP Act commenced on September 27, 2016 and included significant reforms to the management of overlapping coal and coal seam gas tenements and the coordination of activities and access to private and public land. In November 2016, amendments to the EP Act and the Water Act 2000 (Qld) became effective and facilitate regulatory scrutiny of the environmental impacts of underground water extraction during the operational phase of resource projects for all tenements yet to commence mineral extraction. The ‘Chain of Responsibility’ provisions of the EP Act, effective in April 2016, allow the regulator to issue an environmental protection order (EPO) to a related person of a company in two circumstances; (a) if an EPO has been issued to the company, an EPO can also be issued to a related person of the company (at the same time or later); or (b) if the company is a high risk company (as defined in the EP Act), an EPO can be issued to a related person of the company (whether or not an EPO has also been issued to the company). A guideline has been issued to provide more certainty to industry on the circumstances when an EPO may be issued.

 

In New South Wales, laws and regulations related to mining include, but are not limited to, the Mining Act 1992 (NSW) (Mining Act), Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013 (NSW), Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 1961 (NSW), Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EP&A Act), Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulations 2000 (NSW), Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW), Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (NSW), Explosives Act 2003 (NSW), Water Management Act 2000 (NSW), Water Act 1912 (NSW), Radiation Control Act 1990 (NSW), Heritage Act 1977 (NSW), Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW), Crown Lands Management Act 2016 (NSW), Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act 2008 (NSW), Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Forestry Act 2012 (NSW), Native Title (New South Wales) Act 1994 (NSW), Roads Act 1993 (NSW) and National Parks & Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW). Under the EP&A Act, environmental planning instruments must be considered when approving a mining project development application. There are multiple State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) relevant to coal projects in New South Wales. Amendments to the SEPPs that cover mining have occurred in the past two years and are aimed at protecting agriculture, water resources and critical industry clusters. One SEPP, referred to as the “Mining SEPP”, was amended in late 2013 to make it mandatory for decision makers to consider the economic significance of coal resources when determining a development application for a mine and to give primacy to that consideration. While this amendment was repealed in 2015, decision makers still have regard to the significance of a resource and the State and regional economic benefits of a proposed coal mine when considering a development application on the basis that it is an element of the “public interest” head of consideration contained in the legislation.

 

Mining Rehabilitation (Reclamation). Mine reclamation is regulated by state specific legislation. As a condition of approval for mining operations (and via PRCP and PRCP Schedule in Queensland as each mine is transitioned into this new arrangement over a 3 year period from November 1, 2019), companies are required to progressively rehabilitate mined land and provide security (or in Queensland, appropriate financial provisioning as determined by the Scheme Manager) to the relevant state government as a safeguard to cover the costs of rehabilitation in circumstances where mine operators are unable to do so. Self-bonding is not permitted. BFR has provided security to the relevant authorities which has been calculated in accordance with current regulatory requirements. BFR operate in both the Queensland and New South Wales state jurisdictions.

 

New South Wales reclamation. The Mining Act 1992 (NSW) is administered by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and authorizes the holder of a mining tenement to extract a mineral subject to obtaining consent under the EP&A and other auxiliary approvals and licenses.

 

Through the Mining Act, environmental protection and rehabilitation are regulated by conditions in all mining leases and environmental authorities including requirements for the submission of a Mining Operations Plan (MOP) prior to the commencement of operations. All mining operations must be carried out in accordance with the MOP which describes site activities and the progress toward environmental and rehabilitation outcomes and are updated on a regular basis or if mine plans change. The mines publicly report their reclamation performance on an annual basis.

 

In support of the MOP process, a rehabilitation cost estimate is calculated periodically to determine the amount of bond support required to cover the cost of rehabilitation based on extent of disturbance during the MOP period.

 

Queensland rehabilitation. The EP Act is administered by the Department of Environment and Science which authorizes environmentally relevant activities such as mining activities relating to a mining lease through an Environmental Authority (EA). Environmental protection is regulated by conditions in the EA. The mines submit an annual return reporting on their EA compliance . As a result of changes made to the EP Act which took effect on November 1, 2018 the holder of a site specific EA for a mining activity will now be required to prepare a ‘life of mine’ progressive rehabilitation and closure plan (PRCP) which will be binding in the undertaking of a mining activity and include annual reporting and regular auditing requirements in accordance with an approved PRCP Schedule. A PRCP is to include information detailing how mining activities will be undertaken to maximize progressive rehabilitation of the land to a stable condition. The PRCP Schedule will provide for specific rehabilitation milestones and non-compliance will be an offence.

 

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Where a mine is operating pursuant to EA conditions about rehabilitation and an approved Plan of Operations ( which was previously required to describe site activities and the progress toward environmental and rehabilitation outcomes), those requirements will continue to apply until each mining operation is transitioned into the PRCP framework.

 

On April 1, 2019 changes to the financial provisioning requirements for undertaking a resource activity in Queensland took effect which has amended the way in which financial provisioning is calculated and provided. The new regime considers the risk profile of the EA holder for the resource (including mining) activity and the risk profile of the particular mining project so that security is either provided by way of a contribution to a fund or by other surety as determined by the Scheme Manager. From April 1, 2019 and over a three year period, the Scheme Manager will individually assess all current EAs (in an order as determined by the Scheme Manager) and transition those EAs into the new financial provisioning scheme.

 

Occupational Health and Safety. Broadly, State legislation requires persons conducting a business or undertaking to provide and maintain a safe workplace by providing safe systems of work, safety equipment and appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision. Specific occupational health and safety obligations have been mandated under state legislation to account for the specialized nature of the coal mining industry. The concepts are typically similar to the general occupational health and safety legislation however, there are some differences in the terminology, the application and detail of the laws. The most noteworthy difference being that coal mining safety laws are more prescriptive when compared to general occupational health and safety laws. Further, mining operators, executive officers (including directors and other officers of a corporate entity), employees with statutory appointments (e.g. site senior executives) and all other persons (including coal mine workers and all other persons at a mine) are subject to the obligations under this legislation.

 

A small number of coal mine workers in Queensland and New South Wales have been diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP, also known as black lung) following decades of assumed eradication of the disease. This led to a Parliamentary inquiry into CWP with a report tabled before the Queensland parliament in May 2017. The report made a series of recommendations regarding the detection and monitoring of CWP as well as recommending the relevant legislation better support these initiatives. The report also noted that the government authority (the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy) responsible for regulating CWP (amongst broader occupational health and safety issues pertaining to the resources and mining sector) failed to properly administer the relevant legislation.

 

The Queensland Government released its formal response to the recommendations tabled before Parliament. Following the recommendations, and a consultation process, the Queensland Government made a number of changes to the coal mining legislation, specifically with a view to prevent and monitor issues contributing to CWP. Following the report, the Queensland Government’s initial response was to release a draft Bill establishing a mine health and safety regulatory body that is independent from the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. This Bill has not been passed by Parliament and further amendments to the Bill have been tabled.

 

From March 2019, new legislation has been in force which increases the maximum penalties that may be imposed following a successful prosecution. Following the introduction of the legislation, corporations may now be fined in excess of $AUD 4 million for breaching the coal mining legislation. Similarly, additional duties for contractors and service providers to coal mines have been introduced, as well as a positive obligation imposed on all officers of an entity to ensure that the officer conducts due diligence to assure itself that the entity is complying with its obligations under the legislation.

 

Industrial Relations. A national industrial relations system administered by the federal government applies to all private sector employers and employees. The matters regulated under the national system include employment conditions, unfair dismissal, enterprise bargaining, bullying claims, industrial action and resolution of workplace disputes. Many of the workers employed or to be employed by AFE and BFR are covered by enterprise agreements approved under the national system.

 

Greenhouse Gases. In 2007, a single, national reporting system relating to greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and energy production was introduced. The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (Cth) (NGER Act) imposes requirements for corporations meeting a certain threshold to register and report greenhouse gas emissions and abatement actions, as well as energy production and consumption. The Clean Energy Regulator administers the NGER Act. The Commonwealth Department of Environment is responsible for NGER Act-related policy developments and review. Both foreign and local corporations that meet the prescribed carbon dioxide and energy production or consumption limits in Australia (Controlling Corporations) must comply with the NGER Act.

 

On July 1, 2016, amendments to the NGER Act implemented the Emission Reduction Fund Safeguard Mechanism. From that date, large designated facilities such as coal mines were issued with a baseline for their covered emissions and must take steps to keep their emissions below the baseline, comply with their statutory obligations by some other means (for example, by purchasing and surrendering Australian carbon credit units to offset emissions over the baseline) or face penalties.

 

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Queensland Royalty. As a general rule, royalties are payable to the State of Queensland for extracted coal. Statutory formulas under the Mineral Resources Regulation 2013 (Qld) are used to calculate the royalty rates (expressed as a percentage) for coal sold, disposed of, or used, where the average price per metric ton is either between $100 and $150 Australian dollars, or greater than $150 Australian dollars. The rate is 7% for coal sold, disposed of, or used below $100 Australian dollars per metric ton. The periodic impact of these royalty rates is dependent upon the volume of metric tons produced at Queensland mining locations and coal prices received for those metric tons. The Queensland Office of State Revenue issues determinations setting out its interpretation of the laws that impose royalties and provide guidance on how royalty rates should be calculated.

 

New South Wales Royalty. In New South Wales, the royalty applicable to coal is charged as a percentage of the value of production (total revenue less allowable deductions). This is equal to 6.2% for deep underground mines (coal extracted at depths greater than 400 meters below ground surface), 7.2% for underground mines and 8.2% for open-cut mines.

 

Chinese Foreign Investment and Business Regulations

 

We operate our business in China under a legal regime consisting of the State Council, which is the highest authority of the executive branch of the Chinese central government, and several ministries and agencies under its authority, including the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”), the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”), the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (“SAFE”) and their respective authorized local counterparts.

 

The Chinese government imposes restrictions on the convertibility of the Chinese Renminbi yuan and on the collection and use of foreign currency by Chinese entities. Under current regulations, the Chinese Renminbi yuan is generally convertible for current account transactions, which include dividend distributions, and the import and export of goods and services subject to review and approval by SAFE or its designated foreign exchange bank. However, conversion of Chinese Renminbi yuan into foreign currency and foreign currency into Chinese Renminbi yuan for capital account transactions is under the strict scrutiny of SAFE. According to SAFE Circular [2015] 19 (Circular on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Capital Settlement of Foreign-invested Enterprise) and SAFE Circular [2016] 16 (Circular on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Settlement under the Capital Account), foreign-invested enterprise whose main business is investment may convert foreign currency in a capital account into Chinese Renminbi yuan for equity investment. Other types of foreign-invested enterprises may convert foreign currency in a capital account into Chinese Renminbi yuan for equity investment provided that the enterprise being invested into makes relevant registration with SAFE (or a designated bank) and establishes a settlement payment account.

 

Under current Chinese regulations, foreign-invested enterprises such as our Chinese subsidiaries are required to apply to banks authorized to conduct foreign exchange business by SAFE for a Foreign Exchange Registration Certificate for Foreign-Invested Enterprise. With such registration (which is subject to remaining rights and interests, registration with SAFE), a foreign-invested enterprise may open foreign exchange bank accounts at banks authorized to conduct foreign exchange business by SAFE and may buy, sell and remit foreign exchange through such banks, subject to documentation and approval requirements. Foreign-invested enterprises are required to open and maintain separate foreign exchange accounts for capital account transactions and current account transactions. In addition, there are restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that foreign-invested enterprises may retain in such accounts, except that foreign-invested enterprises may retain foreign exchange income under current account transactions in its sole discretion.

 

Also, at the time of applying for SAFE registration (including any change registration), foreign-invested enterprises that do not constitute round tripping investment enterprises will be required to represent that its foreign shareholder is not directly or indirectly held by any Chinese residents; foreign-invested enterprises that constitute round tripping investment enterprises will be required to disclose the actual controlling person of its foreign shareholder. Any false or misleading representations may result in administrative liabilities imposed on the onshore entities and their legal representatives. If Chinese residents who are beneficial holders of our shares, make, or have previously made, direct or indirect round tripping investments through a SPV which falls within the scope of the registration under the SAFE Circular [2014] 37 (SAFE Circular [2014] 37 Relating to Foreign Exchange Administration of Offshore Investment, Financing and Round tripping Investment by Domestic Residents utilizing Special Purpose Vehicles), the Chinese residents must make foreign exchange registration for their offshore investments, failing which, the Chinese residents may be ordered to return the capital to China and be imposed a fine by SAFE for such misconduct.

 

Failure to comply with the registration procedures, including failure to update its own foreign exchange registration, may result in restrictions on the relevant onshore entity, including restrictions on the payment of dividends and other distributions to its offshore parent or affiliate and restrictions on the capital inflow from the offshore entity, and may also subject relevant Chinese residents to penalties under the Chinese foreign exchange administration regulations. Also, at the time of applying for SAFE registration (including any change registration), the onshore entities that do not constitute round tripping investment enterprises will be required to represents that its foreign shareholder is not directly or indirectly held by any Chinese residents; the onshore entities that constitute round tripping investment enterprises will be required to disclose the actual controlling person of its foreign shareholder. Any false or misleading representations may result in administrative liabilities imposed on the onshore entities and their legal representatives.

 

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Under Chinese regulations, wholly foreign-owned enterprises and Sino-foreign equity joint ventures in China may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations. The foreign invested company may not distribute profits until the losses of the previous fiscal years have been made up. Additionally, the foreign invested company shall make allocations of after-tax profits to a reserve fund and a bonus and welfare fund for their employees. In the case of a Sino-foreign equity joint venture, in addition to the reserve fund and the bonus and welfare fund, the company shall also make allocations to a venture expansion fund. In the case of a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, the amount to be contributed to the reserve fund shall be no less than 10% of the after-tax profits unless the aggregate amount reaches 50% of the registered capital of the company, at which time the company may stop making allocations to the reserve fund. The amount to be contributed to other funds of a wholly foreign-owned enterprise or any of the above funds of a Sino-foreign equity joint venture may be determined by the board of the company in accordance with the applicable laws. Any amounts to be contributed to such funds shall be set aside prior to distribution of after-tax profit.

 

Employees

 

As of June 30, 2019, we had 6 full time employees. None of our employees are represented by any collective bargaining unit. We have not experienced any work stoppages, work slowdowns or other labor unrest. We believe that our relations with our employees are good.

 

Available Information

 

We make available free of charge, or through the “Investor Center – Financials & Filings” section of our website at www.synthesisenergy.com, access to our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is filed, or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Our Code of Business and Ethical Conduct and the charters of our Audit, Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees are also available through the “Investor Center - Corporate Governance” section of our website or in print to any stockholder who requests them.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

Our business is subject to a number of risks which may negatively impact our business interests on a go-forward basis. These risks should be carefully considered prior to, or continuing, investment in our Company. To assist in the understanding of these risks, we have broken down the risks into four main categories all of which could materially impact our financial operations or our financial position:

 

Risks Related to Our Business

 

We will require substantial additional funding, and our failure to raise additional capital necessary to support and expand our operations could reduce our ability to compete and could harm our business.

 

As of June 30, 2019, we had $0.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and $34,000 of working capital.

 

As of January 10, 2020, we had $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. Of the $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, $347,000 resides in the United States or easily accessed foreign countries and approximately $40,000 resides in China.

 

As a result of our efforts evaluating financing and strategic options, on October 10, 2019 we entered into the Merger Agreement with AFE. Currently our focus is on completing the steps required to complete the Merger, which include but are not limited to, (i) completion of all required filings, (ii) curing the NASDAQ listing requirement deficiencies, (iii) completion of the Form S-4 and Proxy related to the merger, (iv) completion of the Batchfire Share Exchange pre-emptive rights process and (v) all other tasks required to complete the Merger.

 

In connection with the entry into the Merger Agreement, we entered into a securities purchase and exchange agreements (each, a “New Purchase Agreements”) with each of the existing holders of our 11% senior secured debentures issued in October 2017 (the “Debentures”), whereby each of the holders agreed to exchange their Debentures and accompanying warrants (the “Debenture Warrants”) for new debentures (the “New Debentures”) and warrants (the “New Warrants”), and certain of the holders agreed to provide $2,000,000 of additional debt financing (the “Interim Financing”). Pursuant to the New Purchase Agreements, we also issued $2,000,000 of 11% senior secured debentures (the “Merger Debentures”) to certain accredited investors, along with warrants to purchase $4,000,000 of shares of common stock, half of which were Series A Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series A Merger Warrants”) and half of which were Series B Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series B Merger Warrants” and, together with the Series A Merger Warrants, the “Merger Warrants”), as part of the Interim Financing. We shall receive the $2,000,000 pursuant to the Merger Debentures according to the following schedule: (i) $1,000,000 on or before October 14, 2019, (ii) $500,000 upon the filing of the proxy statement for stockholder approval of the Merger, and (iii) $500,000 within two business days of stockholder approval of the Merger. The terms of the Merger Debentures are the same as the New Debentures. The Interim Financing is intended to assist us in financing our business through the closing of the Merger.

 

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The $1,000,000 scheduled payment on or before October 14, 2019 was subsequently received less certain legal costs and escrow fees in the amount of $966,000.

 

We can make no assurances that the proposed Merger will be completed on a timely basis or at all. We may also need to raise additional capital through equity and debt financing to complete the Merger or to otherwise strengthen our balance for our corporate general and administrative expenses. We cannot provide any assurance that any financing will be available to us in the future on acceptable terms or at all. Any such financing could be dilutive to our existing stockholders. If we cannot raise required funds on acceptable terms, we may further reduce our expenses and we may not be able to, among other things, (i) maintain our general and administrative expenses at current levels including retention of key personnel and consultants; (ii) successfully implement our business strategy; (iii) make additional capital contributions to our joint ventures; (iv) fund certain obligations as they become due; (v) respond to competitive pressures or unanticipated capital requirements; or (vi) repay our indebtedness. In addition, we may elect to sell certain investments as a source of cash to develop additional projects or for general corporate purposes. We may be forced to seek relief to avoid or end insolvency through other proceedings including bankruptcy. Based on the historical negative cash flows and the continued limited cash inflows in the period subsequent to year end there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

 

Our ability to generate cash to service our indebtedness depends on many factors beyond our control, and any failure to meet our debt obligations could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our ability to make payments on and to refinance our indebtedness, including our recently issued Debentures, and to fund planned capital expenditures will depend on our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations in the future. To a certain extent, this is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative and regulatory conditions and other factors that are beyond our control.

 

We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay principal and interest on our indebtedness, including our recently issued Debentures, or to fund our other liquidity needs. If our cash flow and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt obligations, we may be forced to sell assets, seek additional equity or debt capital or restructure our debt. We cannot assure you that any of these remedies could, if necessary, be affected on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Our cash flow and capital resources may be insufficient for payment of interest on and principal of our debt in the future, including payments on our recently issued Debentures, and any such alternative measures may be unsuccessful or may not permit us to meet scheduled debt service obligations, which could cause us to default on our obligations and could impair our liquidity.

 

We may not be successful in developing our business platform in Australia.

 

All of our business in Australia is currently being conducted by AFE and as such, we are dependent on the ability of AFE to grow and develop its pending and contemplated projects, and to secure debt and equity financing for projects. We will only receive fees for projects with AFE when agreed milestones across the development, design, construction, start-up and operations of the project are achieved. These projects will have a number of risks and could present unexpected challenges, including the existence of unknown potential disputes, liabilities or contingencies that arise during or after the development of the project. We cannot assure you that AFE will be able to complete the necessary financings, or once completed satisfy the conditions required to achieve these milestones or be able to enter into relationships with partners which can finance and develop the projects to completion. In addition, we can make no assurances that AFE will have sufficient and timely cash flows to continue its operations in the absence of a financing. The failure to complete the financings and, achieve the milestones or for the projects to be fully developed would have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operation.

 

Our size and lack of resources could inhibit the development of our third-party licensing business.

 

SGT license and equipment supply agreements will typically provide a guarantee of the performance of the SGT systems used in a project. Due to our limited resources and lack of financial strength, we may not be able to provide adequate financial support required to guarantee our technology performance in a project. As a result, this can impact the ability to complete equity and debt financing of projects and prevent us from securing orders. This outcome would hinder the development of our third-party licensing business and, as a result, have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We may not be successful developing opportunities to license our technology.

 

Although we have identified potential opportunities in Australia, Eastern Europe, South America, the Caribbean, China and other parts of Asia, our licensing and related service business are based on our ability to secure contractual commitments from our potential customers to utilize our technology in their projects. These projects are generally capital intensive, require government approvals and can take two to five years or more to complete their development and construction. Our ability to secure orders for our technology is subject to many uncertainties associated with our customers completing a go or no-go decision to develop and invest in these projects. Additionally, successfully developing global licensing opportunities for our technology is subject to the uncertainty of global markets as well as our continued capability to deliver technology licenses, components and services, as well as the capability of regional platform companies that we develop, like AFE, to fund, develop and complete both equity and debt financing for the projects that will use our technology and related services. In addition, as with our other projects, we will be exposed to the risk of financial non-performance by our customers. Although we anticipate that we can generate revenues through engineering and technical service fees, as well as licensing fees and royalties on products sold by our licensees that incorporate our proprietary technology, there can be no assurances that we will be able to do so and our inability to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operation.

 

We are dependent on our relationships with our strategic partners for project development.

 

We are dependent on our relationships with our strategic partners to accelerate our expansion, fund our development efforts, better understand market practices and regulatory issues and more effectively handle challenges that may arise.

 

Through the TSEC Joint Venture, we have partnered a significant portion of our China business with STT, a Chinese company which desires to invest into the growth of China’s clean energy space and ICCDI previously served as general contractor and engineered and constructed all three projects for the Aluminum Corporation of China, which recognizes the opportunity afforded by our technology capability and business model. We have committed to execute all of our business in Australia through AFE and in Poland through SEE. We believe partnering with companies such as STT and ICCDI and setting up companies like AFE and SEE with strong local partners, can increase the acceptance of our technology on a global basis and will enable us to reduce our capital requirements to achieve this acceleration.

 

We may also seek additional partners in the future for our technology platforms. Our future success will depend on these relationships and any other strategic relationships that we may enter into. We cannot assure you that we will satisfy the conditions required to maintain these relationships under existing agreements or that we can prevent the termination of these agreements. We also cannot assure you that we will be able to enter into relationships with future strategic partners on acceptable terms. Further, we cannot assure you that our joint venture partners, including STT and ICCDI, AFE, and SEE will grow effectively meet their development objectives.

 

We may not be successful developing our technology and licensing business.

 

The development of our licensing and technology business depends, in part, on our ability to form strategic relationships with other partners which can extend our global sales reach for our technology and licensing business and retaining key technical personnel to work on that business for us. We cannot provide assurance that we will be able to successfully develop our strategic partnerships or successfully grow the TSEC Joint Venture, our exclusive provider of technology and licensing in China, Mongolia, Indonesia, Vietnam, The Philippines, and Malaysia, which depends upon several factors, including the strength of global energy and chemical markets, commodity prices and the ability of our strategic partners to timely perform their obligations. There can be no assurances that we will be able to succeed in developing or sustaining these relationships, or continue to retain the necessary employees, and our inability to do so could result in ending our licensing business which would have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operation.

 

Joint ventures, partnerships, and companies that we enter into present a number of challenges that could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations and cash flows.

 

We have developed projects in China with the ZZ Joint Venture, the Yima Joint Venture, and our TSEC Joint Venture. In addition, as part of our business strategy, we plan to enter into other joint ventures or similar transactions, including as part of our business verticals some of which may be material. These transactions typically involve a number of risks and present financial, managerial and operational challenges, including the existence of unknown potential disputes, liabilities or contingencies that arise after entering into the joint venture related to the counterparties to such joint ventures, with whom we share control. We could experience financial or other setbacks if transactions encounter unanticipated problems due to challenges, including problems related to execution or integration. In some cases, our joint venture partner may have a contractual commitment to provide funding to the joint venture, although we do not have assurances that they will satisfy such obligations. Economic uncertainty in China, Eastern Europe, Australia, or other parts of the world in which we plan to do business, could also cause delays or make financing of operations more difficult. Any of these risks could reduce our revenues or increase our expenses, which could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows.

 

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All of our business in Australia is currently being conducted through AFE and as such, we are dependent on the ability of AFE to grow and develop its pending and contemplated projects. AFE will need to raise additional funds to move their project development efforts forward. We will only receive fees for projects with AFE, if they are successful in their fundraising efforts, and when agreed milestones across the development, design, construction, start-up and operations of the project are achieved. These projects will have a number of risks and could present unexpected challenges, including the existence of unknown potential disputes, liabilities or contingencies that arise during or after the development of the project. We cannot assure you that AFE will satisfy the conditions required to achieve these milestones or that AFE will be able to enter into relationships with partners which can finance and develop the projects to completion. The failure to achieve the milestones or for the projects to be fully developed would have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

All of our business in Poland is currently being conducted through SEE and as such, we are dependent on the ability of SEE to grow and develop its pending and contemplated projects. SEE will need to raise additional funds to move their project development efforts forward. We will only receive fees for projects with SEE if they are successful in their fundraising efforts and when agreed milestones across the development, design, construction, start-up and operations of the project are achieved. These projects will have a number of risks and could present unexpected challenges, including the existence of unknown potential disputes, liabilities or contingencies that arise during or after the development of the project. We cannot assure you that SEE will satisfy the conditions required to achieve these milestones or that SEE will be able to enter into relationships with partners which can finance and develop the projects to completion. The failure to achieve the milestones or for the projects to be fully developed would have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

Additionally, we are a minority owner in the Yima Joint Venture. We have failed to demonstrate that we can significantly influence the decision making of the joint venture. Therefore, we rely on our joint venture partner to provide management and operational support for the joint venture. Accordingly, the Yima Joint Venture investment’s success is completely dependent upon the Yima management. We have relied, and will continue to rely, upon personnel in China to compile this information and deliver it to us in a timely fashion so that the information can be incorporated into our consolidated financial statements prior to the due dates for our annual and quarterly reports. Any difficulties or delays in receiving this information or incorporating it into our consolidated financial statements in the future could impair our ability to timely file our annual and quarterly reports.

 

Dependence on owners of future projects in which we have a minority interest, or extended negotiations regarding the scope of the projects, could delay or prevent the realization of targeted returns on our capital invested in these projects.

 

We may be subject to future impairment losses due to potential declines in the fair value of our assets.

 

We evaluate the conditions of our assets on an annual basis or upon the determination that an other-than-temporary decrease in value has occurred. If management determines that there were applicable triggering events which are other-than-temporary in nature, management will conduct an impairment analysis utilizing using various valuation techniques, such as, a discounted cash flow fair market valuation, a Black-Scholes Model-Fair Value of Optionality used in valuing companies with substantial amounts of debt where a discounted cash flow valuation may be inadequate for estimating fair value, or a Monte Carlo Simulation or a combination of different techniques with the assistance of a third-party valuation expert. In these types of valuations, significant unobservable inputs were used to calculate the fair value of the investment. As of June 30, 2019, and 2018, management determined there were other-than-temporary events and conducted impairment valuations. As a result of the valuations, we impaired our assets and may be required to do so in the future.

 

Economic uncertainty could negatively impact our business, limit our access to the credit and equity markets, increase the cost of capital, and may have other negative consequences that we cannot predict.

 

Global economic uncertainty and the underlying access to credit and equity markets could create financial challenges for us and the economy as a whole. Our internally generated cash flow and cash on hand historically have not been sufficient to fund all of our expenditures, and we have relied on, among other things, bank financings and private equity to provide us with additional capital. Our ability to access capital may be restricted at a time when we would like, or need, to raise capital. If our cash flow from operations is less than anticipated and our access to capital is restricted, we may be required to reduce our operating and capital budget, which could have a material adverse effect on our results and future operations. Ongoing uncertainty may also reduce the values we are able to realize in asset sales or other transactions we may engage in to raise capital, thus making these transactions more difficult and less economic to consummate.

 

Our results of operations and cash flows may fluctuate.

 

Our operating results and cash flows may fluctuate significantly as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are outside our control. Factors that may affect our operating results and cash flows include but are not limited to: (i) the ability of our Australian and Polish businesses, through AFE, SEE and BFR, to develop and provide the contemplated returns on our investment; (ii) the success of the Yima Joint Venture and their ability to improve operations and overcome the current cash flow concerns of their operations; (iii) our ability to obtain new customers and retain existing customers; (iv) the success and acceptance of our technology; (v) our ability to successfully distribute cash out of China; (vi) our ability to successfully develop additional regional platforms similar to AFE and SEE in other parts of the world, and our ability to successfully develop our licensing business verticals , as well as execute on our projects; (vii) the ability to obtain financing for our projects; (viii) the cost of coal, electricity, and natural gas; (ix) shortages of equipment, raw materials or feedstock; (x) approvals by various government agencies; and (xi) general economic conditions as well as economic conditions specific to the energy industry.

 

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An inability to attract and retain qualified personnel could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We do not currently have all of the personnel to fully develop and execute on all of our business opportunities, including our various business verticals and other partnering arrangements. Also, our technology design and implementation capability rely on years of gasification specific and U-GAS® specific experience and expertise in key staff members. Our future success depends, in part, on our ability, as well as the ability of our joint ventures, to identify, attract and retain highly skilled technical personnel. We face intense competition for qualified individuals from numerous other companies, some of which have far greater resources than we do. We may be unable to identify, attract and retain suitably qualified individuals, or we may be required to pay increased compensation in order to do so. If we were to be unable to attract and retain the qualified personnel we need to succeed, our business, financial condition and results of operations could suffer.

 

Our success will depend in part on our ability to grow and diversify, which in turn will require that we manage and control our growth effectively.

 

Our business strategy contemplates growth and diversification. As we add to our services, our number of customers, and our marketing and sales efforts, operating expenses and capital requirements will increase. Our ability to manage growth effectively will require that we continue to expend funds to improve our operational, financial and management controls, as well as reporting systems and procedures. In addition, we must effectively recruit new employees, and once hired, train and manage them. From time to time, we may also have discussions with respect to potential acquisitions, some of which may be material, in order to further grow and diversify our business. However, acquisitions are subject to a number of risks and challenges, including difficulty of integrating the businesses, adverse effects on our earnings, existence of unknown liabilities or contingencies and potential disputes with counterparties. We will be unable to manage our business effectively if we are unable to alleviate the strain on resources caused by growth in a timely and successful manner. We cannot assure you that we will be able to manage our growth and a failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We or our partners will manage the design, procurement and construction of our plants. If our or their management of these issues fail, our business and operating results could suffer.

 

Previously for our ZZ Joint Venture, and possibly for other projects we may work on in the future, we have or expect to manage plant design as it relates to the gasification systems. Some of this work has been or will be subcontracted to third parties. We are and will be coordinating and supervising these tasks. Although we believe that this is the most time and cost-effective way to build gasification plants, we bear the risk of cost and schedule overruns and quality control. If we do not properly manage the design, procurement and construction of our plants, our business and operating results could be seriously harmed. Furthermore, as we continue to improve our technology, we may decide to make changes to our equipment that could further delay the construction of our plants. Additionally, for certain of our projects, including projects for which we provide a license or related service, we will rely on our partners to manage the design, procurement and construction of the plant. The success and timing of work on these projects by others will depend upon a number of factors that will be largely outside of our control. We can provide no assurances that the work will be completed timely or at all, or that the work will be performed at standards to our satisfaction.

 

Disruption in U.S. and international economic conditions and in the commodity and credit markets may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.

 

The global economy may experience another significant contraction, which could impede our ability and the ability of our partners to obtain financing for our projects. This could significantly and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition in a number of other ways. Any decline in economic conditions may reduce the demand or prices for the production from our plants. Our industry partners and potential customers and suppliers may also experience insolvencies, bankruptcies or similar events. As a direct result of these trends, our ability to finance and develop our existing projects, commence any new projects and sell our products may continue to be adversely impacted. In addition, the increased currency volatility could significantly and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Any of the above factors could also adversely affect our ability to access credit or raise capital even if the capital markets improve.

 

22

 

 

Our lack of recurring revenue and earnings precludes us from forecasting operating results and our business strategies may not be accepted in the marketplace and may not help us to achieve profitability.

 

Our lack of operating history or meaningful revenue precludes us from forecasting operating results based on historical results. Our proposed business strategies described in this annual report incorporate our senior management’s current best analysis of potential markets, opportunities and difficulties that face us. No assurance can be given that the underlying assumptions accurately reflect current trends in our industry, terms of possible project investments or our customers’ reaction to our products and services or that such products or services will be successful. Our business strategies may and likely will change substantially from time to time as our senior management reassesses its opportunities and reallocates its resources, and any such strategies may be changed or abandoned at any time. If we are unable to develop or implement these strategies through our projects and our technology, we may never achieve profitability which could impair our ability to continue as a going concern. Even if we do achieve profitability, it may not be sustainable, and we cannot predict the level of such profitability.

 

We face the potential inability to protect our intellectual property rights which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

We rely on the proprietary SGT technology originally based on U-GAS® technology licensed from GTI. All of the original patents granted around U-GAS® technology have expired and we are improving SGT technology, received some new patents and we have applied for other new patents for these improvements and new technologies. Proprietary rights relating to our technology are protected from unauthorized use by third parties only to the extent that they are covered by valid and enforceable patents, maintained within trade secrets or maintained in confidence through legally binding agreements. There can be no assurance that patents will be issued from any pending or future patent applications owned by or licensed to us or that the claims allowed under any issued patents will be sufficiently broad to protect our technology. In the absence of patent protection, we may be vulnerable to competitors who attempt to copy our technology or gain access to our proprietary information and technical know-how and we may be especially vulnerable to Chinese entities in their attempts to copy all or part of our technology. In addition, we rely on proprietary information and technical know-how that we seek to protect, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements with our collaborators, employees, and consultants. In the case of the TSEC Joint Venture, to which we have transferred the exclusive right to our technology within the joint venture territory, we are relying on the covenants and protections included in the TUCA. We cannot assure you that these agreements will not be breached, that we would have adequate remedies for any breach or that our trade secrets will not otherwise become known or be independently developed by competitors.

 

Proceedings initiated by us to protect our proprietary rights could result in substantial costs to us. We cannot assure you that our competitors will not initiate litigation to challenge the validity of our patents, or that they will not use their resources to design comparable products that do not infringe upon our patents. Pending or issued patents held by parties not affiliated with us may relate to our products or technologies. We may need to acquire licenses to, or contest the validity of, any such patents. We cannot assure you that any license required under any such patent would be made available on acceptable terms or that we would prevail in any such contest. We could incur substantial costs in defending ourselves in suits brought against us or in suits in which we may assert our patent rights against others. If the outcome of any such litigation is unfavorable to us, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

We are dependent on the availability and cost of low rank coal and coal waste and our inability to obtain a low-cost source could have an impact on our business.

 

We believe that we have the greatest competitive advantage using our technology in situations where there is a ready source of low rank, low cost coal, coal waste or biomass to utilize as a feedstock. We intend to locate projects in areas where low cost coal and coal waste are available or where it can be moved to a project site easily without transportation issues and we are working to develop structured transactions that include securing options to feedstock resources including coal and biomass. The success of our projects and those of our customers will depend on the supply of low rank coal and coal waste. If a source of low cost coal or coal waste for these projects cannot be obtained effectively, our business and operating results could be seriously affected.

 

Decreased cost or increased availability for natural gas in Australia, Poland, China and other regions where we develop projects could have an impact on our business and results of operation.

 

We compete with producers of other low-cost fuels used for electricity generation, such as natural gas. Declines in the price of natural gas, or continued low natural gas prices, could cause demand for coal-based energy to decrease and adversely affect the price of syngas and related projects. Sustained periods of low natural gas prices or other fuels may also cause utilities to phase out or close existing coal-fired power plants or reduce construction of new coal-fired power plants. In addition, competition provided by new methods of extracting natural gas could hurt our business in Australia, China and elsewhere around the world. All of this could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

23

 

 

The termination of our license agreement with GTI or any of our joint venture agreements or licensing agreements may materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

The GTI Agreement, our joint ventures in China, our licensing and related service business and our business verticals are essential to us and our future development. With the exercise of our first extension of our agreement in May 2016, the GTI Agreement terminates on August 31, 2026, but may be terminated by GTI upon certain events of default if not cured by us within specified time periods. In addition, after the second ten-year extension period provided under the GTI Agreement, which is exercisable at our option, we cannot assure you that we will succeed in obtaining an extension of the term of the license at a royalty rate that we believe to be reasonable or at all. Our joint venture agreements do not terminate for many years but may be terminated earlier due to certain events of bankruptcy or default, and, in the case of the TSEC Joint Venture, if the joint venture does not establish positive net income within 24 months of formation. Termination of any of our joint ventures or other key business relationships would require us to seek another collaborative relationship in that territory. We cannot assure you that a suitable alternative third party would be identified, and even if identified, we cannot assure you that the terms of any new relationship would be commercially acceptable to us. In addition, any of our license agreements could be terminated by our customer if we default under the terms of the agreement and any such termination could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

A portion of our revenues will be derived from the merchant sales of commodities and our inability to obtain satisfactory prices could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

In certain circumstances, we or our partners plan to sell methanol, glycol, DME, synthetic gasoline, SNG, ammonia, hydrogen, nitrogen, elemental sulphur, ash, acetic acid, propionic acid and other commodities into the merchant market. These sales may not be subject to long term offtake agreements and the price will be dictated by the then prevailing market price. Revenues from such sales may fluctuate and may not be consistent or predictable. In particular, the market for commodities such as methanol is currently under significant pressure and we are unsure of how much longer this will continue. Our business and financial condition would be materially adversely affected if we are unable to obtain satisfactory prices for these commodities or if prospective buyers do not purchase these commodities.

 

We face intense competition. If we cannot gain market share among our competition, we may not earn revenues and our business may be harmed.

 

The business of providing clean energy is highly competitive. We face completion from other forms of gasification technology, and other competing technologies that include reforming of natural gas for chemicals and hydrogen production, oil refining for fuels production, petroleum byproducts for plastics, precursors such as olefins and conventional natural gas, fuel oil and coal combustion in power generation equipment and other industrial applications. In the gasification market, large multi-national industrial corporations that are better capitalized, such as Air Products (with entrained flow technologies) and; Lurgi (with moving bed technology); and smaller Chinese firms offer coal gasification equipment and services which compete with our technology.

 

While our technology can provide superior economics than these technologies in most cases, our size, our availability to the capital markets and the lack of commercial operating experience can make it difficult for us to win orders. In addition, new competitors, some of whom may have extensive experience in related fields or greater financial resources, may enter the market.

 

Increased competition could result in a loss of contracts and market share. Either of these results could seriously harm our business and operating results. In addition, there are a number of gasification and conventional, non-gasification, coal-based alternatives for producing heat and power that could compete with our technology in specific situations. If we are unable to effectively compete with other sources of energy, our business and operating results could be seriously harmed.

 

Our information technology systems and those of our service providers are subject to our ability to maintain them to avoid cyber security risks and threats.

 

We depend on information technology systems that we manage, and others that are managed by our third-party service and equipment providers, to conduct our operations, and these systems are subject to risks associated with cyber incidents or attacks. It has been reported that unknown entities or groups have mounted cyber-attacks on businesses and other organizations solely to disable or disrupt computer systems, disrupt operations and, in some cases, steal data. Due to the nature of cyber-attacks, breaches to our or our service or equipment providers’ systems could go unnoticed for a prolonged period of time. These cyber security risks could disrupt our operations and result in disruption of our operations, loss of critical data as well as result in higher costs to correct and remedy the effects of such incidents. If our or our service or equipment providers’ systems for protecting against cyber incidents or attacks prove to be insufficient and an incident were to occur, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Currently, we do not carry insurance for losses related to cyber security attacks and may elect to not obtain such insurance in the future.

 

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We may incur substantial liabilities to comply with climate control legislation and regulatory initiatives.

 

Recent scientific studies have suggested that emissions of certain gases, commonly referred to as “greenhouse gases,” may be contributing to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. In response to such studies, many countries are actively considering legislation, or have already taken legal measures, to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels such as coal, is an example of a greenhouse gas. Plants using our technology may release a significant amount of carbon dioxide. Methane is another greenhouse gas.

 

New legislation or regulatory programs that restrict emissions of greenhouse gases in areas in which we conduct business may require us or our customers to obtain additional permits, meet additional control requirements, install additional environmental mitigation equipment, or take other as yet unknown steps to comply with these potential regulations, which could adversely affect our financial performance. Although we plan to use advanced technologies to actively utilize or sequester any greenhouse gas emissions, compliance with any future regulation of greenhouse gases, if it occurs, could be costly and may delay our development of projects. Even if we or our customers obtain all necessary permits, the air quality standards or the interpretation of those standards may change, thus requiring additional control equipment, more stringent permitting requirements, or other measures. Such requirements could significantly increase the operating costs and capital costs associated with any future development, expansion or modification of a plant.

 

Our controls and procedures may fail or be circumvented.

 

Our management regularly reviews and updates our internal control over financial reporting, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies and procedures. Any system of controls and procedures, however well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met. Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures, or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

In fiscal years ending June 30, 2018 and 2017, we did not maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting. Specifically, we identified material weaknesses over management’s review controls over significant accounting estimates and review controls over accounting for non-routine and complex accounting transactions. A material weakness was identified relating to the impairment evaluation of our cost method investments. We did not effectively operate controls over management’s review of the impairment assessment, including its review of certain elements related to the valuation of our cost basis investments. Additionally, in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, management’s assessment identified an additional material weakness in management’s review controls over non-routine and complex accounting transactions that were caused by a lack of segregation of duties over these types of transactions.

 

In fiscal year June 30, 2019, management has identified material weaknesses over management’s review controls and the lack of segregation of duties over accounting transactions due to the limited resources available.

 

We are subject to the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. If we are unable to maintain compliance with Section 404 or if the costs related to compliance are significant, our profitability, stock price and results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

 

We are required to comply with the provisions of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 and the related Securities and Exchange Commission’s implementing rules, require that management disclose whether the principal executive officer and principal financial officer maintained internal control over financial reporting that, among other things, provides reasonable assurance that material errors in our external financial reports will be prevented or detected on a timely basis, and that we maintain support for that disclosure that includes evidence of our evaluation of the design and operation of our internal control. We are a small company with international operations, limited financial resources and our finance and accounting staff is very limited.

 

In fiscal years ending June 30, 2018 and 2017, we did not maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting. Specifically, we identified material weaknesses over management’s review controls over significant accounting estimates and review controls over accounting for non-routine and complex accounting transactions. A material weakness was identified relating to the impairment evaluation of our cost method investments. We did not effectively operate controls over management’s review of the impairment assessment, including its review of certain elements related to the valuation of our cost basis investments. Additionally, in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, management’s assessment identified an additional material weakness in management’s review controls over non-routine and complex accounting transactions that were caused by a lack of segregation of duties over these types of transactions.

 

In fiscal year June 30, 2019, management has identified material weaknesses over omplex accounting transactions, and the lack of segregation of duties over these types of transactions and the limited resources available.

 

We cannot be certain that we will be able to successfully maintain the procedures, certification and attestation requirements of Section 404 or that we or our auditors will not identify material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting in the future. If we are unable to maintain compliance with Section 404, investors could lose confidence in our financial statements, which in turn could harm our business and negatively impact the trading price of our common stock.

 

25

 

 

Risks Related to International Operations

 

International operations have uncertain political, economic, and other risks.

 

The majority of our operations are located in China and Australia, and we are looking at development opportunities in other countries as well. As a result, a significant portion of our revenue is subject to the increased political and economic risks and other factors associated with international operations including, but not limited to:

 

  general strikes and civil unrest;
  other changes in political climate and energy-related policy and laws;
  the risk of war, acts of terrorism, expropriation and resource nationalization, forced renegotiation or modification of existing contracts;
  import and export regulations (including in respect of gas);
  taxation policies, including royalty and tax increases and retroactive tax claims, and investment restrictions;
  price controls;
  transportation regulations and tariffs;
  constrained methanol markets dependent on demand in a single or limited geographical area;
  exchange controls, currency fluctuations, devaluation, or other activities that limit or disrupt markets and restrict payments or the movement of funds;
  laws and policies of the United States affecting foreign trade, including trade sanctions;
  the possibility of being subject to exclusive jurisdiction of foreign courts in connection with legal disputes relating to licenses to operate and concession rights in countries where we currently operate;
  the possible inability to subject foreign person, especially foreign oil ministries and national oil companies, to the jurisdiction of courts in the United States; and
  difficulties in enforcing our rights against a governmental agency because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity and foreign sovereignty over international operations.

 

Foreign countries have occasionally asserted rights to assets held by foreign entities. If a country claims superior rights to our assets, our interests could decrease in value or be lost. Various regions of the world in which we operate have a history of political and economic instability. This instability could result in new governments or the adoption of new policies that might result in a substantially more hostile attitude toward foreign investments such as ours. In an extreme case, such a change could result in termination of contract rights and expropriation of our assets. This could adversely affect our interests and our future profitability. The impact that future terrorist attacks or regional hostilities may have on our industry in general, and on our operations in particular, is not known at this time. Uncertainty surrounding military strikes, or a sustained military campaign may affect operations in unpredictable ways, including disruptions of feedstock supplies and markets, and the possibility that infrastructure facilities, including production facilities, could be direct targets of, or indirect casualties of, an act of terror or war. We may be required to incur significant costs in the future to safeguard our assets against terrorist activities.

 

Foreign investment regulations could adversely impact our company and subject us to fines.

 

Many nations, both developing and developed countries, have stringent laws which are related to the investment and re-patriotization of funds from profits within their respective countries and which may inhibit or prevent us from removing funds from the country in which the investment was made and could potentially impact our liquidity.

 

For example, Chinese regulations relating to outbound investment activities, in particular, round-tripping investments by Chinese residents may increase our administrative burden, restrict our overseas and cross-border investment activity or otherwise adversely affect the implementation of our acquisition strategy. If Chinese residents, who are beneficial holders of our shares, make or have previously made direct or indirect round tripping investments through a SPV which falls within the scope of the registration under the SAFE Circular [2014] 37 (SAFE Circular [2014] 37 Relating to Foreign Exchange Administration of Offshore Investment, Financing and Round tripping Investment by Domestic Residents utilizing Special Purpose Vehicles), the Chinese residents must make foreign exchange registration for their offshore investments, otherwise, the Chinese residents may be ordered to return the capital to China and be imposed a fine by SAFE for such misconduct. At the time of applying for SAFE registration (including any change registration), the foreign-invested enterprises that do not constitute round tripping investment enterprises will be required to represent that its foreign shareholder is not directly or indirectly held by any Chinese residents; the foreign-invested enterprises that constitute round tripping investment enterprises will be required to disclose the actual controlling person of its foreign shareholder. Any false or misleading representations may result in administrative liabilities imposed on the onshore entities and their legal representatives. We cannot provide any assurances that all of our stockholders who are Chinese residents will make or obtain any applicable registrations or approvals required by these SAFE regulations. The failure or inability of our Chinese resident stockholders to comply with the registration procedures set forth in the SAFE regulations may subject our Chinese subsidiaries to fines and legal sanctions, restrict our cross-border investment activities, or limit the ability to distribute dividends to or obtain foreign-exchange dominated loans from our company. Given that SAFE [2014] Circular 37 is a newly issued regulation, certain aspects therein still remain in uncertainty. As it is uncertain how the SAFE regulations will be interpreted or implemented, we cannot predict how these regulations will affect our business operations or future strategy. For example, we may be subject to a more stringent review and approval process with respect to our foreign exchange activities, such as remittance of dividends and obtaining foreign currency denominated borrowings, which may harm our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, if we decide to acquire a Chinese domestic company, we cannot assure you that we or the owners of such company, as the case may be, will be able to obtain the necessary approvals or complete the necessary filings and registrations required by the SAFE regulations. This may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

26

 

 

In relation to our Australian operations, the Australian Government regulates investments by foreign persons in certain companies, trusts, businesses and land under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act (“FATA”). This regime requires notification of the proposed acquisition to the Australian Treasurer, through the Foreign Investment Review Board (“FIRB”) and obtaining a no objections notification (“FIRB approval”) in respect of certain investments made by foreign persons. Under the FATA, we are considered a foreign person. Similarly, due to our ownership position in AFE, AFE will also be considered a foreign person under the FATA. This means that if we or AFE decide to acquire an Australian company, trust, business or interest in Australian land (which includes an interest in mining and production tenements), such an acquisition may require FIRB approval if it meets the relevant FATA thresholds. Also, due to the Australia - United States Free Trade Agreement, United States investors are considered “agreement country investors” under the FATA. The “agreement country investors” are subject to much higher FATA thresholds which means that United States investors can make significantly larger investments without needing to seek FIRB approval. However, we can only benefit from these higher FATA thresholds if we use entities incorporated or established in United States to directly make the proposed investment. The Treasurer will only grant FIRB approval if he can be satisfied that the proposed investment is not contrary to the Australian national interest. We cannot provide any assurances that we or AFE, as the case may be, will be able to obtain the necessary FIRB approvals in relation to proposed acquisitions that meet the FATA thresholds. However, rejections of proposed investments are rare.

 

Furthermore, depending on the proportion of our shares that are beneficially held by government-related entities at any one time, we, and in turn AFE, may be considered a foreign government investor under the FATA. Foreign government investors are subject to lower FATA thresholds and greater scrutiny by FIRB in relation to their proposed acquisitions. We cannot assure you that we will always be able to accurately identify whether we are a foreign government investor under the FATA.

 

Failure to obtain FIRB approval when required or otherwise comply with the FATA may subject us to fines and a range of legal sanctions, including orders requiring us to dispose of the relevant interest (in relation to interests that have been acquired without FIRB approval). This may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

In our areas of operation, the projects we and our customers intend to build are subject to rigorous environmental regulations, review and approval. We cannot assure you that such approvals will be obtained, applicable requirements will be satisfied or approvals, once granted, will be maintained.

 

Our operations are subject to stringent laws and regulations governing the discharge of materials into the environment, remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater, sitting of facilities or otherwise relating to environmental protection. Numerous governmental agencies, such as various Chinese, Polish and Australian authorities at the municipal, state/provincial or central government level and similar regulatory bodies in other countries, issue regulations to implement and enforce such laws, which often require difficult and costly compliance measures that carry substantial potential administrative, civil and criminal penalties or may result in injunctive relief for failure to comply. These laws and regulations may require the acquisition of a permit before construction and/or operations at a facility commence, restrict the types, quantities and concentrations of various substances that can be released into the environment in connection with such activities, limit or prohibit construction activities on certain lands lying within wilderness, wetlands, ecologically sensitive and other protected areas and impose substantial liabilities for pollution. We believe that we are in substantial compliance with current applicable environmental laws and regulations. Although to date we have not experienced any material adverse effect from compliance with existing environmental requirements, we cannot assure you that we will not suffer such effects in the future or that projects developed by our partners or customers will not suffer such effects.

 

Although we have been successful in obtaining the permits in China, any retroactive change in policy guidelines or regulations, or an opinion that the approvals that have been obtained are inadequate, could require us to obtain additional or new permits, spend considerable resources on complying with such requirements or delay commencement of construction. Other developments, such as the enactment of more stringent environmental laws, regulations or policy guidelines or more rigorous enforcement procedures, or newly discovered conditions, could require us to incur significant capital expenditures.

 

27

 

 

Our projects and projects of our customers are subject to an extensive governmental approval process which could delay the implementation of our business strategy.

 

Selling syngas, methanol, glycol and other commodities is highly regulated in many markets around the world, as will be projects in our business verticals. We believe these projects will be supported by the governmental agencies in the areas where the projects will operate because coal-based technologies, which are less burdensome on the environment, are generally encouraged by most governments. However, the regulatory environment is often uncertain and can change quickly, often with contradictory regulations or policy guidelines being issued. In some cases, government officials have different interpretations of such regulations and policy guidelines and project approvals that are obtained could later be deemed to be inadequate. Furthermore, new policy guidelines or regulations could alter applicable requirements or require that additional levels of approval be obtained. If we or our customers and partners are unable to effectively complete the government approval process in China, Poland, Australia, and other markets in which we intend to operate, our business prospects and operating results could be seriously harmed.

 

Foreign laws may not afford us sufficient protections for our intellectual property, and we may not be able to obtain patent protection outside of the United States.

 

Certain nations that we operate in may not grant us certain intellectual property rights that are customarily granted in more developed legal systems. Patent law reform in the United States and other countries may also weaken our ability to enforce our patent rights or make such enforcement financially unattractive. For example, Australia has enacted the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act, which provides higher standards for obtaining patents. These reforms could result in increased costs to protect our intellectual property or limit our ability to patent our products in these jurisdictions. In addition, despite continuing international pressure on the Chinese government, intellectual property rights protection continues to present significant challenges to foreign investors and, increasingly, Chinese companies. Chinese commercial law is relatively undeveloped compared to the commercial law in our other major markets and only limited protection of intellectual property is available in China as a practical matter. Although we have taken precautions in the operations of our Chinese subsidiaries and in our joint venture agreements (including as to the TSEC Joint Venture to which we have transferred the exclusive right to our technology within the joint venture territory) to protect our intellectual property, any local design or manufacture of products that we undertake in China could subject us to an increased risk that unauthorized parties will be able to copy or otherwise obtain or use our intellectual property, which could harm our business. We may also have limited legal recourse in the event we encounter patent or trademark infringement. Uncertainties with respect to the Chinese legal system may adversely affect the operations of our Chinese subsidiaries. China has put in place a comprehensive system of intellectual property laws however, incidents of infringement are common, and enforcement of rights can, in practice, be difficult. If we are unable to manage our intellectual property rights, our business and operating results may be seriously harmed.

 

We could be adversely affected by violations of the FCPA and similar laws in connection with our foreign operations.

 

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and similar other corruption laws generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Our corporate policies mandate compliance with these laws. We operate in many parts of the world that have experienced governmental corruption to some degree and, in certain circumstances, strict compliance with anti-bribery laws may conflict with local customs and practices. Despite our training and compliance program, we cannot assure you that our internal control policies and procedures always will protect us from reckless or negligent acts committed by our employees or our respective agents. Violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt our business and result in a material adverse effect on our business and operations. We may be subject to competitive disadvantages to the extent that our competitors are able to secure business, licenses or other preferential treatment by making payments to government officials and others in positions of influence or using other methods that United States or other corruption laws and regulations prohibit us from using.

 

In order to effectively compete in some foreign jurisdictions, we utilize local agents and seek to establish joint ventures with local operators or strategic partners. Although we have procedures and controls in place to monitor internal and external compliance, if we are found to be liable for FCPA violations (either due to our own acts or our inadvertence, or due to the acts or inadvertence of others, including actions taken by our agents and our strategic or local partners, even though our agents and partners are not subject to the FCPA), we could suffer from civil and criminal penalties or other sanctions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

 

28

 

 

Our results of operations would be negatively affected by potential currency fluctuations in exchange rates with foreign countries.

 

Currency fluctuations, devaluations and exchange restrictions may adversely affect our liquidity and results of operations. Exchange rates are influenced by political or economic developments the United States, China or elsewhere and by macroeconomic factors and speculative actions. In some countries, local currencies may not be readily converted into U.S. dollars or other hard currencies or may only be converted at government-controlled rates, and, in some countries, the transfer of hard currencies offshore has been restricted from time to time. Very limited hedging transactions are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited may not be able to successfully hedge our exposure.

 

Fluctuations in exchange rates can have a material impact on our costs of construction, our operating expenses and the realization of revenue from the sale of commodities. We cannot assure you that we will be able to offset any such fluctuations and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, our financial statements are expressed in U.S. dollars and will be negatively affected if foreign currencies, such as the RMB, or the Australian dollar (“AUD”), or the Polish Zloty (“PLN”) depreciate relative to the U.S. dollar. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by exchange control regulations in China or other countries that restrict our ability to convert into U.S. dollars.

 

Risks related to our Australian Platform

 

Estimating the quantity and quality of mineral resources is an inherently uncertain process.

 

Estimating the quantity and quality of mineral resources is an inherently uncertain process and any reserve estimates that we may receive from AFE related to the Pentland resource or from BFR in the future are and will be estimates and may not prove to be an accurate indication of the quantity and/or grade of mineralization that AFE or BFR has identified or that they will be able to extract, process and sell.

 

Mineral reserve estimates are expressions of judgement based on knowledge, experience and industry practice. Mineral reserve estimates are necessarily imprecise and depend to some extent on interpretations and geological assumptions, the application of sampling techniques, estimates of commodity prices, cost assumptions, and statistical inferences which may ultimately prove to have been unreliable.

 

The inclusion of mineral reserve estimates should not be regarded as a representation that these amounts can be economically exploited, and investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on mineral reserve estimates, particularly inferred resource estimates, which are highly uncertain.

 

Consequently, mineral reserve estimates are often regularly revised based on actual production experience or new information and are therefore expected to change. Furthermore, should AFE or BFR encounter mineralization or formations different from those predicted by past drilling, sampling and similar examinations, their mineral reserve estimates may have to be adjusted and mining plans, processing and infrastructure may have to be altered in a way that might adversely affect their operations. Moreover, a decline in the price of commodities, increases in production costs, decreases in recovery rates or changes in applicable laws and regulations, including environment, permitting, title or tax regulations, that are adverse to AFE or BFR, may mean the volumes of mineralization that AFE or BFR can feasibly extract may be significantly lower than the original mineral reserve estimates. If it is determined that mining of certain of resources and the reserves derived from them have become uneconomic, this may ultimately lead to a reduction in the quantity of the aggregate resources of AFE and BFR being mined or result in AFE or BFR deciding not to proceed with the project.

 

Mining exploration and operations are subject to a number of factors which could adversely affect AFE and BFR.

 

The current and future operations of AFE and BFR, including exploration, appraisal, development and possible production activities may be affected by a range of exploration and operating factors, including:

 

  Geological conditions;
  Limitations on activities due to seasonal or adverse weather patterns;
  Alterations to program and budgets;
  Unanticipated operational and technical difficulties encountered in geophysical surveys, drilling, metallurgical laboratory work and production activities;
  Mechanical failure of operating plant and equipment, industrial and environmental accidents, acts of terrorism or political or civil unrest and other force majeure events;
  Industrial action, disputation or disruptions;
  Unavailability of transport or drilling equipment to allow access and geological and geophysical investigations;
  Unavailability of suitable laboratory facilities to complete metallurgical test work investigations;
  Failure of metallurgical testing to determine a commercially viable product;
  Shortages or unavailability of manpower or appropriately skilled manpower;
  Unexpected shortages or increases in the costs of consumables, spare parts, plant and equipment; and / or
  Prevention or restriction of access by reason of inability to obtain consents or approvals.

 

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Both AFE and BFR have minimal operating history which could have an adverse effect on the success of their business operations.

 

Prior to the completion of the Callide acquisition, neither AFE or BFR had developed or managed a fully operational mining or processing facility and neither of them has any direct or demonstrated experience in building or operating mining or processing facilities.

 

While their directors and management have substantial experience in the mining and resources industries, there can be no assurance that their projects will experience results similar to those achieved by other companies or projects in which their directors and management have been involved in the past. The financial condition of AFE and BFR will depend upon the commercial viability and profitability of their projects. Neither AFE or BFR can provide any assurance that it will be able to commission or sustain the successful operation of its projects or that they will achieve commercial viability.

 

Our Australian operations are subject to a number of operating risks which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

The future operations of AFE and BFR will be subject to operating risks that could result in decreased production which could reduce its revenues. Operational difficulties may impact production volumes, delay or increase the cost of operating for a varying length of time. Such difficulties include (but are not limited to) unexpected maintenance or technical problems; failure of key equipment; depletion of mineral resources; increased or unexpected reclamation costs; interruptions due to transportation delays; industrial and environmental accidents; industrial disputes; unexpected shortages or increases in the costs of consumables and spare parts; availability of water; availability and cost of power and other utilities; fires; adverse weather conditions and other natural disasters. Other difficulties may arise as a result of variations in mining or operating conditions from those projected from drilling, such as geotechnical issues, variations in the amount of waste material, variations in geological conditions and the actions of potential contractors engaged to operate projects including any breach of contract or other action outside the control of AFE or BFR.

 

Unforeseen geological, geotechnical or operational difficulties could also cause a loss of revenue due to lower production than expected, higher operating and maintenance costs and/ or ongoing unplanned capital expenditure to meet production targets. Any such geological conditions may adversely affect the financial performance of AFE and BFR.

 

A failure to obtain access, whether under a contractual arrangement or otherwise, to an adequate supply of capital equipment or consumables for use in their operations could result in delays to the commencement of operations at projects for AFE and BFR, reduced production rates and increased costs.

 

AFE and BFR may consider opportunities for expansion and/or opportunities to acquire other mining and processing rights in the future. There can be no certainty that any expenditures made by them towards the search for, acquisition of or evaluation of mineral deposits or rights will result in commercial discoveries or acquisitions.

 

Failure to obtain necessary licenses or permits could delay or restrict our projects being developed in Australia.

 

Both AFE and BFR are required under applicable local laws and regulations to seek governmental concessions, permits, authorizations, licenses and other approvals, including in connection with its operating, producing, exploration and development activities. We cannot predict whether they will be able to obtain all required permits or other authorizations for its current and future operations. Obtaining, retaining or renewing the necessary governmental concessions, permits, authorizations, licenses (including with respect to environment and water use) and approvals can be a complex and time-consuming process and may involve substantial costs or the imposition of unfavorable conditions. There can be considerable delay in obtaining the necessary permits and other authorizations and in certain cases the relevant government agency may be unable to issue a required permit or other authorization in a timely manner.

 

The duration and success of permit applications are contingent on many factors that are outside of the control of AFE and BFR including objections from local communities, non-government organizations or special interest groups. Failure to obtain a material license or permit in connection with a specific project would adversely impact AFE and BFR.

 

Mineral exploration involves significant risks which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

The exploration of mineral deposits involves significant risks which even a combination of careful evaluation, experience and knowledge will not fully eliminate. While the discovery of a mineral deposit may result in substantial rewards, few properties which are explored are ultimately developed into producing mines. Major expenses may be required to locate and establish ore reserves and to construct mining and processing facilities at a particular site. Whether a mineral deposit will be commercially viable depends on a number of factors, some of which include the particular attributes of the deposit, such as size, quality and proximity to infrastructure; commodity prices which are highly cyclical; and government regulations, including regulations relating to prices, taxes, royalties, land tenure, land use, importing and exporting of minerals and environmental protection. The exact effect of these factors cannot be accurately predicted, but the combination of these factors may result in AFE or BFR not receiving an adequate, or any, return on invested capital for any exploration activities that may be undertaken in the future.

 

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Government regulation or policy could impose a significant cost on our Australian operations.

 

Government regulations will impose significant costs on the mining and processing operations of AFE and BFR, and future regulations could increase those costs or limit their ability to operate and produce. The mining and processing industries are subject to increasingly strict regulation with respect to matters such as limitations on land use, employee health and safety, mine permitting and licensing requirements, reclamation and restoration of mining properties, air quality standards, water pollution, protection of human health, plant life and wildlife, the discharge of materials into the environment, surface subsidence from underground mining and the effects of mining on groundwater quality and availability.

 

The possibility exists that new legislation and/or regulations and orders may be adopted that may materially adversely affect the mining operations of AFE and BFR, cost structure and/or their ability of to sell (or, if applicable, export) their products. New legislation or administrative regulations (or new judicial interpretations or administrative enforcement of existing laws and regulations or changes in respect policy or the enactment of policy-related decisions), including proposals related energy policy or to the protection of the environment that would further regulate and tax the industry, may also require AFE, BFR or its customers to change operations significantly or incur increased costs.

 

Environmental regulations impacting the mining industry may adversely affect AFE and BFR.

 

The operations of AFE and BFR are subject to or affected by a wide array of regulations in the jurisdictions where they operate, including those directly impacting mining activities and those indirectly affecting their businesses, such as applicable environmental laws. In addition, new environmental legislation or administrative regulations relating to mining or affecting demand for mined materials, or more stringent interpretations of existing laws and regulations, may require AFE or BFR to significantly change or curtail their operations. The high cost of compliance with environmental regulations may discourage them from expanding existing mines or developing new mines and may also cause customers to limit or even discontinue their mining operations. As a result of these factors, our Australian projects could be adversely affected by environmental regulations directly or indirectly impacting the mining industry. Any reduction in demand as a result of environmental regulations could have a material adverse effect on the business, financial condition or results of operations of AFE and BFR.

 

Failure to obtain necessary native title or Aboriginal cultural heritage consents and approvals could delay or restrict our projects being developed in Australia.

 

Both AFE and BFR are required under applicable local laws and regulations to seek authorizations and consents from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in relation to native title (where it has not been extinguished) and Aboriginal cultural heritage, including in connection with its operating, producing, exploration and development activities. We cannot predict whether they will be able to obtain all required authorizations and consents for its current and future operations. Obtaining, retaining or renewing the necessary authorizations and consents can be a complex and time-consuming process and may involve substantial costs or the imposition of unfavorable conditions. There can be considerable delay in obtaining the necessary authorizations and consents. However, where consents and authorizations are not provided by agreement, there are fallback options available under the native title “right to negotiate” process and the statutory process for development of cultural heritage management plans.

 

The duration and success of authorization and consent processes are contingent on many factors that are outside of the control of AFE and BFR. Failure to obtain an authorization or consent in connection with a specific project would adversely impact AFE and BFR.

 

Uncertainty or weaknesses in global economic conditions could adversely impact coal pricing.

 

The world prices of coal are strongly influenced by international demand and global economic conditions. Uncertainties or weaknesses in global economic conditions could adversely affect our business and negatively impact our financial results. In addition, if another global economic downturn were to occur, we would likely see decreased demand and decreased prices with respect to our Australian projects, resulting in lower revenue levels and decreasing margins. We are not able to predict whether the global economic conditions will continue or worsen and the impact it may have on our operations and the industry in general going forward.

 

Taxation of dividends paid by AFE and BFR could have a negative impact on our shareholders.

 

Australian resident companies are liable for Australian income tax on their taxable income at a corporate tax rate (which is currently 30%). The payment of Australian income tax by an Australian company generates a “franking credit” which, when the company pays a dividend to shareholders, generally flows through to the company’s shareholders.

 

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Dividends, to the extent that they are paid by AFE and BFR, may potentially be franked up to 100%. The rate of franking depends on the Australian company’s level of available franking credits. The level of franking may vary over time and dividends may be partially or fully franked or not franked at all.

 

Non-Australian tax resident shareholders who hold shares in an Australian tax resident company may be subject to Australian dividend withholding tax on the ‘unfranked’ component of any dividends paid by the company (unless those shares are held at or through a permanent establishment in Australia). Dividend withholding tax should not apply to non-Australian tax resident shareholders to the extent that the dividend is franked.

 

Where it applies, Australian dividend withholding tax is generally imposed at the rate of 30%, but the rate may be reduced under a double tax treaty between Australia and the jurisdiction where the shareholder is resident. Under the double tax treaty between the United States of America and Australia, the dividend withholding tax rate applicable to dividends paid to US tax residents is reduced to 5% of the gross amount of the unfranked dividend provided the shareholder holds 10% or more of the voting power in the company paying the dividends (where the US tax resident holds less than 10% of the voting power in the company paying the dividends, the dividend withholding tax rate is reduced to 15%).

 

Risks Related to Our Chinese Operations

 

Economic conditions in China could have an adverse impact on the performance of our joint venture partners and, as a result, our results of operations.

 

We may be adversely affected by economic uncertainty in China or the United States, such as may result from the current trade tariff discussions between the U.S. and China or other political tensions, which could create further financial challenges for us and make our Chinese businesses less economic and more difficult to consummate new business.

 

We may have difficulty establishing adequate management, legal and financial controls in China.

 

China historically has been deficient in Western-style management and financial reporting concepts and practices, as well as in modern banking, computer and other control systems. We have limited influence in decision making in our Chinese joint ventures. For example, we changed from the equity method of accounting for our investment in the Yima Joint Venture to the cost method of accounting because we concluded that we are unable to exercise significant influence over the Yima Joint Venture due to, among other things, our limited participation in operating and financial policymaking processes and our limited ability to influence technological decisions.

 

We may have difficulty in hiring and retaining a sufficient number of employees who are qualified to assist us in application of such concepts and practices to work in China.

 

As a result of these factors, we may experience difficulty in establishing management, legal and financial controls, collecting financial data and preparing financial statements, books of account and corporate records and instituting business practices that meet Western standards. This situation can be more challenging in cost method investments where we do not experience significant influence and could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

 

China’s anti-corruption campaign may adversely impact our Chinese partners and our Chinese joint ventures.

 

The Chinese government initiated a nationwide anti-corruption campaign to improve governance in China. The primary focus of this campaign was largely on state-owned enterprises (“SOE”). Certain of our joint ventures are majority owned by an SOE. If one or more of the senior executives of our SOE joint venture partner or related entities are questioned or come under investigation, this could limit our participation in the on-going operations of the facilities and could adversely affect our realization of our investment in such joint ventures and facilities. This would materially affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may have difficulty making distributions and repatriating earnings from our Chinese operations.

 

Under Chinese regulations, wholly foreign-owned enterprises and Sino-foreign equity joint ventures in China may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations. The foreign invested company may not distribute profits until the losses of the previous fiscal years have been made up. Additionally, the foreign invested company shall make allocations of after-tax profits to a reserve fund and a bonus and welfare fund for their employees. In the case of a Sino-foreign equity joint venture, in addition to the reserve fund and the bonus and welfare fund, the company shall also make allocations to a venture expansion fund. In the case of a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, the amount to be contributed to the reserve fund shall be no less than 10% of the after-tax profits unless the aggregate amount reaches 50% of the registered capital of the company, at which time the company may stop making allocations to the reserve fund. The amount to be contributed to other funds of a wholly foreign-owned enterprise or any of the above funds of a Sino-foreign equity joint venture may be determined by the board of the company in accordance with the applicable Chinese laws. Any amounts to be contributed to such funds shall be set aside prior to distribution of after-tax profit. If we are unable to make distributions and repatriate earnings from our Chinese operations, it could have a materially adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operation.

 

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Increased development of shale gas in China could have an adverse effect on our business.

 

According to a 2014 study published by the EIA, China has the world’s largest technically recoverable shale gas reserve resource, representing approximately 9.2% of the world’s total recoverable shale gas resources. However, given the variation across the world’s shale formations in both geology and above-the-ground conditions, the extent to which global technically recoverable shale resources will prove to be economically recoverable is not yet clear. The market effect of shale resources outside the United States will depend on the associated production costs, volumes, and market prices. For example, a potential shale well that costs twice as much and produces half the output of a typical U.S. well would not likely be developed. An increase in the development of shale gas would be a competitive alternative to syngas which is produced by our technology and could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operation if successful.

 

Our operations in China may be adversely affected by evolving economic, political and social conditions.

 

Our operations are subject to risks inherent in doing business internationally. Such risks include the adverse effects on operations from war, international terrorism, civil disturbances, political instability, governmental activities and deprivation of contract and property rights. In particular, since 1978, the Chinese government has been reforming its economic and political systems, and we expect this to continue. Although we believe that these reforms have had a positive effect on the economic development of China and have improved our ability to do business in China, we cannot assure you that these reforms will continue or that the Chinese government will not take actions that impair our operations or assets in China. In addition, periods of international unrest may impede our ability to do business in other countries and could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Furthermore, changes in China’s economic or political situations could impact the exchange rate of the Chinese Renminbi yuan, which could materially impact our financial positions and our results of operations in China.

 

Chinese regulations of loans and direct investment by offshore entities to Chinese entities may delay or prevent us from utilizing proceeds of funds to make loans or additional capital contributions to our operations in China, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

 

We may make loans or additional capital contributions to our operations in China. Any loans to our Chinese operations are subject to Chinese regulations and approvals. Such loans by us cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange or its local counterpart. We may also decide to finance our Chinese operations by means of capital contributions. This capital contribution must be approved by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce or its local counterpart. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain these government registrations or approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans or capital contributions by us to our Chinese operations or any of their subsidiaries. If we fail to receive such registrations or approvals, our ability to capitalize our Chinese operations may be negatively affected, which could adversely and materially affect our liquidity and ability to fund and expand our business.

 

The Chinese government exerts substantial influence over the manner in which we must conduct our business activities.

 

The Chinese government has exercised and continues to exercise substantial control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through regulation and state ownership. Our ability to operate in China may be harmed by changes in its laws and regulations, including those relating to taxation, import and export tariffs, environmental regulations, land use rights, property and other matters. We believe that our operations in China are in material compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements. However, the central or local governments of the jurisdictions in which we operate may impose new, stricter regulations or interpretations of existing regulations that would require additional expenditures and efforts on our part to ensure our compliance with such regulations or interpretations. Accordingly, government actions in the future, including any decision not to continue to support recent economic reforms and to return to a more centrally planned economy or regional or local variations in the implementation of economic policies, could have a significant effect on economic conditions in China or particular regions thereof and could require us to divest ourselves of any interest we then hold in Chinese properties or joint ventures.

 

We face risks related to natural disasters and health epidemics in China, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

Our business could be materially adversely affected by natural disasters or the outbreak of health epidemics in China. For example, in May 2008, Sichuan Province suffered a strong earthquake measuring approximately 8.0 on the Richter scale that caused widespread damage and casualties. In addition, in the last decade, China has suffered health epidemics related to the outbreak of avian influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. Any future natural disasters or health epidemics in China could also have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

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Uncertainties with respect to the Chinese legal system could limit the legal protections available to you and us.

 

We conduct substantially all of our current business through our operating subsidiaries in China. Our operating subsidiaries are generally subject to Chinese laws and regulations including those applicable to foreign investments in China and, in particular, laws applicable to foreign-invested enterprises. The Chinese legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike common law systems, decided legal cases have little precedential value in China. In 1979, the Chinese government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation since 1979 has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investment in China. However, Chinese laws and regulations change frequently, and the interpretation of laws and regulations is not always uniform, and enforcement thereof can involve uncertainties. For instance, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce the legal protection that we are entitled to by law or contract. However, since Chinese administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting statutory and contractual terms, it may be difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative court proceedings and the level of law enforcement that we would receive in more developed legal systems. Such uncertainties, including the potential inability to enforce our contracts, could limit legal protections available to you and us and could affect our business and operations. In addition, intellectual property rights and confidentiality protections in China may not be as effective as in the United States or other countries. Accordingly, we cannot predict the effect of future developments in the Chinese legal system, particularly with regard to the industries in which we operate, including the promulgation of new laws. This may include changes to existing laws or the interpretation or enforcement thereof, or the preemption of local regulations by national laws. These uncertainties could limit the availability of law enforcement, including our ability to enforce our agreements with Chinese government entities and other foreign investors.

 

Risks Related to our Common Stock

 

We are at risk of being de-listed from The NASDAQ Stock Market if we do not regain compliance with the minimum amount of stockholders’ equity for continued listing required by NASDAQ rules and certain other deficiencies.

 

On May 16, 2019, SES received a notice of noncompliance (the “Notice”) from the Listing Qualifications Staff (the “Staff”) of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) indicating that the Company was not compliant with the minimum stockholders’ equity requirement under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(b)(1) for continued listing on The Nasdaq Capital Market because the Company’s stockholders’ equity, as reported in SES’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2019, was below the required minimum of $2.5 million. Based on materials provided to Nasdaq by SES, the Staff granted SES an extension through November 12, 2019 to complete the Merger.

 

On November 13, 2019, SES received notification from the Staff that it did not meet the terms of the previously granted extension and, as a result, the Staff has determined that that the securities of SES would be subject to delisting unless SES timely requested a hearing before a Nasdaq Hearings Panel (the “Panel”).

 

Additionally, on October 17, 2019, the Staff notified SES that since it failed to timely file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2019, it no longer complied with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1). SES was given until December 16, 2019, to submit a plan of compliance for consideration by the Staff. However, pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(2)(A), the Staff has informed SES that it can no longer consider the Company’s plan, and, as a result, the failure to file the Form 10-K serves as an additional and separate basis for delisting. On November 21, 2019, SES received an additional delinquency notification letter from the Staff due to SES’s continued non-compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) as a result of the Company’s failure to timely file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

 

SES has requested a hearing before the Panel. The hearing request automatically stayed any suspension/delisting action through December 5, 2019. On December 13, 2019, we received notification from the Panel that it had determined to extend the stay of suspension through the completion of the hearings process, which will take place on December 19, 2019. At the hearing, the Company will request the stay be extended through the closing of the previously announced Merger with AFE. However, there can be no assurance that the Panel will grant a further extension to enable the Company to demonstrate compliance that it has regained compliance with all applicable requirements.

 

Our historic stock price has been volatile and the future market price for our common stock is likely to continue to be volatile.

 

The public market for our common stock has historically been very volatile. Any future market price for our shares is likely to continue to be very volatile. This price volatility may make it more difficult for our stockholders to sell shares when they want at prices that they find attractive. We do not know of any one particular factor that has caused volatility in our stock price. However, the stock market in general has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of companies. Broad market factors and the investing public’s negative perception of our business may reduce our stock price, regardless of our operating performance.

 

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Our common stock is thinly traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market.

 

Although our common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market, the trading volume has historically been low. We cannot assure investors that trading volume will increase or the volatility of the trading price of our common stock will decrease. We cannot assure investors that a more active trading market will develop even if we issue more equity in the future.

 

The market valuation of our business may fluctuate due to factors beyond our control and the value of the investment of our stockholders may fluctuate correspondingly.

 

The market valuation of clean energy companies, such as us, frequently fluctuate due to factors unrelated to the past or present operating performance of such companies. Our market valuation may fluctuate significantly in response to a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

 

  Changes in securities analysts’ estimates of our financial performance;
     
  Fluctuations in stock market prices and volumes, particularly among securities of energy companies;
     
  Changes in market valuations of similar companies;
     
  Announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts, new technologies, acquisitions, commercial relationships, joint ventures or capital commitments;
     
  Variations in our quarterly operating results;
     
  Fluctuations in coal, oil, natural gas, methanol and ammonia prices;
     
  Loss of a major customer of failure to complete significant commercial contracts;
     
  Loss of a relationship with a partner; and
     
  Additions or departures of key personnel.

 

As a result, the value of your investment in us may fluctuate.

 

Investors should not look to dividends as a source of income.

 

We do not intend to pay cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Consequently, any economic return will initially be derived, if at all, from appreciation in the fair market value of our stock, and not as a result of dividend payments.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

 

Item 2. Properties

 

Our corporate office occupies three individual offices on one floor under an Online Office Agreement and the term expires December 31, 2019 in Houston, Texas as of June 30, 2019. On December 31, 2019, we extended the Online Office Agreement through March 31, 2020. Over time, additional properties may be required if we develop new projects and add personnel to advance our commercial and technical efforts.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

 

None.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not Applicable.

 

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PART II

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Common Stock and Stockholders

 

Our common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol SES.

 

As of January 2, 2020, our authorized capital stock consisted of 200,000,000 shares of common stock and 20,000,000 shares of preferred stock, of which 1,576,500 shares of common stock and no preferred stock were issued and outstanding. As of such date, there were 23 holders of record of our common stock.

 

Dividend Policy

 

We have not paid dividends on our common stock and do not anticipate paying cash dividends in the immediate future as we contemplate that our cash flows will be used for continued growth of our operations. The payment of future dividends, if any, will be determined by our Board of Directors based on conditions then existing including our earnings, financial condition, capital requirements, restrictions in financing agreements, business conditions and other factors.

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

In July 2018, we agreed with a consulting firm to issue restricted shares for services rendered in connection with their consulting agreement with a total aggregate value of $70,500. We issued 2,862 shares of our common stock at $24.64 in relation to the consulting agreement. The issuance was made pursuant to exemptions under the Securities Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, including pursuant to Section 4(2).

 

See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation” for a discussion of the Interim Financing.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

 

The following table sets forth information regarding our existing equity compensation plans as of June 30, 2019.

 

   Equity Compensation Plan Information 
Plan Category  Number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options, warrants and rights
(a)
   Weighted average exercise price of outstanding options, warrants and rights
(b)
   Number of securities remaining available for future issuance under equity compensation plans (excluding securities reflected in column (a))
(c)
 
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders (1)   166,477(2)  $60.73    31,409 
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders   78,881(3)  $77.46     
Total as of June 30, 2019   245,358   $66.11    31,409 

 

 

(1) Consists of the 2015 Long-term Incentive Plan and the Amended and Restated 2005 Incentive Plan.
(2) Of the total 328,125 shares under 2015 Long-term Incentive Plan and the Amended and Restated 2005 Incentive Plan, options to acquire 166,477 shares of commons stock were outstanding at June 30, 2019.
(3) As of June 30, 2019, warrants to acquire up to 78,881 shares of our common stock were outstanding to third-party companies working with the Company in different capacities (Market Development Consulting Group, Inc., TR Winston & Company and ILL-Sino Development).

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

Not applicable.

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and other financial information included elsewhere in this annual report. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this annual report, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and related financing, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review the “Risk Factors” section of this annual report for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.

 

Business Overview

 

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (referred to herein as “we,” “us” and “our”), together with its wholly-owned and majority-owned controlled subsidiaries is a global clean energy company that owns proprietary technology, SES Gasification Technology (“SGT”), for the low-cost and environmentally responsible production of synthetic gas (referred to as “syngas”). Syngas is used to produce a wide variety of high-value clean energy and chemical products, such as synthetic natural gas, power, methanol, and fertilizer. Our focus has been on commercializing our technology both in China and globally through the regional business platforms we have created with partners in Australia, via Australian Future Energy Pty Ltd (“AFE”), in Poland, via SES EnCoal Energy sp. zo. o (“SEE”) and in China, via Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited (“TSEC Joint Venture”).

 

SGT produces syngas that can provide a competitive alternative to other forms of energy such as natural gas, LNG, crude oil and the conventional utilization of coal in boilers for power generation. Our syngas can provide a lower cost energy source in markets where coal, low quality coal, coal wastes, biomass and municipal wastes are available and where natural gas, LNG, and crude oil are expensive or constrained due to lack of infrastructure such as distribution pipelines or power transmission lines, such as Australia, Asia, Eastern Europe and parts of South America. In addition to the economic advantages, we believe our syngas also provides an environmentally responsible option for the manufacturing of chemical, hydrogen, industrial fuel gas and a cleaner option for the generation of power from coal. We believe that our technology is well positioned to be an important solution that addresses the market needs of a changing global energy landscape.

 

Over the past twelve years, we have successfully commercialized SGT, primarily through our efforts in China where, between 2006 and 2016, we invested in and built two commercial scale gasification projects together with Chinese partners and sub-licensed the SGT into three additional projects in China. In the aggregate, we have completed five commercial scale industrial projects in China over a ten-year period, in which the projects utilize twelve SES proprietary SGT systems. These projects represent a total project level investment of approximately $450 million. We believe the completion of these projects in China propelled SGT into a globally recognized gasification technology.

 

In 2014, we undertook efforts to expand into other regions of the world and created AFE, a joint venture with partners Ambre Investments PTY Limited (“Ambre”) in Australia, and in 2017, created SEE in Poland, with its partners from EnInvestments sp. z o.o. These regions are ideal locations for industrial projects utilizing the SGT due to high energy prices and limited access to affordable natural gas, combined with an abundance of low-quality, low-cost coal resources, renewable biomass and municipal solid wastes.

 

Australia’s lack of both domestic gas and a uniform energy policy has created a shortage of reliable energy supply and rising consumer prices, creating a need and demand for more environmentally friendly and cleaner energy solutions. AFE was established for the purpose of building large-scale vertically integrated projects using SGT to produce syngas used in manufacturing fuel gas, synthetic natural gas, agricultural and other chemicals, transportation fuels, explosives and for power generation and also to secure ownership positions in local resources, such as coal and biomass. AFE is able to leverage the unique flexible feedstock capability of SGT to build industrial projects with low production costs that can also reduce carbon dioxide emissions and support Australian industry and regional growth.

 

Since its formation, AFE has made significant commercial progress, creating Batchfire Resources Pty Ltd (“BFR”), which acquired one of the largest operating coal mines in Queensland, acquiring a coal resource mine development lease near Pentland, Queensland, and advancing the development of its flagship Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project (the “Gladstone Project”). The AFE business underpins the future value of the Company and, to that end, on October 10, 2019, we and AFE entered into a definitive agreement to merge the two entities, among other transactions.

 

We have determined that we did not have adequate cash to continue the commercialization of SGT due primarily to our inability to realize financial results from our two investment into projects in China and three technology licensed projects in China as well as our inability to quickly develop alternative technology income sources in Australia, Poland and other global regions. As a result, in our fiscal third quarter and the current quarter, we suspended our global SGT commercialization efforts, we undertook operating expense reductions, we severed our SGT technology resources, we ceased providing funds to project developments, we continue to explore the divesting of assets such as our Yima and TSEC Joint Ventures and we formed a special committee of the board of directors to evaluate financing and restructuring alternatives. On October 10, 2019, we announced the proposed merger with AFE and the acquisition of additional ownership in Batchfire Resources.

 

For a discussion on the proposed Merger with AFE and the related transactions, see “Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

 

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Results of Operations

 

Year Ended June 30, 2019 (“Current Year”) Compared to the Year Ended June 30, 2018 (“Prior Year”)

 

Revenue. There was no revenue for the Current Year as compared to $1.5 million for the Prior Year. The revenue for the Prior Year was primarily due to $0.9 million of payments of past due invoices related to technical consulting and engineering services provided to our Yima Joint Venture during the construction and commissioning period, due to uncertainty of receipts from the Yima Joint Venture, we only record revenues upon receipt of payment, $0.2 million related to our collection of past due invoices from our TSEC Joint Venture in conjunction with our transfer of ownership, $0.1 million related to services provided to AFE and $0.3 million from a third-party paid feasibility study.

 

There was no related party consulting revenue for the Current Year as compared to $1.2 million for the Prior Year, which primarily resulted from technical consulting and engineering services provided to AFE, and the past due invoices collected during the Prior Year from our Yima and TSEC joint ventures.

 

Costs of sales and operating expenses. There was no costs of sales and operating expenses for the Current Year compared to $0.4 million costs of sales and operating expenses for the Prior Year, which resulted from costs incurred for engineering services provided to customers.

 

General and administrative expenses. General and administrative expenses was $5.4 million during the Current Year as compared to $6.5 million during the Prior Year. The decrease of $1.1 million was due primarily to the reduction of employee related compensation costs, professional fees and other general and administrative expenses.

 

Stock-based expense. Stock-based expense decreased by $0.9 million to $0.4 million for the Current Year compared to $1.3 million for the Prior Year. This decrease is primarily due to fewer stock options and warrants issued during the Current Year as compared with the Prior Year.

 

Depreciation and amortization expense. Depreciation and amortization expense was approximately $0.3 million for the Current Year compared with $37,000 for the Prior Year related to amortization of our global patents, the increase was primarily due to the abandon of certain global patents.

 

Impairments. Impairment was $5.0 million for the Current Year as compared to $3.5 million for the Prior Year. We evaluated the conditions of the Yima Joint Venture to determine whether an other-than-temporary decrease in value had occurred in both the Current Year and Prior Year. We determined that there were triggering events that were other-than-temporary in both the Current Year and the Prior Year. In the Current Year, production levels exceeded expectations yet the facility continued to experience losses, experienced an increase in working capital deficits and the external debt was restructured to related Chinese partners as a result of the credit worthiness of the facility. In the Prior Year, production levels in the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2018 reduced the annual production below expectations which resulted in a net increase in the working capital deficit and increased the debt levels. An impairment analysis led to the conclusion that the investment in the Yima Joint Venture was impaired in the Current Year and the Prior Year, therefore, we recorded a $5.0 million impairment in the Current Year and a $3.5 million impairment in the Prior Year.

 

Equity in losses of joint venture. The equity in losses of joint venture was $0.2 million during the Current Year as compared to $0.7 million in the Prior Year, which primarily relates to our 35% share of the start -up losses incurred by AFE.

 

Gain on fair value adjustments of derivative liabilities. The net gain on fair value adjustments of derivative liabilities was approximately $1.9 million for the Current Year compared with 0.1 million for the Prior Year, which resulted from the lower fair market value for our Debenture Warrants and the Placement Agent Warrants as of June 30, 2019 versus June 30, 2018. The change in the derivative liability was primarily due to movements in our stock price. Other changes in the assumptions related to the passage of time, interest rate fluctuations and stock market volatility.

 

Foreign currency gain (losses). Foreign currency loss was $58,000 for the Current Year as compared to foreign currency gain of $143,000 for the Prior Year. The Current Year loss of $58,000 resulted from the 3% depreciation of the Chinese Renminbi yuan (“RMB”) to the U.S. dollar during the Current Year.

 

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Other gain: There was no other gain for the Current Year as compared to other gain of $1.7 million for the Prior Year, which was primarily due to the restructuring of the TSEC Joint Venture. The TSEC Joint Venture is accounted for under the equity method. The Company’s contribution in the formation of the venture was the TUCA, which is an intangible asset granting certain exclusive rights to our gasification technology. As such, the Company did not record a carrying value of the investment in the TSEC Joint Venture at the inception of the venture. In August 2017, the Company entered into a Restructuring Agreement and received $1.7 million related to its transfer of ownership, reducing its ownership from 35% to 25% and final transfer and registration of shares with local government authorities was completed in December 2017. The $1.7 million gain was deferred in August and recognized upon the completed registration process in December 2017, as the joint venture has no carrying value and therefore the $1.7 million received related to the transfer of ownership resulted in a gain.

 

Interest expenses: Interest expenses was $1.3 million for the Current Year as compared with $0.9 million for the Prior Year, which was primarily due to the interest payments related to the Debenture and the amortization of debenture discount and issuance costs for the Debentures issued on October 24, 2017.

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

As of June 30, 2019, we had $0.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and $34,000 of working capital. As of January 10, 2020, we had $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. Of the $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, $347,000 resides in the United States or easily accessed foreign countries and approximately $40,000 resides in China.

 

We have determined that we did not have adequate cash to continue the commercialization of SGT due primarily to our inability to realize financial results from our two investments into projects in China and three technology licensed projects in China as well as our inability to quickly develop alternative technology income sources in Australia, Poland and other global regions. As a result, in our fiscal third quarter and the current quarter, we have suspended our global SGT commercialization efforts, we undertook operating expense reductions, we ceased providing funds to project developments as we continue to explore the divesting of assets such as our Yima and TSEC Joint Ventures and we formed a special committee of the board of directors to evaluate financing and restructuring alternatives.

 

On March 29, 2019, our Board of Directors engaged Clarksons Platou Securities, Inc. (“CPS”) to act as our financial advisors to advise us as we conducted a process to evaluate financing options and strategic alternatives such as but not limited to a strategic merger, a sale, a recapitalization and/or a financing consisting of equity and/or debt securities focused on maximizing shareholder value and protecting the interests of our debtholders.

 

As a result of our efforts evaluating financing and strategic options, on October 10, 2019, we entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with AFE as previously discussed and also described in Note 16 – Subsequent EventsThe Proposed Merger with AFE. Currently our focus is on completing the steps required to complete the merger, which include but are not limited to, (i) completion of all Company required filings, (ii) curing the NASDAQ listing requirement deficiencies, (iii) completion of the Form S-4 and Proxy related to the merger, (iv) completion of the Batchfire Share Exchange pre-emptive rights process and (v) all other tasks required to complete the merger. We believe the merger will be completed during our third fiscal quarter ending March 31, 2020.

 

In connection with the entry into the Merger Agreement, the Company entered into a securities purchase and exchange agreements (each, a “New Purchase Agreements”) with each of the existing holders of its 11% senior secured debentures issued in October 2017 (the “Debentures”), whereby each of the holders agreed to exchange their Debentures and accompanying warrants (the “Debenture Warrants”) for new debentures (the “New Debentures”) and warrants (the “New Warrants”), and certain of the holders agreed to provide $2,000,000 of additional debt financing (the “Interim Financing”). Pursuant to the New Purchase Agreements, the Company also issued $2,000,000 of 11% senior secured debentures (the “Merger Debentures”) to certain accredited investors, along with warrants to purchase $4,000,000 of shares of Common Stock, half of which were Series A Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series A Merger Warrants”) and half of which were Series B Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series B Merger Warrants” and, together with the Series A Merger Warrants, the “Merger Warrants”), as part of the Interim Financing. The Company shall receive the $2,000,000 pursuant to the Merger Debentures according to the following schedule: (i) $1,000,000 on or before October 14, 2019, (ii) $500,000 upon the filing of the proxy statement for the Company stockholder approval of the Merger, and (iii) $500,000 within two business days of Company stockholder approval of the Merger. The terms of the Merger Debentures are the same as the New Debentures. The Merger Debentures are intended to assist the Company in financing its business through the closing of the Merger.

 

As compensation for its services, the Company will pay to T.R. Winston & Company, LLC (the “Placement Agent”): (i) a cash fee of $140,000 (representing an aggregate fee equal to 7% of the face amount of the Merger Debentures, as defined below); and (ii) a warrant to purchase 100,000 shares of Common Stock (the “New Placement Agent Warrant”). We have also agreed to reimburse certain expenses of the Placement Agent. of the Merger.

 

The Company has also agreed to loan $350,000 of the proceeds from the Merger Debentures to AFE to assist AFE in financing its business through the closing of the Merger. The loan is subject to interest at the rate of 11% per annum payable in full on the repayment date in conjunction with the repayment of the principal amount. The repayment date is the earlier of five days after completion of the Merger transaction or the later of March 31, 2020 or three months following the vote of the shareholders on the Merger.

 

The $1,000,000 scheduled payment on or before October 14, 2019 was subsequently received less certain legal costs and escrow fees in the amount of $966,000

 

On October 24, 2019 we entered into a loan agreement with AFE whereby we loaned a portion of the $2.0 million proceeds received under the New Purchase Agreements. Under the loan agreement, we loaned $350,000 to AFE, which is due in full on the later of March 31, 2020 or within five days following the closing of the Merger. If the Merger does not close, the loan will mature on March 31, 2020 or three months following the special stockholder meeting called to approve the merger transactions. The loan accrues interest at 11% per annum and is also due in full upon repayment, subject to an increased default interest in certain limited circumstances.

 

We can make no assurances that the proposed Merger will be completed on a timely basis or at all. We may also need to raise additional capital through equity and debt financing to complete the Merger or to otherwise strengthen our balance for our corporate general and administrative expenses. We cannot provide any assurance that any financing will be available to us in the future on acceptable terms or at all. Any such financing could be dilutive to our existing stockholders. If we cannot raise required funds on acceptable terms, we may further reduce our expenses and we may not be able to, among other things, (i) maintain our general and administrative expenses at current levels including retention of key personnel and consultants; (ii) successfully implement our business strategy; (iii) make additional capital contributions to our joint ventures; (iv) fund certain obligations as they become due; (v) respond to competitive pressures or unanticipated capital requirements; or (vi) repay our indebtedness. In addition, we may elect to sell certain investments as a source of cash to develop additional projects or for general corporate purposes.

 

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The following summarized the sources and uses of cash during the Current Year:

 

  Operating Activities: During the Current Year, we used $6.2 million in cash for operating activities compared to $6.1 million during the Prior Year. These funds were utilized to pay a full year of interest on our Debentures, additional consultants and prepayment certain expenses related to the evaluation of strategic alternatives and our general and administrative expenses.
     
  Investing Activities: During the Current Year, we used approximately $11,000 to invest in our SEE joint venture and received approximately $1,000 for disposal of fixed assets in investing activities. During the Prior Year, we had a net source of cash of $1.1 million in investing activities, which included $1.7 million proceeds from the TSEC Joint Venture share transfer, and $0.6 million additional investment in AFE and SEE.
     
  Financing Activities: There was no financing activities for the Current Year. During the Prior Year, we had a net source of cash of $7.2 million in which we received net proceeds of $7.4 million from issuance of the debentures and paid legal fees of $0.2 million related to issuance costs of our Debentures.

 

Project Accounting

 

Australian Future Energy Pty Ltd

 

We account for our investment in AFE under the equity method. Our ownership of approximately 36% makes us the second largest shareholder. We also maintain a seat on the board of directors which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of AFE. On June 30, 2019, we owned approximately 36% of AFE and the carrying value of our investment in AFE as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

Batchfire Resources Pty Ltd

 

We account for our investment in BFR under the cost method due to our limited investment, approximately 7%, and lack of significant influence. At the time of the spin-off, the carrying amount of our investment in AFE was reduced to zero through equity losses. As such, the value of the investment in BFR post spin-off was also zero. On June 30, 2019, our ownership in BFR was approximately 7% and the carrying value of our investment in BFR was zero as of June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018.

 

Cape River Resources Pty Ltd

 

We account for our investment in CRR under the equity method. Our ownership of approximately 37% makes us the second largest shareholder. We also maintain a seat on the board of directors which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of CRR. On June 30, 2019, we owned approximately 37% of AFE and the carrying value of our investment in AFE as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

Townsville Metals Infrastructure Pty Ltd

 

We account for our investment in TMI under the equity method. Our ownership of 38% makes us the second largest shareholder. We also maintain a seat on the board of directors which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of TMI. On June 30, 2019, we owned approximately 38% of AFE and the carrying value of our investment in AFE as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

SES EnCoal Energy sp. z o. o.

 

We account for our investment in SEE under the equity method. Our ownership of 50% makes us an equal shareholder and we also maintain two of the four seats on the board of directors which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of SEE. On June 30, 2019, as an equal shareholder, our ownership was 50% of SEE and the carrying value of our investment in SEE as of June 30, 2019 and 2018 was approximately $19,000 and $36,000 respectively.

 

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Yima Joint Venture

 

The Yima Joint Venture is accounted for under the cost method of accounting. Our conclusion to account for this joint venture under this methodology is based upon our current and historical lack of significant influence in the Yima Joint Venture. The lack of significant influence was determined based upon our interactions with the Yima Joint Venture related to our limited participation in operating and financial policymaking processes coupled with our limited ability to influence decisions which contribute to the financial success of the Yima Joint Venture. The carrying value of our Yima Joint Venture investment as of June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was approximately zero and $5.0 million respectively.

 

Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited

 

The TSEC Joint Venture is accounted for under the equity method. Our initial capital contribution in the formation of the venture was the TUCA, which is an intangible asset. As such, we did not record a carrying value at the inception of the venture. The carrying value of our investment in the TSEC Joint Venture as of both June 30, 2019 and 2018 was zero. As such in December 2017, the proceeds related to the transfer of shares, 11.15 million RMB (approximately $1.7 million) was recorded as a gain when the final transfer of shares with local government authorities was completed.

 

Under the equity method of accounting, losses in the venture are not recorded if the losses cause the carrying value to be negative and there is no requirement of the Company to contribute additional capital. As we are not required to contribute additional capital, we have not recognized losses in the venture, as this would cause the carrying value to be negative. Had we recognized our share of the losses related to the venture, we would have recognized losses of approximately $0.3 million and $0.5 million for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018, respectively, and $3.7 million from inception to date.

 

Critical Accounting Policies

 

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or “GAAP”, requires our management to make certain estimates and assumptions which are inherently imprecise and may differ significantly from actual results achieved. We believe the following are our critical accounting policies due to the significance, subjectivity and judgment involved in determining our estimates used in preparing our consolidated financial statements. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions used in preparing our consolidated financial statements on an ongoing basis utilizing historic experience, anticipated future events or trends and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. The resulting effects of changes in our estimates are recorded in our consolidated financial statements in the period in which the facts and circumstances that give rise to the change in estimate become known.

 

We believe the following describes significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements:

 

Reverse Stock Split

 

On July 22, 2019, we enacted a 1 for 8 reverse stock split as approved by the shareholders at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders held in June 2019. All share and per share amounts in the consolidated financial statements and this discussion and analysis have been retroactively restated to reflect the reverse stock split.

 

Revenue Recognition

 

We adopted Accounting Standards Codification No. 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606) beginning July 1, 2018. We have elected to adopt ASC 606 under the modified retrospective method, under the modified retrospective method, we applied the guidance retrospectively only to the most current period presented in the Company’s consolidated financial statements. To do so, we have to recognize the cumulative effect of initially applying the standard as an adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings at the date of initial application with the prior period presented without change. Since an entity may elect to apply the modified retrospective method to either all contracts as of the date of initial application or only to contracts that are not completed as of this date, we have elected to apply the modified retrospective method only to those contracts not completed before the date of initial application. Due to the limited number of contracts and revenue related to these contracts, we had no cumulative adjustment.

 

Technology licensing revenue is typically received over the course of a project’s development as milestones are met. We may receive upfront licensing fee payments when a license agreement is entered into. Typically, the majority of a license fee is due once project financing and equipment installation occur. We recognize license fees as revenue when the license fees become due and payable under the license agreement, subject to the deferral of the amount of the performance guarantee. Fees earned for engineering services, such as services that relate to integrating our technology to a customer’s project, are recognized using the percentage-of-completion method or as services are provided.

 

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Accounting for Variable Interest Entities and Financial Statement Consolidation Criteria

 

The joint ventures which we have entered into may be considered a variable interest entity, (“VIE”). We consolidate all VIEs where we are the primary beneficiary. This determination is made at the inception of our involvement with the VIE and is continuously assessed. We consider qualitative factors and form a conclusion that we, or another interest holder, has a controlling financial interest in the VIE and, if so, whether it is the primary beneficiary. In order to determine the primary beneficiary, we consider who has the power to direct activities of the VIE most significantly impacts the VIE’s performance and has the obligation to absorb losses from or receive benefits of the VIE that could be significant to the VIE. We do not consolidate VIEs where we are not the primary beneficiary. We account for these unconsolidated VIEs using either the equity method if we have significant influence but not control, or cost method and include our net investment on our consolidated balance sheet. Under the equity method, our equity interest in the net income or loss from our unconsolidated VIEs is recorded in non-operating income/expense on a net basis on our consolidated statements of operations. In the event of a change in ownership, any gain or loss resulting from an investee share issuance is recorded in earnings. Controlling interest is determined by majority ownership interest and the ability to unilaterally direct or cause the direction of management and policies of an entity after considering any third-party participation rights.

 

Investment in Joint Ventures

 

We have equity investments in various privately held entities. We account for these investments either under the equity method or cost method of accounting depending on our ownership interest and level of influence in each joint venture. Investments accounted for under the equity method are recorded based upon the amount of our investment and adjusted each period for our share of the investee’s income or loss. Investments are reviewed for changes in circumstance or the occurrence of events that suggests other-than-temporary event where our investment may not be recoverable.

 

Impairment Evaluation of Long-Lived Assets

 

We evaluate our long-lived assets and specifically identified intangibles, when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of such assets may not be recoverable. When we believe an impairment condition or “triggering event” may have occurred, we are required to estimate the undiscounted future cash flows associated with a long-lived asset or group of long-lived assets at the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of other assets and liabilities for long-lived assets that are expected to be held and used. If we determine that the undiscounted cash flows from an asset to be held and used are less than the carrying amount of the asset, or if we have classified an asset as held for sale, we estimate fair value to determine the amount of any impairment charge.

 

The following summarizes some of the most significant estimates and assumptions used in evaluating if we have an impairment charge.

 

Undiscounted Expected Future Cash Flows. In order to estimate future cash flows, we consider historical cash flows and changes in the market environment and other factors that may affect future cash flows. To the extent applicable, the assumptions we use are consistent with forecasts that we are otherwise required to make (for example, in preparing our other earnings forecasts). The use of this method involves inherent uncertainty. We use our best estimates in making these evaluations and consider various factors, including forward price curves for energy, feedstock costs, and other operating costs. However, actual future market prices and project costs could vary from the assumptions used in our estimates, and the impact of such variations could be material.

 

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Fair Value. Generally, fair value will be determined using valuation techniques such as the present value of expected future cash flows. We will also discount the estimated future cash flows associated with the asset using a single interest rate representative of the risk involved with such an investment. We may also use different valuation models, such as Black-Scholes, to assist in the determining the value of certain options or in valuing the optionality of investments in equity. We may also consider prices of similar assets, consult with brokers, or employ other valuation techniques. We use our best estimates in making these evaluations; however, actual future market prices and project costs could vary from the assumptions used in our estimates, and the impact of such variations could be material.

 

Off Balance Sheet Arrangements

 

In November 2018, we entered into a new office lease agreement for 12 months expiring on December 31, 2019 for our corporate offices in Houston, Texas, on December 31, 2019, we extended the office lease agreement through March 31, 2020.

 

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

 

In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, which creates ASC Topic 842, “Leases.” This update increases transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing arrangements. This guidance is effective for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018. We are evaluating what impact, if any, the adoption of this guidance will have on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or financial disclosures.

 

In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-07, which expands the scope of Topic 718, “Compensation – Stock Compensation”, to include share-based payment transactions for acquiring goods and services from non-employees. An entity should apply the requirements of Topic 718 to non-employee awards except for specific guidance on inputs to an option pricing model and the attribution of cost. This amendment specify that Topic 718 applies to all share-based payment transactions in which a grantor acquires goods or services to be used or consumed in a grantor’s own operations by issuing share-based payment awards. This amendment also clarifies that Topic 718 does not apply to share-based payments used to effectively provide (1) financing to the issuer or (2) awards granted in conjunction with selling goods or services to customers as part of a contract accounted for under Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. The standard is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within that fiscal year. We do not expect the standard to have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or financial disclosures.

 

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk

 

Not applicable.

 

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Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

  Page
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm 45
   
Consolidated Balance Sheets as of June 30, 2019 and 2018 46
   
Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 47
   
Consolidated Statements of Other Comprehensive Loss for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 48
   
Consolidated Statements of Equity for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 49
   
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 50
   
Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements 51

 

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

To the Board of Directors and Stockholders of

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc.

 

Opinion on the Financial Statements

 

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. and its subsidiaries (the Company) as of June 30, 2019 and 2018, the related consolidated statements of operations, other comprehensive income, stockholders’ equity and cash flows for the years then ended, and the related notes to the consolidated financial statements (collectively, the financial statements). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of June 30, 2019 and 2018, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the years then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

Emphasis of a Matter

 

The accompanying financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in Note 1 to the financial statements, the Company has suffered recurring losses from operations and has limited cash resources. This raises substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. Management’s plans in regard to these matters also are described in Note 1. The financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty.

 

Basis for Opinion

 

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits, we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.

 

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

/s/ RSM US LLP

 

We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2017.

 

Houston, Texas

January 10, 2020

 

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SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC.

Consolidated Balance Sheets

(In thousands, except par value amounts)

 

   June 30, 2019   June 30, 2018 
ASSETS          
Current assets:          
Cash and cash equivalents  $871   $7,071 
Accounts receivable – related party, net       287 
Prepaid expenses   768    172 
Other current assets   199    547 
           
Total current assets   1,838    8,077 
           
Property, plant and equipment, net       10 
Intangible asset, net   794    1,038 
Investment in joint ventures   19    5,036 
Other long-term assets   5    153 
           
Total assets  $2,656   $14,314 
           
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY          
Current liabilities:          
Accrued expenses and accounts payable  $834   $1,211 
Accrued royalty expenses   750    250 
Accrued interest payable   220    220 
           
Total current liabilities   1,804    1,681 
           
Senior secured debenture principal   8,000    8,000 
Less unamortized discount and debt issuance costs   (2,165)   (2,610)
Total senior secured debenture   5,835    5,390 
           
Derivative liabilities   87    1,964 
           
Total long-term liabilities   5,922    7,354 
           
Total liabilities  $7,726   $9,035 
Commitment and contingencies (Note 14)          
           
Stockholders’ equity:          
Preferred stock, $0.01 par value- 20,000 shares authorized – no  shares issued and outstanding        
Common stock, $0.01 par value: 200,000 shares authorized: 1,395 and 1,377 shares issued and outstanding, respectively   14    14 
Additional paid-in capital   265,533    265,162 
Accumulated deficit   (270,784)   (260,068)
Accumulated other comprehensive income   244    244 
Total stockholders’ equity to SES stockholders   (4,993)   5,352 
Noncontrolling interests in subsidiaries   (77)   (73)
           
Total stockholders’ equity   (5,070)   5,279 
           
Total liabilities and equity  $

2,656

   $14,314 

 

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

 

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SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC.

Consolidated Statements of Operations

(In thousands, except per share amounts)

 

   Year Ended June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Revenue:          
Technology licensing and related services  $   $269 
Related party consulting services       1,238 
Total revenue       1,507 
Costs and Expenses:          
Costs of sales       413 
General and administrative expenses   5,437    6,450 
Stock-based expense   371    1,258 
Depreciation and amortization   

258

    37 
Impairments   5,000    3,500 
Total costs and expenses   

11,066

    11,658 
Operating loss   (11,066)   (10,151)
Non-operating income (expense):          
Equity in losses of joint ventures   (198)   (715)
Gain on fair value adjustments of derivative liabilities   1,877    126 
Foreign currency gain (losses), net   (58)   143 
Interest expense   (1,326)   (869)
Interest income   51    43 
Other gain       1,689 
Net loss before income tax provision   (10,720)   (9,734)
Income tax benefit/(provision)       129 
Net loss   

(10,720

)   (9,605)
Less: net loss attributable to non-controlling interests   (4)   (1)
Net loss attributable to SES stockholders  $(10,716)  $(9,604)
Net loss per share attributable to SES stockholders  $

(7.74

)  $(7.01)
Weighted average common shares outstanding:          
Basic and diluted   1,384    1,370 

 

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

 

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SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC.

Consolidated Statements of Other Comprehensive Loss

(In thousands)

 

   Year Ended June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Net loss  $(10,720)  $(9,605)
Cumulative translation adjustment       (189)
Gain on disposition of investment in subsidiary       254 
Comprehensive loss   (10,720)   (9,540)
Less:          
Comprehensive gain attributable to noncontrolling interests   (4)   651 
Comprehensive loss attributable to the Company  $(10,716)  $(10,191)

 

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

 

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SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC.

Consolidated Statements of Equity

(In thousands)

 

   Common Stock   Additional       Accumulated Other   Non-     
   Shares   Common Stock   Paid-in Capital   Accumulated Deficit   Comprehensive Income   Controlling Interest   Total 
Balance at June 30, 2017   1,368   $14   $263,904   $(250,464)  $831   $(724)  $13,561 
Net loss               (9.604)       (1)   (9,605)
Currency translation adjustment                   (189)       (189)
Gain on disposition of investment in subsidiary                   (398)   

652

    254 
Stock-based expense   9        1,258                1,258 
Balance at June 30, 2018   1,377   $14   $265,162   $(260,068)  $244   $(73)  $5,279 
                                    
Balance at June 30, 2018   1,377   $14   $265,162   $(260,068)  $244   $(73)  $5,279 
Net loss               

(10,716

)       (4)   (10,720)
Stock-based expense   18        371                371 
Balance at June 30, 2019   1,395    14    265,533    (270,784)   244    (77)   (5,070)

 

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

 

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SYNTHESISENERGY SYSTEMS, INC.

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

(In thousands)

 

   Year Ended June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Cash flows from operating activities:          
Net loss  $(10,720)  $(9,605)
Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash flow from operating activities:          
Stock-based expense   371    1,258 
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment   8    15 
Amortization of debenture issuance cost   446    265 
Amortization of intangible and other assets   250    22 
Impairments   5,000    3,500 
Gain on fair value adjustment of derivative   (1,877)   (126)
Gain on investment       (311)
Other gains       (1,689)
Equity in losses of joint ventures   198    715 
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:          
Accounts receivable - related party, net   187    (272)
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   (246)   (172)
Inventory       43 
Other long-term assets   142    (185)
Accrued expenses and accounts payable   51    422 
Net cash used in operating activities   (6,190)   (6,120)
Cash flows from investing activities:          
Proceeds from TSEC Joint Venture share transfer        1,689 
Proceeds from disposal of property, plant and equipment   1     
Equity investment in joint ventures   (11)   (562)
Net cash used in investing activities   (10)   1,127 
Cash flows from financing activities:          
Gross proceeds from issuance of debenture       8,000 
Payments on debenture issuance cost       (786)
Net cash provided by financing activities       7,214 
           
Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents   (6,200)   2,221 
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of year   7,071    4,988 
Effect of exchange rates on cash       (138)
Cash and cash equivalents, end of year  $871   $7,071 
           
Supplemental Disclosures:          
Cash paid for interest expense during the year:  $880   $384 

 

Non-cash investing activities during the year ended June 30, 2019:

 

  The company exchanged $100,000 of accounts receivable for $100,000 additional investment in AFE for the year ended June 30, 2019.
  The company received a total of 1,000,000 shares of AFE as down payment paid by AFE according to the Option Agreement recorded as additional investment in AFE and a deferred liability.
    Option agreement subsequently terminated in August 2019.

 

Non-cash investing activities during the year ended June 30, 2018:

 

  The company exchanged $150,000 of accounts receivable for $150,000 additional investment in AFE for the year ended June 30, 2018.
  The company issued a total of 1,000,000 shares of warrants as discount to the debenture with a total fair value of approximately $2.0 million on the date of issuance.
  The company issued a total of 70,000 shares of warrants to the placement agency with a total fair value of approximately $0.1 million on the date of issuance.

 

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements.

 

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SYNTHESIS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC.

Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

 

Note 1 — Business and Liquidity

 

(a) Organization and description of business

 

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (referred to herein as “we”, “us” and “our”), together with its wholly-owned and majority-owned controlled subsidiaries is a global clean energy company that owns proprietary technology, SES Gasification Technology (“SGT”), for the low-cost and environmentally responsible production of synthesis gas (referred to as the “syngas”). Syngas is used to produce a wide variety of high-value clean energy and chemical products, such as synthetic natural gas, power, methanol, and fertilizer. Our focus has been on commercializing our technology both in China and globally through the regional business platforms we have created with partners in Australia, via Australia Future Energy Pty Ltd (“AFE”), in Poland, via SES EnCoal Energy sp. zo. o (“SEE”) and in China, via Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited (“TSEC Joint Venture”).

 

Over the past twelve years, we have successfully commercialized SGT primarily through our efforts in China where, between 2006 and 2016, we invested in and built two commercial scale gasification projects together with Chinese partners and sub-licensed the SGT into three additional projects in China. In the aggregate, we have completed five commercial scale industrial projects in China over a ten-year period, in which the projects utilize twelve SES proprietary SGT systems. We believe the completion of these projects in China propelled SGT into a globally recognized gasification technology.

 

In 2014, we undertook efforts to expand into other regions of the world and created AFE, a joint venture with partners Ambre Investments PTY Limited (“Ambre”) in Australia, and in 2017, created SEE in Poland, with its partners from EnInvestments sp. z o.o. These regions are ideal locations for industrial projects utilizing the SGT due to high energy prices and limited access to affordable natural gas, combined with an abundance of low-quality, low-cost coal resources, renewable biomass and municipal solid wastes.

 

Australia’s lack of both domestic gas and a uniform energy policy has created a shortage of reliable energy supply and rising consumer prices, creating a need and demand for more environmentally friendly and cleaner energy solutions. AFE was established for the purpose of building large-scale vertically integrated projects using SGT to produce syngas used in manufacturing fuel gas, synthetic natural gas, agricultural and other chemicals, transportation fuels, explosives and for power generation and also to secure ownership positions in local resources, such as coal and biomass. AFE is able to leverage the unique flexible feedstock capability of SGT to build industrial projects with low production costs that can also reduce carbon dioxide emissions and support Australian industry and regional growth.

 

Since its formation, AFE has made significant commercial progress, creating Batchfire Resources Pty Ltd (“BFR”), which acquired one of the largest operating coal mines in Queensland, acquiring a coal resource mine development lease near Pentland, Queensland, and advancing the development of its flagship Gladstone Energy and Ammonia Project (the “Gladstone Project”). The AFE business underpins the future value of the Company and, to that end, on October 10, 2019, we and AFE entered into a definitive agreement to merge the two entities, among other transactions.

 

We have determined that we did not have adequate cash to continue the commercialization of SGT due primarily to our inability to realize financial results from our two investments into projects in China and three technology licensed projects in China as well as our inability to quickly develop alternative technology income sources in Australia, Poland and other global regions. As a result, in our fiscal third quarter and the current quarter, we have suspended our global SGT commercialization efforts, we undertook operating expense reductions, we ceased providing funds to project developments as we continue to explore the divesting of assets such as our Yima and TSEC Joint Ventures and we formed a special committee of the board of directors to evaluate financing and restructuring alternatives. On October 10, 2019, we announced the proposed merger with AFE and the acquisition of additional ownership in BFR.

 

On March 1, 2019, DeLome Fair resigned as President and Chief Executive Officer, principal financial officer and as a director on the Board of Directors. Robert Rigdon, Vice Chairman of the Board and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company succeeded Ms. Fair as President, Chief Executive Officer and principal financial officer.

 

On May 16, 2019, we received a notice of noncompliance from the Listing Qualifications Staff of the Nasdaq Stock Market (“NASDAQ”) indicating that the Company was not compliant with the minimum stockholders’ equity requirement under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(b)(1) for continued listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market because the Company’s stockholders’ equity, as reported in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2019, was below the required minimum of $2.5 million. This notice had no immediate effect on the Company’s listing. NASDAQ had provided the Company 45 calendar days or until July 1, 2019 to submit a plan of compliance in order to maintain the listing. We submitted a plan of compliance to NASDAQ addressing how we intended to regain compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(b) within 180 days of notification, or by November 12, 2019. The plan of compliance submitted by the Company was accepted by NASDAQ on July 29, 2019. Subsequent NASDAQ communications after June 30, 2019 are discussed in Note 16 – Subsequent Events Other Subsequent Events.

 

51

 

 

We operate our business from our headquarters located in Houston, Texas and our offices in Shanghai, China.

 

(b) Liquidity, Management’s Plan and Going Concern

 

As of June 30, 2019, we had $0.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and $34,000 of working capital.

 

As of January 10, 2020, we had $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. Of the $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, $347,000 resides in the United States or easily access foreign countries and approximately $40,000 resides in China.

 

We have determined that we did not have adequate cash to continue the commercialization of SGT due primarily to our inability to realize financial results from our two investments into projects in China and three technology licensed projects in China as well as our inability to quickly develop alternative technology income sources in Australia, Poland and other global regions. As a result, in our fiscal third quarter and the current quarter, we have suspended our global SGT commercialization efforts, we undertook operating expense reductions, we ceased providing funds to project developments as we continue to explore the divesting of assets such as our Yima and TSEC Joint Ventures and we formed a special committee of the board of directors to evaluate financing and restructuring alternatives.

 

On March 29, 2019, our Board of Directors engaged Clarksons Platou Securities, Inc. (“CPS”) to act as our financial advisors to advise us as we conducted a process to evaluate financing options and strategic alternatives such as but not limited to a strategic merger, a sale, a recapitalization and/or a financing consisting of equity and/or debt securities focused on maximizing shareholder value and protecting the interests of our debtholders.

 

As a result of our efforts evaluating financing and strategic options, on October 10, 2019 we entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with AFE as described further in Note 16 – Subsequent EventsThe Proposed Merger with AFE. Currently our focus is on completing the steps required to complete the merger, which include but are not limited to, (i) completion of all Company required filings, (ii) curing the NASDAQ listing requirement deficiencies, (iii) completion of the form S-4 and Proxy related to the merger, (iv) completion of the Batchfire Share Exchange pre-emptive rights process and (v) all other tasks required to complete the merger.

 

In connection with the entry into the Merger Agreement, the Company entered into a securities purchase and exchange agreements (each, a “New Purchase Agreements”) with each of the existing holders of its 11% senior secured debentures issued in October 2017 (the “Debentures”), whereby each of the holders agreed to exchange their Debentures and accompanying warrants (the “Debenture Warrants”) for new debentures (the “New Debentures”) and warrants (the “New Warrants”), and certain of the holders agreed to provide $2,000,000 of additional debt financing (the “Interim Financing”). Pursuant to the New Purchase Agreements, the Company also issued $2,000,000 of 11% senior secured debentures (the “Merger Debentures”) to certain accredited investors, along with warrants to purchase $4,000,000 of shares of Common Stock, half of which were Series A Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series A Merger Warrants”) and half of which were Series B Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series B Merger Warrants” and, together with the Series A Merger Warrants, the “Merger Warrants”), as part of the Interim Financing. The Company shall receive the $2,000,000 pursuant to the Merger Debentures according to the following schedule: (i) $1,000,000 on or before October 14, 2019, (ii) $500,000 upon the filing of the proxy statement for the Company stockholder approval of the Merger, and (iii) $500,000 within two business days of Company stockholder approval of the Merger. The terms of the Merger Debentures are the same as the New Debentures. The Merger Debentures are intended to assist the Company in financing its business through the closing of the Merger.

 

As compensation for its services, the Company will pay to T.R. Winston & Company, LLC (the “Placement Agent”): (i) a cash fee of $140,000 (representing an aggregate fee equal to 7% of the face amount of the Merger Debentures, as defined below); and (ii) a warrant to purchase 100,000 shares of Common Stock (the “New Placement Agent Warrant”). We have also agreed to reimburse certain expenses of the Placement Agent.

 

The Company has also agreed to loan $350,000 of the proceeds from the Merger Debentures to AFE to assist AFE in financing its business through the closing of the Merger. The loan is subject to interest at the rate of 11% per annum payable in full on the repayment date in conjunction with the repayment of the principal amount. The repayment date is the earlier of five days after completion of the Merger transaction or the later of March 31, 2020 or three months following the vote of the shareholders on the Merger.

 

The $1,000,000 scheduled payment on or before October 14, 2019 was subsequently received less certain legal costs and escrow fees in the amount of $966,000.

 

On October 24, 2019 we entered into a loan agreement with AFE whereby we loaned a portion of the $2.0 million proceeds received under the New Purchase Agreements. Under the loan agreement, we loaned $350,000 to AFE, which is due in full on the later of March 31, 2020 or within five days following the closing of the Merger. If the Merger does not close, the loan will mature on March 31, 2020 or three months following the special stockholder meeting called to approve the merger transactions. The loan accrues interest at 11% per annum and is also due in full upon repayment, subject to an increased default interest in certain limited circumstances.

 

We can make no assurances that the proposed Merger will be completed on a timely basis or at all. In addition, we may be forced to seek relief to avoid or end insolvency through other proceedings including bankruptcy. Based on the historical negative cash flows and the continued limited cash inflows in the period subsequent to year end there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

 

Note 2 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

 

(a) Reverse Stock Split

 

On July 22, 2019, we enacted a 1 for 8 reverse stock split as approved by the shareholders at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders held in June 2019. All share and per share amounts in the consolidated financial statements have been retroactively restated to reflect the reverse stock split.

 

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(b) Basis of Presentation and Principles of Consolidation

 

The consolidated financial statements are in U.S. dollars. Non-controlling interests in consolidated subsidiaries in the consolidated balance sheets represents minority stockholders’ proportionate share of the equity including any contractual relationships in such subsidiaries. All significant intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

 

(c) Accounting for Variable Interest Entities and Financial Statement Consolidation Criteria

 

We have equity investments in various privately held entities. We account for these investments either under the equity method or cost method of accounting depending on our ownership interest and the level of our influence in each joint venture. Investments accounted for under the equity method are recorded based upon the amount of our investment and adjusted each period for our share of the investee’s income or loss. Cost method investments are recorded at cost less any impairments. All investments are reviewed for changes in circumstance or the occurrence of events that suggest an other-than-temporary event where our investment may not be recoverable.

 

The joint ventures which we have entered into may be considered a variable interest entity, (“VIE”). We consolidate all VIEs where we are the primary beneficiary. This determination is made at the inception of our involvement with the VIE and is continuously re-assessed. We consider qualitative factors and form a conclusion that we, or another interest holder, has a controlling financial interest in the VIE and, if so, whether it is the primary beneficiary. To determine the primary beneficiary, we consider who has the power to direct activities of the VIE that most significantly impacts the VIE’s performance and has the obligation to absorb losses from or the right to receive benefits of the VIE that could be significant to the VIE. We do not consolidate VIEs where we are not the primary beneficiary. As noted above, we account for these unconsolidated VIEs using either the equity method if we have significant influence but not control, or the cost method and include our net investment on our consolidated balance sheet. Under the equity method, our equity interest in the net income or loss from our investments are recorded as non-operating income/expense on a net basis on our consolidated statements of operations. In the event of a change in ownership, any gain or loss resulting from an investee share issuance is recorded in earnings. Controlling interest is determined by majority ownership interest and the ability to unilaterally direct or cause the direction of management and policies of an entity after considering any third-party participatory rights. Our investments are as follows:

 

We have determined that AFE (as defined in Note 4 – Current ProjectsAustralian Future Energy Pty Ltd) is a VIE that we are not the primary beneficiary as other shareholders have a 65% ownership interest, we are not the largest shareholder and we do not have the power to direct the activities of the VIE. We account for our investment in AFE under the equity method. The carrying value of our investment in AFE as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

We have determined that BFR (as defined in Note 4 – Current ProjectsBatchfire Resources Pty Ltd) is a VIE that we are not the primary beneficiary as other shareholders have more than an 92% ownership interest nor do we have the power to direct the activities of the VIE. We account for our investment in BFR under the cost method. At the time of the spin-off from AFE, the carrying value of our investment in AFE was reduced to zero through equity losses. As such, the value of our investment in BFR was also zero. The carrying value of our investment in BFR at both June 30, 2019 and 2018 was zero.

 

We have determined that CRR (as defined in Note 4 – Current ProjectsCape River Resources Pty Ltd) is a VIE that we are not the primary beneficiary as other shareholders have a 63% ownership interest, we are not the largest shareholder and we do not have the power to direct the activities of the VIE. We account for our investment in CRR under the equity method. The carrying value of our investment in CRR as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

We have determined that TMI (as defined in Note 4 – Current ProjectsTownsville Metals Infrastructure Pty Ltd) is a VIE that we are not the primary beneficiary as other shareholders have a 62% ownership interest, we are not the largest shareholder and we do not have the power to direct the activities of the VIE. We account for our investment in TMI under the equity method. The carrying value of our investment in TMI as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

We have determined that SEE (as defined in Note 4 – Current ProjectsSES EnCoal Energy sp. z o. o) is a VIE that we are not the primary beneficiary as the ownership of the company is split between two equal shareholders, each with a 50% ownership interest. We have the power to influence but not direct the activities of the VIE. We account for our investment in SEE under the equity method. The initial capitalization of the company was funded in January 2018 with additional funding in March 2018 and in August 2018. The carrying value of our investment in SEE at June 30, 2019 and 2018 was approximately $19,000 and $35,000 respectively.

 

We have determined that the Yima Joint Venture (as defined in Note 4 – Current ProjectsYima Joint Venture) is a VIE of which Yima, our joint venture partner, is the primary beneficiary since they have a 75% ownership interest in the Yima Joint Venture and the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly influence the VIE’s performance. We have also determined that our 25% ownership interest does not allow us to influence the activities of the VIE. We account for our investment in the Yima Joint Venture under the cost method. The carrying value of our investment in Yima Joint Venture at June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero and approximately $5.0 million respectively. See Note 4 – Current ProjectsYima Joint Venture for a further discussion of our accounting method.

 

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We have determined that the TSEC Joint Venture (as defined in Note 4- Current ProjectsTianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited) is a VIE of which STT, the largest joint venture partner, is the primary beneficiary since STT has a 50% ownership interest in the TSEC Joint Venture and has the power to direct the activities of the TSEC Joint Venture that most significantly influence its performance. We account for our investment in the TSEC Joint Venture under the equity method. Because of losses sustained by the TSEC Joint Venture, the carrying value of this joint venture at both June 30, 2019 and 2018 was zero. See Note 4 – Current Projects - Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited for a further discussion of our accounting method.

 

(d) Revenue Recognition

 

We adopted Accounting Standards Codification No. 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606) beginning July 1, 2018. We have elected to adopt ASC 606 under the modified retrospective method, under the modified retrospective method, we applied the guidance retrospectively only to the most current period presented in the Company’s consolidated financial statements. To do so, we have to recognize the cumulative effect of initially applying the standard as an adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings at the date of initial application with the prior period presented without change. Since an entity may elect to apply the modified retrospective method to either all contracts as of the date of initial application or only to contracts that are not completed as of this date, we have elected to apply the modified retrospective method only to those contracts not completed before the date of initial application. Due to the limited number of contracts and revenue related to these contracts, we had no cumulative adjustment.

 

Technology licensing revenue is typically received over the course of a project’s development as milestones are met. We may receive upfront licensing fee payments when a license agreement is entered into. Typically, the majority of a license fee is due once project financing and equipment installation occur. We recognize license fees as revenue when the license fees become due and payable under the license agreement, subject to the deferral of the amount of the performance guarantee. Fees earned for engineering services, such as services that relate to integrating our technology to a customer’s project, are recognized using the percentage-of-completion method or as services are provided.

 

There were no license fee revenues was recorded in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 or 2018. There were no revenues related to the sales of services or equipment in fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. Revenues of $250,000 related to percentage of completion projects and $1,257,000 related to services provided or due to uncertainty when collected were recorded in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.

 

(e) Use of estimates

 

The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States requires management to make estimates that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Management considers many factors in selecting appropriate operational and financial accounting policies and controls, and in developing the assumptions that are used in the preparation of these consolidated financial statements. Management must apply significant judgment in this process. Among the factors, but not fully inclusive of all factors that may be considered by management in these processes are: the range of accounting policies permitted by generally accepted accounting principles in the United States; management’s understanding of the Company’s business for both historical results and expected future results; the extent to which operational controls exist that provide high degrees of assurance that all desired information to assist in the estimation is available and reliable or whether there is greater uncertainty in the information that is available upon which to base the estimate; expectations of the future performance of the economy, both domestically, and globally, within various areas that serve the Company’s principal customers and suppliers of goods and services; expected rates of exchange, sensitivity and volatility associated with the assumptions used in developing estimates; and whether historical trends are expected to be representative of future trends. The estimation process at times may yield a range of potentially reasonable estimates of the ultimate future outcomes and management must select an amount that lies within that range of reasonable estimates based upon the risks associated with the variability that might be expected from the future outcome and the factors considered in developing the estimate. Management attempts to use its business and financial accounting judgment in selecting the most appropriate estimate, however, actual amounts could and will differ from those estimates.

 

(f) Fair value measurements

 

Accounting standards require that fair value measurements be classified and disclosed in one of the following categories:

 

  Level 1 Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets that are accessible at the measurement date for identical, unrestricted assets or liabilities;
     
  Level 2 Quoted prices in markets that are not active, or inputs that are observable, either directly or indirectly, for substantially the full term of the asset or liability; and
     
  Level 3 Prices or valuation techniques that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable (i.e., supported by little or no market activity).

 

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The Company’s financial assets and liabilities are classified based on the lowest level of input that is significant for the fair value measurement. The following table summarizes the assets of the Company measured at fair value as of June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 (in thousands):

 

   June 30, 2019 
   Level 1   Level 2   Level 3   Total 
Assets:                    
Certificates of Deposit  $   $50(1)  $   $50 
Money Market Funds   369(2)           369 
Non-recurring Investment in Yima Joint Venture                
                     
Liabilities:                    
Derivative liabilities  $   $   $87   $87 

 

   June 30, 2018 
   Level 1   Level 2   Level 3   Total 
Assets:                    
Certificates of Deposit  $   $50 (1)  $   $50 
Money Market Funds   4,345(2)           4,345 
Non-recurring Investment in Yima Joint Venture           5,000(3)   5,000 
                     
Liabilities:                    
Derivative liabilities  $   $   $1,964   $1,964 

 

  (1) Amount included in current assets on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets.
  (2)

Amount included in cash and cash equivalents on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet.

  (3) Significant unobservable inputs were used to calculate the fair value of the investment in Yima Joint Venture. These inputs included forecasted methanol and coal prices, calculated discount rates and discount for lack of marketability as the majority owner is a state-owned entity in China, volatility analysis and information received from the joint venture.

 

The following table sets forth the changes in the estimated fair value for our Level 3 classified derivative liabilities (in thousands):

 

   Year ended 
   June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Beginning balance - investment in Yima joint venture  $5,000   $8,500 
Impairments   (5,000)   (3,500)
Ending balance - investment in Yima joint venture  $   $5,000 

 

   Year ended 
   June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Beginning balance - derivative liabilities  $1,964   $2,090 
Change in fair value   (1,877)   (126)
Ending balance – derivative liabilities  $87   $1,964 

 

The carrying values of the certificates of deposit and money market funds approximate fair value, which were estimated using quoted market prices for those or similar investments. The carrying value of other financial instruments, including accounts receivable and accounts payable approximate their fair values due to the short maturities on those instruments. Our Debentures are recorded at face value of $8.0 million and the fair value is unable to be determined due to lack of third-party quotes and the Company’s distressed financial position. The derivative liabilities are measured at fair value using a Monte Carlo simulation valuation methodology (See also Note 7 – Derivative Liabilities for more details related to valuation and assumptions of the Company’s derivative liabilities).

 

(g) Derivative Instruments

 

We currently do not use derivative instruments to hedge exposures to cash flow, market or foreign currency risks. We account for derivatives in accordance with ASC 815, which establishes accounting and reporting for derivative instruments and hedging activities, including certain derivative instruments embedded in other financial instruments or contracts and requires recognition of all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value, regardless of hedging relationship designation.

 

(h) Cash and cash equivalents

 

The Company considers all highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less to be cash equivalents.

 

(i) Accounts receivable and allowance for doubtful accounts

 

Accounts receivable are stated at historical carrying amounts net of allowance for doubtful accounts. We establish provisions for losses on accounts receivable if it is determined that collection of all or part of an outstanding balance is not probable. Collectability is reviewed regularly, an allowance is established or adjusted, as necessary. As of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 and 2018, no allowance for doubtful accounts was necessary.

 

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(j) Property, plant, and equipment

 

Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost, net of accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is computed by using the straight-line method at rates based on the estimated useful lives of the various classes of property, plant and equipment. Estimates of useful lives are based upon a variety of factors including durability of the asset, the amount of usage that is expected from the asset, the rate of technological change and the Company’s business plans for the asset. Leasehold improvements are amortized on a straight-line basis over the shorter of the lease term or estimated useful life of the asset. Should the Company change its plans with respect to the use and productivity of property, plant and equipment, it may require a change in the useful life of the asset or incur a charge to reflect the difference between the carrying value of the asset and the proceeds expected to be realized upon the asset’s sale or abandonment. Expenditures for maintenance and repairs are expensed as incurred and significant major improvements are capitalized and depreciated over the estimated useful life of the asset.

 

(k) Intangible assets

 

Intangible assets with indefinite useful lives are not amortized but instead are tested annually for impairment, or immediately if conditions indicate that impairment could exist. Intangible assets with definite useful lives are amortized over their estimated useful lives and reviewed for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of such assets may not be recoverable. Substantial judgment is necessary in the determination as to whether an event or circumstance has occurred that may trigger an impairment analysis and in the determination of the related cash flows from the asset. Estimating cash flows related to long-lived assets is a difficult and subjective process that applies historical experience and future business expectations to revenues and related operating costs of assets. Should impairment appear to be necessary, subjective judgment must be applied to estimate the fair value of the asset, for which there may be no ready market, which often times results in the use of discounted cash flow analysis and judgmental selection of discount rates to be used in the discounting process. If the Company determines an asset has been impaired based on the projected undiscounted cash flows of the related asset group, and if the cash flow analysis indicates that the carrying amount of an asset group exceeds related undiscounted cash flows, the carrying value is reduced to the estimated fair value of the asset. We evaluated such intangibles for impairments and did not record an impairment for the year ended June 30, 2019.

 

(l) Impairment of long-lived assets

 

We evaluate our long-lived assets, such as property, plant and equipment, construction-in-progress, and specifically identified intangibles, when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of such assets may not be recoverable. When we believe an impairment condition may have occurred, it is required to estimate the undiscounted future cash flows associated with a long-lived asset or group of long-lived assets at the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows are largely independent of the cash flows of other assets and liabilities for long-lived assets that are expected to be held and used. If we determine that the undiscounted cash flows from an asset to be held and used are less than the carrying amount of the asset, or if we have classified an asset as held for sale, we estimate fair value to determine the amount of any impairment charge.

 

(m) Impairment Accounting for Cost Method Investments

 

We evaluated the conditions of the Yima Joint Venture to determine whether other-than-temporary decrease in value had occurred as of June 30, 2019 and 2018. As of June 30, 2019, management determined there was a triggering events related to the value of its investment in the Yima Joint Venture. The plant production levels exceeded expectations, yet the plant continued to experience losses and an increase in working capital deficits.

 

In May 2019, the plant was idled to perform its annual maintenance. Our joint venture partner, Yima, determined the plant would remain idle until it could obtain funds to complete the maintenance and the price of methanol reached an acceptable level, although we are not privy to what the price of methanol must reach to be considered acceptable. The plant remained idled from May 2019 until November 2019. The restarting of the plant is in line with the winter heating season where the plant provides steam to the city.

 

At June 30, 2018, management determined there was a triggering event related to the value of its investment in the Yima Joint Venture. Lower production levels in the fourth quarter reduced the annual production below expectations which resulted in a net increase in the working capital deficit and the debt levels of the joint venture. Management determined these events in both years were other-than-temporary in nature and therefore conducted an impairment analysis utilizing a discounted cash flow fair market valuation. In the June 30, 2018 valuation, we also utilized a Black-Scholes Model-Fair Value of Optionality used in valuing companies with substantial amount of debt where a discounted cash flow valuation may be inadequate for estimating fair value. In the June 30, 2019 valuation, the Black-Scholes Model-Fair Value of Optionality was not available due to the results of the discounted cash flow fair market valuation results. We did these valuations with the assistance of a third-party valuation expert. In this valuation, significant unobservable inputs were used to calculate the fair value of the investment. These inputs included forecasted methanol and coal prices, calculated discount rates and discount for lack of marketability as the majority owner is a state-owned entity in China, volatility analysis and information received from the joint venture. The valuation led to the conclusion that the investment in the Yima Joint Venture was impaired as of June 30, 2019 and, therefore, we recorded a $5.0 million impairment for the year ended June 30, 2019. The previous valuation concluded there was an impairment which resulted in a $3.5 million impairment for the year ended June 30, 2018. The carrying value of our Yima investment as of June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero and $5.0 million respectively.

 

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(n) Income taxes

 

Deferred tax liabilities and assets are determined based on temporary differences between the basis of assets and liabilities for income tax and financial reporting purposes. The deferred tax assets and liabilities are classified as long-term asset or long-term liability. Valuation allowances are established when necessary based upon the judgment of management to reduce deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized and could be necessary based upon estimates of future profitability and expenditure levels over specific time horizons in tax jurisdictions. We recognize the tax benefits from an uncertain tax position when, based on technical merits, it is more likely than not the position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities.

 

On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”) was signed into law. The Act provides for numerous significant tax law changes and modifications with varying effective dates, which include reducing the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, creating a territorial tax system, broadening the tax base, and allowing for immediate capital expensing of certain qualified property. Due to losses recorded in past years and the fact we have offset our net deferred tax assets with a valuation allowance, the Act had a minimal effect. The Act however does allow for Alternative Minimum Tax (“AMT”) to be refundable over subsequent periods. The tax benefit of approximately $129,000 was recorded for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 includes previously paid AMT tax amounts we paid in past years which are refundable under the Act.

 

(o) Foreign currency remeasurement gains and losses

 

Transactions denominated in Renminbi in SES Shanghai entity are remeasured to its functional currency of U.S. dollars at average exchange rate. Monetary assets and liabilities are remeasured to U.S. dollars at closing exchange rates, whereas non-monetary assets and liabilities are remeasured to U.S. dollars at historical rates. Remeasurement gains and losses on monetary assets and liabilities are included in the calculation of net loss.

 

(p) Stock-based expense

 

The Company has a stock-based compensation plan under which stock-based awards have been granted to employees and non-employees. Stock-based expense is accounted for in accordance with ASC 718, “Compensation – Stock Compensation.” We establish fair values for our equity awards to determine its cost and recognize the related expense over the appropriate vesting periods. We recognize expense for stock options, stock warrants, and restricted stock awards. The fair value of restricted stock awards is based on the market value as of the date of the awards, and for stock-based awards vesting based on service period, the value of the portion of the award that is ultimately expected to vest is recognized as expense over the requisite service period on a straight-line basis for each separately vesting portion of the award as if the award was, in substance, multiple awards. See Note 14 – EquityStock-Based Awards for additional information related to stock-based expense.

 

Note 3 — Recently Issued Accounting Standards

 

In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, which creates ASC Topic 842, “Leases.” This update increases transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing arrangements. This guidance is effective for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018. We are currently evaluating what impact, if any, the adoption of this guidance will have on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or financial disclosures.

 

In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-07, which expands the scope of Topic 718, “Compensation – Stock Compensation”, to include share-based payment transactions for acquiring goods and services from non-employees. An entity should apply the requirements of Topic 718 to non-employee awards except for specific guidance on inputs to an option pricing model and the attribution of cost. This amendment specify that Topic 718 applies to all share-based payment transactions in which a grantor acquires goods or services to be used or consumed in a grantor’s own operations by issuing share-based payment awards. This amendment also clarifies that Topic 718 does not apply to share-based payments used to effectively provide (1) financing to the issuer or (2) awards granted in conjunction with selling goods or services to customers as part of a contract accounted for under Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. The standard is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within that fiscal year. We do not expect the standard to have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or financial disclosures.

 

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Note 4 — Current Projects

 

Australian Future Energy Pty Ltd

 

In February 2014, we established AFE together with an Australian company, Ambre Investments PTY Limited (“Ambre”). AFE is an independently managed Australian business platform established for the purpose of building a large-scale, vertically integrated business in Australia based on developing, building and owning equity interests in financially attractive and environmentally responsible projects that produce low-cost syngas as a competitive alternative to expensive local natural gas and LNG.

 

On June 9, 2015, we entered into a Master Technology Agreement (the “MTA”) with AFE which was later revised on May 10, 2017 (as described below). Pursuant to the MTA, we have conveyed certain exclusive access rights to our gasification technology in Australia focusing on promotion and use of our technology in projects. AFE is the exclusive operational entity for business relating to our technology in Australia and AFE owns no rights to sub-license our technology. AFE will work with us on project license agreements for use of our technology as projects are developed in Australia. In return for its work, AFE will receive a share of any license fee we receive for project licenses in Australia.

 

On May 10, 2017, we entered into a project technology license agreement with AFE in connection with a project being developed by AFE in Queensland Australia. AFE intends to form a subsidiary project company and assign the project technology license agreement to that company which will assume all of the obligations of AFE thereunder. Pursuant to the project technology license agreement, we granted a non-exclusive license to use our technology at the project to manufacture syngas and to use our technology in the design of the facility. In consideration, the project technology license agreement calls for a license fee to be finalized based on the designed plant capacity and a separate fee of $2.0 million for the delivery of a process design package. The license agreement calls for license fees to be paid as project milestones are reached throughout the planning, construction and first five years of plant operations. The success and timing of the project being developed by AFE will affect if and/or when we will be able to receive all of the payments related to this license agreement. However, there can be no assurance that AFE will be successful in developing this or any other project.

 

In October 2016, AFE completed the creation and spin-off of BFR (as discussed below) as a separate standalone company which acquired and operates the Callide thermal coal mine in Queensland.

 

In August 2017, AFE completed the acquisition of a mine development lease related to the 266-million-ton resource near Pentland, Queensland through AFE’s wholly owned subsidiary, Great Northern Energy Pty Ltd (“GNE”).

 

In July 2018, we entered into a loan agreement (the “Loan Agreement”) with AFE to provide short-term funding in order to enable AFE to continue to progress its project related initiatives for the betterment of AFE shareholders and the successful promotion of their projects in the amount of 350,000 Australian Dollars, approximately $260,000. The Loan Agreement had a term of three months, subject to certain events, and an interest rate of 6%. AFE repaid the outstanding principal amount under the Loan Agreement plus interest in August 2018.

 

In September 2018, AFE’s Gladstone Project was formally announced in Queensland Parliament by Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Innovation and Planning, Mr. Cameron Dick and was declared by the Queensland Co-Ordinator General as a Co-Ordinated Project.

 

On April 4, 2019, we entered into a Technology Purchase Option Agreement (the “Option Agreement”) with AFE providing AFE with an exclusive option through July 31, 2019 to purchase 100% ownership of Synthesis Energy Systems Technology, LLC, our wholly-owned subsidiary which owns our interest in the SGT. In addition, ownership rights to SGT were to be carved out of the transaction and retained by us for China and we have a three-year option period post-closing to monetize SGT for India, Brazil, Poland and for the DRI technology market segment. On July 31, 2019, we entered into an Amendment to the Option Agreement with AFE extending the exclusive option provided in the Option Agreement through August 31, 2019. On August 31, 2019, we mutually agreed with AFE to allow the Option Agreement to terminate pursuant to its terms and no penalties or payments were due as a result of the termination of the agreement.

 

AFE issued one million shares to us in connection with the execution of the Option Agreement. AFE would also pay (i) an additional $2.0 million in three equal installments, with the first installment paid at closing and the remainder over the subsequent twelve months, and (ii) $3.8 million on the earlier of the closing of a construction financing by AFE or five years from closing. The closing of the transaction was subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements and other conditions specified in the Option Agreement. In addition to the payment schedule above, AFE issued an additional one million shares with the execution of the Option Agreement and would also pay an additional $100,000 with the first installment paid at closing as full and final settlement of outstanding invoices owing AFE to us at the date of this Option Agreement. As a result of the termination, we retained the two million shares AFE issued in connection with the Option Agreement. We accounted for the first million shares as an additional investment in AFE and a reduction of receivable amounts due from AFE with a fair value of $100,000. The second million shares were accounted for as an additional investment in AFE and a deferred liability in the amount of $70,000 as a down payment on the purchase of our subsidiary.

 

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For our ownership interest in AFE, we have been contributing cash and engineering support for AFE’s business development while Ambre contributed cash and services. Additional ownership in AFE has been granted to the AFE management team and staff individuals providing services to AFE. In August 2017 and March 2018, we elected to make additional contributions of $0.47 million and $0.16 million respectively to assist AFE with developing its business in Australia. In April 2019, we were issued two million shares in connection with the Option Agreement and its subsequent termination.

 

We account for our investment in AFE under the equity method. Our ownership of 36% makes us the second largest shareholder. We also maintain a seat on the board of directors which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of AFE. Our carrying value of our AFE investment as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

The following summarizes unaudited condensed financial information of AFE as of and for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 (in thousands):

 

   Year ended 
   June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Total assets  $1,555   $1,241 
Total equity   324    635 
Net loss   (1,515)   (1,343)

 

For more on the Merger and related transactions, see Note 16 – Subsequent EventsThe Proposed Merger with AFE.

 

Batchfire Resources Pty Ltd

 

As a result of AFE’s early stage business development efforts associated with the Callide thermal coal mine in Central Queensland, Australia, AFE created BFR. BFR was a spin-off company for which ownership interest was distributed to the existing shareholders of AFE and to the new BFR management team in December 2015. BFR is registered in Australia and was formed for the purpose of purchasing the Callide thermal coal mine from Anglo-American plc (“Anglo-American”). The Callide mine is one of the largest thermal coal mines in Australia and has been in operation for more than 40 years.

 

In October 2016, BFR stated that it had received investment support for the acquisition from Singapore-based Lindenfels Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of commodity traders Avra Commodities, and as a result, the acquisition of the Callide thermal coal mine from Anglo-America was completed.

 

On April 29, 2019, BFR issued additional shares as part of a rights offering. We did not execute our rights in this offering and therefore after the completion of the offering process and the issuance of the additional shares, our ownership interest has been diluted from approximately 11% to approximately 7%.

 

We account for our investment in BFR under the cost method. Our limited ownership interest in BFR was approximately 7% and we do not have significant influence over the operation or financial decisions made by the company. At the time of the spin-off, the carrying amount of our investment in AFE was reduced to zero through equity losses. As such, the value of the investment in BFR post spin-off was also zero. On June 30, 2019, our ownership in BFR was approximately 7% and the carrying value of our BFR investment as of both June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero.

 

For more on the Batchfire Share Exchange Agreements, see Note 16 – Subsequent EventsThe Proposed Merger with AFE.

 

Cape River Resources Pty Ltd

 

In October 2018, AFE formed a separate unrelated company, Cape River Resources Pty Ltd (“CRR”) for the purpose of developing the Pentland resource into an operating thermal coal mine. Ownership in CRR was distributed proportionately to the shareholders of AFE with additional shares issued to the management team. Our ownership in CRR was approximately 38% upon the formation of CRR through our ownership interest in AFE. GNE sold its 100% ownership interest in the Pentland Coal Mine to CRR.

 

We account for our investment in CRR under the equity method. Our ownership interest of approximately 38% makes us the second largest shareholder. We may appoint one board director for each 15% ownership interest we hold in CRR which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of CRR. Our carrying value of our CRR investment as of June 30, 2019 was zero.

 

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In September 2019, AFE repurchased all of the shares in CRR in exchange for AFE shares. The CRR shareholders received one share of AFE for every ten shares of CRR. As a result of the transaction, CRR is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AFE. The Pentland Coal Mine Project is a 266 million metric tonne thermal coal resource located approximately 230 kms southwest of Townsville in Queensland, Australia. The project is not being actively pursued at present due to funding restraints and the focus of AFE on the Gladstone Project. Following the proposed Merger, it is intended to devote additional funding and resources to this project.

 

Townsville Metals Infrastructure Pty Ltd

 

In August 2018, AFE formed a separate unrelated company, Townsville Metals Infrastructure Pty Ltd (“TMI”) for the purpose of completing the development of the required infrastructure such as rail and port modifications related to the transport of mined products including coal from the Pentland resource to the Townsville port. Ownership in TMI was distributed proportionately to the shareholders of AFE. Our ownership in TMI is approximately 38% upon the formation of TMI through our ownership interest in AFE.

 

We account for our investment in TMI under the equity method. Our ownership interest of approximately 38% makes us the second largest shareholder. We may appoint one board director for each 15% ownership interest we hold in TMI which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of TMI. Our carrying value of our TMI investment as of June 30, 2019 was zero.

 

SES EnCoal Energy sp. z o.o

 

In October 2017, we entered into agreements with Warsaw-based EnInvestments sp. z o.o. Under the terms of the agreements, we and EnInvestments are equal shareholders of SEE and SEE will exclusively market, develop, and commercialize projects in Poland which utilize our technology, services, and proprietary equipment and we share with SEE a portion of the technology license payments, net of fees, we receive from Poland. The goal of SEE is to establish efficient clean energy projects that provide Polish industries superior economic benefits as compared to the use of expensive, imported natural gas and LNG, while providing energy independence through our technological capabilities to convert the wide range of Poland’s indigenous coals, coal waste, biomass and municipal waste to valuable syngas products. SEE has developed a pipeline of projects and together with us is actively working with Polish customers and partners to complete necessary project feasibility, permitting, and SGT agreement steps required prior to starting construction on the projects.

 

For our ownership interest in SEE, we have been contributing cash and assisting in the development of SEE. SEE was initially funded in January 2018 with a cash contribution of approximately $6,000 and an additional funding in March 2018 of approximately $76,000. In August 2018, we made an additional cash contribution of approximately $11,000.

 

We account for our investment in SEE under the equity method. Our ownership of 50% makes us an equal shareholder and we also maintain two of the four seats on the board of directors which allows us to have significant influence on the operations and financial decisions, but not control, of SEE. Our carrying value of our SEE investment was approximately $19,000 and $36,000 as of June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018, respectively.

 

Midrex Technologies

 

In July 2015, we entered into a Project Alliance Agreement that expands our exclusive relationship with Midrex Technologies for integration and optimization of DRI technology using coal gasification. Midrex has taken the lead in marketing, sales, proposal development, and project execution for coal gasification DRI projects as part of the new project alliance. Midrex may also lead the construction of the fully integrated solution for customers who desire such an execution strategy. We will provide the DRI gasification technology for each project including engineering, key equipment, and technical services. The agreement includes finalization of an engineering package for the optimized coal gasification DRI solution. Prior to the Project Alliance Agreement, we also entered into an exclusive agreement with the TSEC Joint Venture and Midrex for the joint marketing of coal gasification-based DRI facilities in China. These facilities will combine our gasification technology with the Direct Reduction Process of Midrex to create syngas from low quality coals in order to convert iron ore into high-purity DRI. The TSEC Joint Venture will aid in the marketing of these DRI facilities in China and will supply the gasification equipment and licensing of the technology.

 

Yima Joint Venture

 

In August 2009, we entered into joint venture contracts and related agreements with Yima Coal Industry Group Company (“Yima”), replacing the prior joint venture contracts entered in October 2008 and April 2009. The joint ventures were formed for each of the gasification, methanol/methanol protein production, and utility island components of the plant (collectively the “Yima Joint Venture”). The joint venture contracts provided that we and Yima contribute equity of 25% and 75%, respectively, to the Yima Joint Venture. The remaining capital for the project construction has been funded with project debt obtained by the Yima Joint Venture. Yima agreed to guarantee the project debt in order to secure debt financing from domestic Chinese banking sources. We agreed to pledge to Yima our ownership interests in the joint ventures as security for our obligations. In the event that the necessary additional debt financing is not obtained, Yima agreed to provide a loan to the joint venture to satisfy the remaining capital needs of the project with terms comparable to current market rates at the time of the loan. Yima also agreed to provide coal to the project at preferential pricing under a side-letter agreement related to the JV contracts

 

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The term of the joint venture commenced June 9, 2009 at the time each joint venture company obtained its business operating license and shall end 30 years after the business license issue date, June 8, 2039. As discussed below, in November 2016, as part of an overall corporate restructuring plan, these joint ventures were combined into a single joint venture.

 

We continue to own a 25% interest in the Yima Joint Venture and Yima owns a 75% interest. Notwithstanding this, in connection with an expansion of the project, we have the option to contribute a greater percentage of capital for the expansion, such that as a result, we could expand through contributions, at our election, up to a 49% ownership interest in the Yima Joint Venture.

 

During the quarter ended June 30, 2016, the Yima Joint Venture commenced an organizational restructuring to better streamline the operations. This restructuring effort included combining the three joint ventures into a single joint venture entity and obtaining a business operating license which was completed in November 2016.

 

In December 2017 and January 2018, on-going development cooperation and discussions with the Yima Joint Venture management resulted in the joint venture agreeing to pay various costs incurred by us during the construction and commissioning period of the facility in the amount of approximately 16 million Chinese Renminbi yuan, (“RMB”) (approximately $2.5 million). As of June 30, 2018, we have received 6.15 million RMB (approximately $0.9 million) of payments from the Yima Joint Venture related to these costs. Due to uncertainty, revenues will be recorded upon receipt of payment.

 

Since 2014, we have accounted for this joint venture under the cost method of accounting. Our conclusion to account for this joint venture under this methodology is based upon our historical lack of significant influence in the Yima Joint Venture. The lack of significant influence was determined based upon our interactions with the Yima Joint Venture related to our limited participation in operating and financial policymaking processes coupled with our limited ability to influence decisions which contribute to the financial success of the Yima Joint Venture. Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, the Yima Joint Venture is to be governed by a board of directors consisting of eight directors, two of whom were appointed by us and six of whom were appointed by Yima. Although we maintain two seats on the board of directors, the board does not meet on a regular basis and management, who has been appointed by Yima has acted alone without board approval in many cases. In 2016, the board began holding periodic meetings beginning in April 2016 and again in July 2016. The next meeting was held in January 2017 and the last meeting to date was held in December 2018. Discussions at these meetings generally have not included policy decisions, but rather served a more ceremonial function. Yima’s parent company, Henan Energy Chemistry Group Company (“Henan Energy”) restructured the management of the Yima Joint Venture under the direction of the Henan Coal Gasification Company (“Henan Gasification”), which is an affiliated company reporting directly to Henan Energy. Henan Gasification currently has full authority of day to day operational and personnel decisions at the Yima Joint Venture. In May 2019, the plant was idled to perform annual maintenance. Due to lack of funds the maintenance program was delayed and a decrease in the price of methanol the plant will remain idled until Henan Energy determines the price of methanol has increased sufficiently or other determining factors dictate the restarting of the plant. Therefore, we concluded, and continue to believe, that we do not have significant influence in the matters of the Yima Joint Venture and the cost method is the appropriate accounting method. This consideration has been and continues to be monitored on a quarterly basis to assess whether that conclusion remains appropriate.

 

We evaluated the conditions of the Yima Joint Venture to determine whether other-than-temporary decrease in value had occurred as of June 30, 2019 and 2018. At June 30, 2019, management determined there were triggering events related to the value of its investment. The plant production levels exceeded expectations, yet the plant continued to experience losses and an increase in working capital deficits.

 

In May 2019, the plant was idled to perform its annual maintenance. Yima determined that the plant would remain idle until it could obtain funds to complete the maintenance and the price of methanol reached an acceptable level, although we are not privy to what the price of methanol must be reached to be considered acceptable. The plant remained idled from May 2019 until November 2019. The restarting of the plant is in line with the winter heating season where the plant provides steam to the city.

 

At June 30, 2018, management determined there was a triggering event related to the value of its investment. Lower production levels in the fourth quarter reduced the annual production below expectations which resulted in a net increase in the working capital deficit and the debt level of the joint venture. Management determined these events in both years were other than temporary in nature and therefore conducted an impairment analysis utilizing a discounted cash flow fair market valuation. In the June 30, 2018 valuation we also utilized a Black-Sholes Model-Fair Value of Optionality used in valuing companies with substantial amounts of debt where a discounted cash flow valuation may be inadequate for estimating fair value. In the June 30, 2019 valuation, the Black-Scholes Model-Fair Value of Optionality was not available due to the results of the discounted cash flow fair market valuation results. We did these valuations with the assistance of a third-party valuation expert. In this valuation, significant unobservable inputs were used to calculate the fair value of the investment (see Note 2 – (f) Use of Estimates). These inputs included forecasted methanol and coal prices, calculated discount rates, calculated discount for lack of marketability as the majority owner is a state-owned entity in China, volatility analysis and information received from the joint venture. The valuation led to the conclusion that the investment in the Yima Joint Venture was impaired as of June 30, 2019 and, therefore, we recorded a $5.0 million impairment for the year ended June 30, 2019. The previous valuation concluded there was an impairment which resulted in a $3.5 million impairment for the year ended June 30, 2018.

 

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The carrying value of our Yima Joint Venture investment as of June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 was zero and approximately $5.0 million respectively.

 

Tianwo-SES Clean Energy Technologies Limited

 

Joint Venture Contract

 

In February 2014, SES Asia Technologies Limited, one of our wholly owned subsidiaries, entered into a Joint Venture Contract (the “JV Contract”) with Zhangjiagang Chemical Machinery Co., Ltd., which subsequently changed its legal name to Suzhou Thvow Technology Co. Ltd. (“STT”), to form the TSEC Joint Venture. The purpose of the TSEC Joint Venture is to establish SGT as the leading gasification technology in the TSEC Joint Venture territory (which is China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mongolia and Malaysia) by becoming a leading provider of proprietary equipment and engineering services for the technology. The scope of the TSEC Joint Venture is to market and license SGT via project sublicenses, procurement and sale of proprietary equipment and services, coal testing, engineering, procurement, and research and development related to SGT. STT contributed 53.8 million RMB (approximately $8.0 million) in April 2014 and was required to contribute an additional 46.2 million RMB (approximately $6.8 million) within two years of such date for a total contribution of 100 million RMB (approximately $14.8 million) in cash to the TSEC Joint Venture in return for a 65% ownership interest in the TSEC Joint Venture. The second capital contribution from STT of 46.2 million RMB (approximately $6.8 million) was not paid by STT in April 2016 as required by the initial JV Contract. As part of a restructuring of the agreement described below, the obligation for payment of additional registered capital was removed.

 

We contributed certain exclusive technology sub-licensing rights into the TSEC Joint Venture for the territory pursuant to the terms of a Technology Usage and Contribution Agreement (the “TUCA”) entered into among the TSEC Joint Venture, STT and us on the same date and further described in more detail below. This resulted in our original ownership of 35% of the TSEC Joint Venture. Under the JV Contract, neither party may transfer their interests in the TSEC Joint Venture without first offering such interests to the other party.

 

In August 2017, we entered into a restructuring agreement of the TSEC Joint Venture (“Restructuring Agreement”). The agreed change in share ownership, reduction in the registered capital of the joint venture, and the final transfer of shares with local government authorities was completed in December 2017. In this restructuring, an additional party was added to the JV Contract, upon receipt of final government approvals, The Innovative Coal Chemical Design Institute (“ICCDI”) became a 25% owner of the TSEC Joint Venture, we decreased our ownership to 25% and STT decreased its ownership to 50%. ICCDI previously served as general contractor and engineered and constructed all three projects which utilize SGT in seven gasification systems for the Aluminum Corporation of China.

 

We received 11.15 million RMB (approximately $1.7 million) from ICCDI as a result of this restructuring. In conjunction with the joint venture restructuring, we also received 1.2 million RMB (approximately $180,000) related to outstanding invoices for services we had provided to the TSEC Joint Venture.

 

In addition to the ownership changes described above, TSEC Joint Venture is now managed by a board of directors (the “Board”) consisting of eight directors, four appointed by STT, two appointed by ICCDI and two appointed by us. All significant acts as described in the JV Contract require the unanimous approval of the Board.

 

The JV Contract also includes a non-competition provision which requires that the TSEC Joint Venture be the exclusive legal entity within the TSEC Joint Venture territory for the marketing and sale of any gasification technology or related equipment that utilizes low quality coal feedstock. Notwithstanding this, STT retained the right to manufacture and sell gasification equipment outside the scope of the TSEC Joint Venture within the TSEC Joint Venture territory. In addition, we retained the right to develop and invest equity in projects outside of the TSEC Joint Venture within the TSEC Joint Venture territory. As a result of the Restructuring Agreement, we have further retained the right to provide SGT licenses and to sell proprietary equipment directly into projects in the TSEC Joint Venture territory provided we have an equity interest in the project. After the termination of the TSEC Joint Venture, STT and ICCDI must obtain written consent from us to market development of any gasification technology that utilizes low quality coal feedstock in the TSEC Joint Venture territory.

 

The JV Contract may be terminated upon, among other things: (i) a material breach of the JV Contract which is not cured; (ii) a violation of the TUCA; (iii) the failure to obtain positive net income within 24 months of establishing the TSEC Joint Venture or (iv) mutual agreement of the parties.

 

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TSEC Joint Venture unaudited financial data

 

The following table presents summarized unaudited financial information for the TSEC Joint Venture for the fiscal years ended June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018 (in thousands):

 

   Year Ended 
   June 30, 
  2019   2018 
Income Statement data:          
Revenue  $151   $109 
Operating loss   (1,236)   (1,686)
Net loss   (1,247)   (1,686)

 

   As of June 30, 
  2019   2018 
Balance sheet data:          
Current assets  $3,491   $5,151 
Noncurrent assets   86    1,376 
Current liabilities   3,661    4,011 
Noncurrent liabilities        
Equity   (84)   2,516 

 

The TSEC Joint Venture is accounted for under the equity method. Our initial capital contribution in the formation of the venture was the TUCA, which is an intangible asset. As such, we did not record a carrying value at the inception of the venture. The carrying value of our investment in the TSEC Joint Venture as of both June 30, 2019 and 2018 was zero. As such in December 2017, the receipt of proceeds related to the Restructuring Agreement and transfer of shares, in the amount of 11.15 million RMB (approximately $1.7 million) were recorded as a gain when the final transfer of shares with local government authorities was completed.

 

Under the equity method, losses in the venture are not recorded if the losses cause the carrying value to be negative and there is no requirement to contribute additional capital. As we are not required to contribute additional capital, we have not recognized losses in the venture, as this would cause the carrying value to be negative.

 

TUCA

 

Pursuant to the TUCA, we have contributed to the TSEC Joint Venture certain exclusive rights to our SGT in the TSEC Joint Venture territory, including the right to: (i) grant site specific project sub-licenses to third parties; (ii) use our marks for proprietary equipment and services; (iii) engineer and/or design processes that utilize our SGT or our other intellectual property; (iv) provide engineering and design services for joint venture projects and (v) take over the development of projects in the TSEC Joint Venture territory that have previously been developed by us and our affiliates. As a result of the Restructuring Agreement, ICCDI was added as a party to the TUCA, but all other material terms remained the same.

 

The TSEC Joint Venture will be the exclusive operational entity for business relating to SGT in the TSEC Joint Venture territory, except for projects in which we have an equity ownership position. For these projects, as a result of the Restructuring Agreement, we can provide technology and equipment directly with no obligation to the joint venture. If the TSEC Joint Venture loses exclusivity due to a breach by us, STT and ICCDI are to be compensated for direct losses and all lost project profits. We were also required to provide training for technical personnel of the TSEC Joint Venture through the second anniversary of the establishment of the TSEC Joint Venture, which has now passed. We will also provide a review of engineering works for the TSEC Joint Venture. If modifications are suggested by us and not made, the TSEC Joint Venture bears the liability resulting from such failure. If we suggest modifications and there is still liability resulting from the engineering work, it is our liability.

 

Any party making improvements, whether patentable or not, relating to SGT after the establishment of the TSEC Joint Venture, grants to the other party an irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty free right to use or license such improvements and agrees to make such improvements available to us free of charge. All such improvements shall become part of SGT and both parties shall have the same rights, licenses and obligations with respect to the improvement as contemplated by the TUCA.

 

Any breach of or default under the TUCA which is not cured on notice entitles the non-breaching party to terminate. The TSEC Joint Venture indemnifies us for misuse of SGT or infringement of SGT upon rights of any third party.

 

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Note 5 — Senior Secured Debentures

 

On October 24, 2017, the Company entered into a securities purchase agreement (the “Purchase Agreement”) with certain accredited investors (the “Purchasers”) for the purchase of $8.0 million in principal amount of Debentures. The Debentures have a term of 5 years with an interest rate of 11% that adjusts to 18% in the event the Company defaults on an interest payment. The Debentures require that dividends received from BFR are used to pay down the principal amounts of outstanding Debentures. Additionally, we issued warrants to purchase 125,000 shares of common stock at $32.00 per common share (the “Debenture Warrants”). The Purchase Agreement and the Debentures contain certain customary representations, warranties and covenants. There are no financial metric covenants related to the Debentures. The transaction was approved by a special committee of our board of directors due to the fact that certain board members were Purchasers. Interest on the outstanding balance of Debentures is payable quarterly commencing on January 2, 2018. All unpaid principal and interests on the Debentures will be due on October 23, 2022.

 

The net offering proceeds to us from the sale of the Debentures and the Debenture Warrants, after deducting the placement agent’s fee and associated costs and expenses, was approximately $7.4 million, not including the proceeds, if any, from the exercise of the warrants issued in this offering. As compensation for their services, we paid T.R. Winston & Company, LLC (the “Placement Agent”): (i) a cash fee of $0.56 million (representing an aggregate fee equal to 7% of the face amount of the Debentures); and (ii) a warrant to purchase 8,750 shares of common stock, representing 7% of the warrants issued to the Purchasers (the “Placement Agent Warrant”). We also reimbursed certain expenses of the Placement Agent. The fair market value of the warrants was approximately $137,000 at the time of issuance and recorded as debt issuance cost. A total of approximately $1.0 million debt issuance cost was recorded as a result and is being amortized to interest expense over the term of the Debentures by using effective interest method beginning in October 2017.

 

The Debenture Warrants and Placement Agent Warrant contain provisions providing for the adjustment of the purchase price and number of shares into which the securities are exercisable in certain events. Also, under certain events, we shall, at the holder’s option, purchase these warrants from the holder by paying the holder an amount in cash based on a Black Scholes Option Pricing Model for remaining unexercised warrants. Under U.S. GAAP, this potential cash transaction requires us to record the fair market value of the warrants as a liability as opposed to equity. Management used a Monte Carlo Simulation method to value the warrants with Anti-Dilution Protection with the assistance of a third-party valuation expert. To execute the model and value the warrants, certain assumptions were needed as noted below:

 

Valuation Date: October 24, 2017
Warrant Expiration Date: October 31, 2022
Total Number of Warrants Issued: 133,750
Contracted Conversion Ratio: 1:1
Warrant Exercise Price (USD) 32.00
Next Capital Raise Date: October 31, 2018
Threshold exercise price post Capital raise: 20.08
Spot Price (USD): 26.53
Expected Life (Years): 5.0
Volatility: 66.0%
Volatility (Per-period Equivalent): 19.1%
Risk Free Interest Rate: 2.04%
Risk Free Rate (Per-period Equivalent): 0.17%
Nominal Value (USD Mn): 4.0
No of Shares on conversion (Mn): 0.1

 

The results of the valuation exercise valued the warrants issued at $15.62 per share, or approximately $2.0 million in total.

 

The total proceeds received are first allocated to the fair value of all the derivative instruments, the remaining proceeds are then allocated to the Debentures, resulting in the Debentures being recorded at a discount from the face value.

 

We recorded $8.0 million as the face value of the Debentures and a total of $2.0 million as discount of Debentures and $0.1 million as debt issuance cost for the warrants issued to investors and placement agent, which is being amortized to interest expense over the term of the Debenture which resulted in a charge to interest expense of $0.4 million and $0.3 million for the year ended June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2018, respectively.

 

The effective annual interest rate of the Debentures is approximately 18% after considering this $2.0 million discount related to the Debentures.

 

The Debentures are guaranteed by the U.S. subsidiaries of the Company, as well as the Company’s British Virgin Islands subsidiary, pursuant to a Subsidiary Guarantee, in favor of the holders of the Debentures by the subsidiary guarantors, party thereto, as well as any future subsidiaries which the Company forms or acquires. The Debentures are secured by a lien on substantially all of the assets of the Company and the subsidiary guarantors, other than their equity ownership interest in the Company’s foreign subsidiaries, pursuant to the terms of the Purchase Agreement among the Company, the subsidiary guarantors and the holders of the Debentures.

 

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For more on the Debentures, see Note 16 – Subsequent EventsThe Proposed Merger with AFE.

 

Note 6 — Derivative Liabilities

 

The warrants issued to the Debenture investors and the Placement Agent contain provisions providing for the adjustment of the purchase price and number of shares into which the securities are exercisable under certain events. Under certain events, we shall, at the holder’s option, purchase the warrants from the holder by paying the holder an amount in cash based on a Black Scholes Option Pricing Model for remaining unexercised warrants. ASC 815, which establishes accounting and reporting standards for derivative instruments including certain derivative instruments embedded in other financial instruments or contracts and requires recognition of all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. Management used a Monte Carlo Simulation method to value the warrants with Anti-Dilution Protection with the assistance of a third-party valuation expert to initially record the fair value of these derivatives. The third-party valuation expert also assisted management in valuing the derivatives as of the years ended June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019 with the changes in the fair value reported as non-operating income or expense.

 

To execute the model and value the derivatives, certain assumptions were needed as noted below:

 

Assumptions  At Issuance
October 24, 2017
   Year Ending
June 30, 2018
   Year Ending
June 30, 2019
 
Warrant Issue Date:   October 24, 2017    October 24, 2017    October 24, 2017 
Valuation Date:   October 24, 2017    June 30, 2018    June 30, 2019 
Warrant Expiration Date:   October 31, 2022    October 31, 2022    October 31, 2022 
Total Number of Warrants Issued:   133,750    133,750    133,750 
Warrant Exercise Price (USD):   32.00    32.00    32.00 
Next Capital Raise Date:(1)   October 31, 2018    June 30, 2019    February 29, 2020 
Threshold Exercise Price Post Capital Raise:   20.08    17.20    6.40 
Spot Price (USD):   26.53    26.24    2.48 
Expected Life (Years):   5.0    4.3    3.3 
Volatility:   66.0%   65.0%   75.0%
Volatility (Per-period Equivalent):   19.1%   18.8%   21.7%
Risk Free Interest Rate:   2.04%   2.71%   1.73%
Risk Free Rate (Per-period Equivalent):   0.17%   0.22%   0.14%
                
Nominal Value (USD Mn):   4.3    4.3    4.3 
No. of Shares on Conversion (Mn):   0.1    0.1    0.1 
Contracted Conversion Ratio:   1:1    1:1    1:1 
                
Fair Values (in thousands)               
Fair Value without Anti-Dilution Protection:  $1,837   $1,704   $15 
Fair Value of Embedded Derivative:   253    260   $72 
Fair Value of the Warrants Issued:
  $2,090   $1,964   $87 
                
Gain/(Loss) on Fair Value Adjustments to Derivative Liabilities   Not Applicable    126    1,877 

 

(1) Next Capital Raise Date was assumed to be within a year of the debt offering and each valuation date.

 

The change in the derivative liability was mostly due to movements in the Company’s stock price. Other changes in assumptions are listed above, some change with the passage time, interest rate fluctuations and stock market volatility. In addition, a change of control scenario was added to the valuation calculation due to the status of the proposed merger transaction. The change of value due to the addition was immaterial.

 

For more on the Debentures, Debenture Warrants and Placement Agent Warrant, see Note 16 – Subsequent EventsThe Proposed Merger with AFE.

 

Note 7 — Risks and Uncertainties

 

As of June 30, 2019, we had $0.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and $34,000 of working capital.

 

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As of January 10, 2020, we had $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents. Of the $0.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, $347,000 resides in the United States or easily access foreign countries and approximately $40,000 resides in China.

 

On March 29, 2019, our Board of Directors engaged Clarksons Platou Securities, Inc. (“CPS”) to act as our financial advisors to advise us as we conducted a process to evaluate financing options and strategic alternatives such as but not limited to a strategic merger, a sale, a recapitalization and/or a financing consisting of equity and/or debt securities focused on maximizing shareholder value and protecting the interests of our debtholders.

 

As a result of our efforts evaluating financing and strategic options, on October 10, 2019 we entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) with AFE as described further in Note 16 – Subsequent EventsThe Proposed Merger with AFE. Currently our focus is on completing the steps required to complete the merger, which include but are not limited to, (i) completion of all Company required filings, (ii) curing the NASDAQ listing requirement deficiencies, (iii) completion of the form S-4 and Proxy related to the merger, (iv) completion of the Batchfire Share Exchange pre-emptive rights process and (v) all other tasks required to complete the merger.

 

In connection with the entry into the Merger Agreement, the Company entered into a securities purchase and exchange agreements (each, a “New Purchase Agreements”) with each of the existing holders of its 11% senior secured debentures issued in October 2017 (the “Debentures”), whereby each of the holders agreed to exchange their Debentures and accompanying warrants (the “Debenture Warrants”) for new debentures (the “New Debentures”) and warrants (the “New Warrants”), and certain of the holders agreed to provide $2,000,000 of additional debt financing (the “Interim Financing”). Pursuant to the New Purchase Agreements, the Company also issued $2,000,000 of 11% senior secured debentures (the “Merger Debentures”) to certain accredited investors, along with warrants to purchase $4,000,000 of shares of Common Stock, half of which were Series A Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series A Merger Warrants”) and half of which were Series B Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series B Merger Warrants” and, together with the Series A Merger Warrants, the “Merger Warrants”), as part of the Interim Financing. The Company shall receive the $2,000,000 pursuant to the Merger Debentures according to the following schedule: (i) $1,000,000 on or before October 14, 2019, (ii) $500,000 upon the filing of the proxy statement for the Company stockholder approval of the Merger, and (iii) $500,000 within two business days of Company stockholder approval of the Merger. The terms of the Merger Debentures are the same as the New Debentures. The Merger Debentures are intended to assist the Company in financing its business through the closing of the Merger.

 

As compensation for its services, the Company will pay to T.R. Winston & Company, LLC (the “Placement Agent”): (i) a cash fee of $140,000 (representing an aggregate fee equal to 7% of the face amount of the Merger Debentures, as defined below); and (ii) a warrant to purchase 100,000 shares of Common Stock (the “New Placement Agent Warrant”). We have also agreed to reimburse certain expenses of the Placement Agent.

 

The Company has also agreed to loan $350,000 of the proceeds from the Merger Debentures to AFE to assist AFE in financing its business through the closing of the Merger. The loan is subject to interest at the rate of 11% per annum payable in full on the repayment date in conjunction with the repayment of the principal amount. The repayment date is the earlier of five days after completion of the Merger transaction or the later of March 31, 2020 or three months following the vote of the shareholders on the Merger.

 

The $1,000,000 scheduled payment on or before October 14, 2019 was subsequently received less certain legal costs and escrow fees in the amount of $966,000.

 

On October 24, 2019 we entered into a loan agreement with AFE whereby we loaned a portion of the $2.0 million proceeds received under the New Purchase Agreements. Under the loan agreement, we loaned $350,000 to AFE, which is due in full on the later of March 31, 2020 or within five days following the closing of the Merger. If the Merger does not close, the loan will mature on March 31, 2020 or three months following the special stockholder meeting called to approve the merger transactions. The loan accrues interest at 11% per annum and is also due in full upon repayment, subject to an increased default interest in certain limited circumstances.

 

We can make no assurances that the proposed merger transaction will be completed on a timely basis or at all. In addition, we may be forced to seek relief to avoid or end insolvency through other proceedings including bankruptcy. Based on the historical negative cash flows and the continued limited cash inflows in the period subsequent to year end there is substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

 

Other than AFE and our Yima Joint Venture, all of our other development opportunities are in the early stages of development and/or contract negotiations.

 

Our operations are subject to stringent laws and regulations governing the discharge of materials into the environment, remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater, sitting of facilities or otherwise relating to environmental protection. Numerous governmental agencies, such as various Chinese, Australian and European Union authorities at the municipal, provincial or central government level and similar regulatory bodies in other countries, issue regulations to implement and enforce such laws, which often require difficult and costly compliance measures that carry substantial potential administrative, civil and criminal penalties or may result in injunctive relief for failure to comply. Although to date we have not experienced any material adverse effect from compliance with existing environmental requirements, we cannot assure you that we will not suffer such effects in the future or that projects developed by our partners or customers will not suffer such effects.

 

The Company is subject to concentration of credit risk with respect to our cash and cash equivalents, which it attempts to minimize by maintaining cash and cash equivalents with major high credit quality financial institutions. At times, the Company’s cash balances in a particular financial institution exceed limits that are insured by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or equivalent agencies in foreign countries and jurisdictions such as Hong Kong.

 

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On May 16, 2019, SES received a notice of noncompliance (the “Notice”) from the Listing Qualifications Staff (the “Staff”) of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) indicating that the Company was not compliant with the minimum stockholders’ equity requirement under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(b)(1) for continued listing on The Nasdaq Capital Market because the Company’s stockholders’ equity, as reported in SES’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2019, was below the required minimum of $2.5 million. Based on materials provided to Nasdaq by SES, the Staff granted SES an extension through November 12, 2019 to complete the Merger.

 

On November 13, 2019, SES received notification from the Staff that it did not meet the terms of the previously granted extension and, as a result, the Staff has determined that that the securities of SES would be subject to delisting unless SES timely requested a hearing before a Nasdaq Hearings Panel (the “Panel”).

 

Additionally, on October 17, 2019, the Staff notified SES that since it failed to timely file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2019, it no longer complied with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1). SES was given until December 16, 2019, to submit a plan of compliance for consideration by the Staff. However, pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(2)(A), the Staff has informed SES that it can no longer consider the Company’s plan, and, as a result, the failure to file the Form 10-K serves as an additional and separate basis for delisting. On November 21, 2019, SES received an additional delinquency notification letter from the Staff due to SES’s continued non-compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) as a result of the Company’s failure to timely file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

 

SES has requested a hearing before the Nasdaq Hearings Panel. The hearing request automatically stayed any suspension/delisting action through December 5, 2019. On December 13, 2019, we received notification from the Panel that it had determined to extend the stay of suspension through the completion of the hearings process, which will take place on December 19, 2019. At the hearing, the Company will request the stay be extended through the closing of the previously announced Merger with AFE. However, there can be no assurance that the Panel will grant a further extension to enable the Company to demonstrate compliance that it has regained compliance with all applicable requirements.

 

Note 8 — Property, Plant and Equipment

 

Property, plant and equipment consisted of the following (in thousands):

 

   Estimated  June 30, 
   useful lives  2019   2018 
Furniture and fixtures  2 to 3 years  $11   $243 
Leasehold improvements  Lease term       23 
Computer hardware  3 years   12    336 
Computer software  3 years   687    875 
Office equipment  3 years   6    149 
Motor vehicles  5 years   39    39 
       755    1,665 
Less: Accumulated depreciation      (755)   (1,655)
Net carrying value     $   $10 

 

Note 9 — Detail of Selected Balance Sheet Accounts

 

Accrued expenses and other payables consisted of the following (in thousands):

 

   June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Accounts payable — trade  $154   $496 
Accrued payroll, vacation and bonuses   82    80 
Deferred revenue   120    206 
GTI royalty expenses due to GTI   750    250 
Interest payable   220    220 
Other   

478

    429 
   $

1,804

   $1,681 

 

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Note 10 — Intangible Assets

 

GTI License Agreement

 

In November 2009, we entered into an Amended and Restated License Agreement, (the “GTI Agreement”), with the Gas Technology Institute, (“GTI”), replacing the Amended and Restated License Agreement between us and GTI dated August 31, 2006, as amended. Under the GTI Agreement, we maintain our exclusive worldwide right to license the U-GAS® technology for all types of coals and coal/biomass mixtures with coal content exceeding 60%, as well as the non-exclusive right to license the U-GAS® technology for 100% biomass and coal/biomass blends exceeding 40% biomass.

 

In order to sublicense any U-GAS® system, we are required to comply with certain requirements set forth in the GTI Agreement. In the preliminary stage of developing a potential sublicense, we are required to provide notice and certain information regarding the potential sublicense to GTI and GTI is required to provide notice of approval or non-approval within ten business days of the date of the notice from us, provided that GTI is required to not unreasonably withhold their approval. If GTI does not respond within the ten-business day period, they are deemed to have approved of the sublicense. We are required to provide updates on any potential sublicenses once every three months during the term of the GTI Agreement. We are also restricted from offering a competing gasification technology during the term of the GTI Agreement.

 

For each U-GAS® unit which we license, design, build or operate for ourselves or for a party other than a sub-licensee and which uses coal or a coal and biomass mixture or biomass as the feedstock, we must pay a royalty based upon a calculation using the MMBtu per hour of dry syngas production of a rated design capacity, payable in installments at the beginning and at the completion of the construction of a project, or the Standard Royalty. If we invest, or have the option to invest, in a specified percentage of the equity of a third party, and the royalty payable by such third party for their sublicense exceeds the Standard Royalty, we are required to pay to GTI an agreed percentage split of third party licensing fees, or the Agreed Percentage, of such royalty payable by such third party. However, if the royalty payable by such third party for their sublicense is less than the Standard Royalty, we are required to pay to GTI, in addition to the Agreed Percentage of such royalty payable by such third party, the Agreed Percentage of our dividends and liquidation proceeds from our equity investment in the third party. In addition, if we receive a carried interest in a third party, and the carried interest is less than a specified percentage of the equity of such third party, we are required to pay to GTI, in our sole discretion, either (i) the Standard Royalty or (ii) the Agreed Percentage of the royalty payable to such third party for their sublicense, as well as the Agreed Percentage of the carried interest. We will be required to pay the Standard Royalty to GTI if the percentage of the equity of a third party that we (a) invest in, (b) have an option to invest in, or (c) receive a carried interest in, exceeds the percentage of the third party specified in the preceding sentence.

 

We are required to make an annual payment to GTI for each year of the term, with such annual payment due by the last day of January of the following year; provided, however, that we are entitled to deduct all royalties paid to GTI in a given year under the GTI Agreement from this amount, and if such royalties exceed the annual payment amount in a given year, we are not required to make the annual payment. We must also provide GTI with a copy of each contract that we enter into relating to a U-GAS® system and report to GTI with our progress on development of the technology every six months.

 

For a period of ten years, beginning in May 2016, we and GTI are restricted from disclosing any confidential information (as defined in the GTI Agreement) to any person other than employees of affiliates or contractors who are required to deal with such information, and such persons will be bound by the confidentiality provisions of the GTI Agreement. We have further indemnified GTI and its affiliates from any liability or loss resulting from unauthorized disclosure or use of any confidential information that we receive.

 

We continue to innovate and modify the SGT process to a point where we maintain certain intellectual property rights over SGT. Since the original licensing in 2004, we have maintained a strong relationship with GTI and continue to benefit from the resources and collaborative work environment that GTI provides us. In relation to the Merger with AFE, AFE and GTI have agreed upon new terms which, subject to a definitive agreement being completed prior to the Merger closing, would replace the current GTI Agreement.

 

The cost and accumulated amortization of intangible assets were as follows (in thousands):

 

   June 30, 2019   June 30, 2018 
  

Gross

Carrying

Amount

  

Accumulated

Amortization

   Net  

Gross

Carrying

Amount

  

Accumulated

Amortization

   Net 
Use rights of U-GAS®  $1,886   $1,886   $   $1,886   $1,886   $ 
Other intangible assets   

1,116

    322    794    1,149    111    1,038 
Total  $

3,002

   $

2,208

   $

794

   $3,035   $1,997   $1,038 

 

The use rights of U-GAS® have an amortization period of ten years. Amortization expense was zero for the year ended June 30, 2018 as it was fully amortized as of August 2016. Other intangible assets are primarily patents.

 

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Note 11 — Income Taxes

 

For financial reporting purposes, net loss showing domestic and foreign sources was as follows (in thousands):

 

   Year Ended June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Domestic  $(3,218)  $(5,174)
Foreign   (7,498)   (4,560)
Net loss  $

(10,716

)  $(9,734)

 

Provision for income taxes

 

The effective income tax rate was 0.0% and 1.3% for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 respectively. The following table reconciles the income tax benefit with income tax expense that would result from application of the statutory federal tax rate, 21% and 28% for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018, respectively, to loss before income tax expense (benefit) recorded (in thousands):

 

   June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Net loss before income tax  $(10,716)  $(9,734)
Computed tax benefit at statutory rate   

(2,250

)   (2,726)
Taxes in foreign jurisdictions with rates different than US   1,782    1,210 
Impact of U.S. tax reform       11,633 
Other   551    895 
Deferred Tax Adjustments (1)   1,574   10,988 
Valuation allowance   

(1,657

)   (22,129)
Income tax expense/(benefit)  $   $(129)

 

(1)The net of adjustments of $1.6 million primarily related to stock option forfeitures in the amount of approximately $2 million, offset by part by the changes in accrued accounts.

 

Deferred tax assets

 

Net deferred tax assets of continuing operations consisted of the following (in thousands):

 

   June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Deferred tax assets (liabilities):          
Net operating loss carry forward  $11,028   $10,594 
Warrant FMV Change   (394)   (26)
Depreciation and amortization   18   1 
Stock-based expense   2,338    4,506 
Investment in joint ventures   1,694    1,381 
Accruals   244    129 
Subtotal   14,928    16,585 
Valuation allowance   (14,928)   (16,585)
Net deferred assets  $   $ 

 

At June 30, 2019, the Company had approximately $51.2 million of U.S. federal net operating loss (“NOL”) carry forwards, and $0.9 million of China NOL carryforward. The China NOL carryforward have expiration dates through 2024 and the U.S. NOL carryforward begin expiring in 2028, with NOLs for the fiscal years ending after 2017 carryforward indefinitely, approximately $6.2 million.

 

The Company’s tax returns are subject to periodic audit by the various taxing jurisdictions in which the Company operates, which can result in adjustments to its NOLs. There are no significant audits underway at this time.

 

In assessing the Company’s ability to utilize its deferred tax assets, management considers whether it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. Based on the level of historical taxable income and projections for future taxable income over the periods in which the deferred tax assets are deductible, management believes it is more likely than not that the Company will not realize the benefits of these deductible differences. Future changes in estimates of taxable income or in tax laws may change the need for the valuation allowance.

 

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The Company and two of its subsidiaries file income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction, and various states and foreign jurisdictions. Generally, the Company will inventory tax positions related to tax items for all years where the statute of limitations for the assessment of income taxes has not expired. The Company’s open tax years are from June 30, 2009 forward through and including June 30, 2018. Since these periods all have NOL carryforwards, the normal statute of limitations will technically not expire unless and until the NOLs expire or are utilized. As of June 30, 2019, the domestic and foreign tax authorities have not proposed any adjustments to the Company’s material tax positions. The Company establishes reserves for positions taken on tax matters which, although considered appropriate under the regulations, could potentially be successfully challenged by authorities during a tax audit or review. The Company did not have any liability for uncertain tax positions as of June 30, 2019 or 2018.

 

Note 12 — Net Loss Per Share Data

 

Historical net loss per share of common stock is computed using the weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding. Basic loss per share excludes dilution and is computed by dividing net loss available to common stockholders by the weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding for the period. Stock options, warrants and unvested restricted stock are the only potential dilutive share equivalents the Company had outstanding for the periods presented. For the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018, options and warrants to purchase common stock excluded from the computation of diluted earnings per share as their effect would have been anti-dilutive as the Company incurred net losses during those periods. The total number of shares excluded from diluted earnings per share equivalents amounted to approximately 0.4 million for both the year ended June 30, 2019 and 2018.

 

Note 13 — Commitments and Contingencies

 

Litigation

 

The Company is currently not a party to any legal proceedings.

 

Contractual Obligations

 

On December 31, 2019, we extended the office lease agreement through March 31, 2020 with rental related payments of approximately $3,900 per month, subject to additions based on additional services and usages each month.

 

In November 2018, the Company entered into a new office lease agreement for 12 months ending December 31, 2019 with rental related payment of approximately $3,300 per month, subject to additions based on additional services and usages each month.

 

In October 2017, the Company extended its corporate office lease term for an additional 13 months ending January 31, 2019 with rental payments of approximately $18,000 per month, subject to additions based on actual utility usage each month.

 

Consolidated rental expense incurred under operating leases was $0.1 million for the year ended June 30, 2019 and $0.2 million for the year ended June 30, 2018.

 

The Debentures have a term of 5 years and will mature in October 2022.

 

Governmental and Environmental Regulation

 

The Company’s operations are subject to stringent federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the discharge of materials into the environment or otherwise relating to environmental protection. Numerous governmental agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and various Chinese authorities, issue regulations to implement and enforce such laws, which often require difficult and costly compliance measures that carry substantial administrative, civil and criminal penalties or may result in injunctive relief for failure to comply. These laws and regulations may require the acquisition of a permit before operations at a facility commence, restrict the types, quantities and concentrations of various substances that can be released into the environment in connection with such activities, limit or prohibit construction activities on certain lands lying within wilderness, wetlands, ecologically sensitive and other protected areas, and impose substantial liabilities for pollution resulting from our operations. The Company believes that it is in substantial compliance with current applicable environmental laws and regulations and it has not experienced any material adverse effect from non-compliance with these environmental requirements.

 

Note 14 — Equity

 

Preferred Stock

 

At the Annual Meeting of Stockholders of the Company on June 30, 2015, the Company’s stockholders approved an amendment to the Company’s certificate of incorporation to authorize a class of preferred stock, consisting of 20,000,000 authorized shares, which may be issued in one or more series, with such rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions as shall be fixed by the Company’s board of directors. No shares of preferred stock have been issued or outstanding since approved by the stockholders.

 

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Common Stock

 

On July 12, 2018, we issued 2,862 shares of common stock to ILL-Sino Development Inc. (“ILL-Sino”), the Company’s business development advisor, pursuant to the term of the consulting agreement, as amended on July 1, 2018, between the Company and ILL-Sino. The shares are fully vested and non-forfeitable at the time of issuance. The fair value of the common stock was $24.64 per share on the date of issuance, and the Company recorded approximately $71,000 of expense for the year ended June 30, 2019 relating to the issuance of these shares.

 

On November 10, 2017, we issued 2,131 shares of common stock to Market Development Consulting Group, Inc. (“MDC”), our investor relations advisor, pursuant to the term of the consulting agreement, as amended on October 28, 2016. The shares were fully vested and non-forfeitable at the time of issuance. The fair value of the common stock was $28.16 per share, and we recorded $60,000 of expense for the year ended June 30, 2018 related to issuance of these shares.

 

On May 13, 2016, we entered into an At The Market Offering Agreement (the “Offering Agreement”) with T.R. Winston & Company (“T.R. Winston”) to sell, from time to time, shares of our common stock having an aggregate sales price of up to $20.0 million through an “at the marketing offering” program under which T.R. Winston would act as sales agent, which we refer to as the ATM Offering. The shares that may be sold under the Offering Agreement, if any, would be issued and sold pursuant to the Company’s $75.0 million universal shelf registration statement on Form S-3 that was declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 21, 2016. We had no obligation to sell any of our common stock under the Offering Agreement. The Offering Agreement expired in April 2018.

 

Stock-Based Awards

 

As of June 30, 2019, the Company has outstanding stock option and restricted stock awards granted under the Company’s 2015 Long Term Incentive Plan (the “2015 Incentive Plan”) and Amended and Restated 2005 Incentive Plan (the “2005 Incentive Plan”), under which the Company’s stockholders have authorized a total of 328,125 shares of common stock for awards under the 2015 and 2005 Incentive Plan. The 2005 Incentive Plan expired as of November 7, 2015 and no future awards will be made thereunder. As of June 30, 2019, there were approximately 31,409 shares authorized for future issuance pursuant to the 2015 Incentive Plan. Under the 2015 Incentive Plan, we may grant incentive and non-qualified stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock units and other stock-based awards to officers, directors, employees and non-employees. Stock option awards generally vest ratably over a one to four-year period and expire ten years after the date of grant.

 

On April 9, 2018 and 2019, the Company authorized the issuance of 2,141 and 13,587 shares of restricted stock respectively under the 2015 Incentive Plan to Mr. Francis Lau according to the term of the Consulting Service Agreement dated April 9, 2018 between the Company and Mr. Francis Lau. The fair value of the restricted stock was approximately $ 50,000 based on the market value as of the date of the awards for both the year ended June 30, 2019 and 2018.

 

Restricted stock activity during the two years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 was as follows:

 

  

Restricted stock
outstanding
June 30, 2019

 
     
Unvested shares outstanding at June 30, 2017   3,810 
Granted   3,842 
Vested   (6,422)
Forfeited    
Unvested shares outstanding at June 30, 2018   1,230 
Granted   13,587 
Vested   (14,817)
Forfeited    
Unvested shares outstanding at June 30, 2019    

Assumptions

 

There were no stock options granted during the year ended June 30, 2019, the fair values for the stock options granted during the year ended June 30, 2018 were estimated at the date of grant using a Black-Scholes-Morton option-pricing model with the following weighted-average assumptions.

 

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   June 30, 2018 
Risk-free rate of return   2.60%
Expected life of award   5.0 years 
Expected dividend yield   0.00%
Expected volatility of stock   86%
Weighted-average grant date fair value  $18.72 

 

The expected volatility of stock assumption was derived by referring to changes in the historical volatility of the Company. We used the “simplified” method for “plain vanilla” options to estimate the expected term of options granted during the year ended June 30, 2018.

 

Stock option activity during the two years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 were as follows:

 

  

Number of
Stock
Options

  

Weighted
Average
Exercise
Price

  

Weighted
Average
Remaining
Contractual
Term
(years)

  

Aggregate
Intrinsic
Value
(in millions)

 
Outstanding at June 30, 2017   182,717   $64.40    5.5   $0.10 
Granted   42,881    27.28           
Exercised                  
Cancelled/forfeited   (10,546)   66.64           
Outstanding at June 30, 2018   215,052    56.91    5.4   $0.02 
Granted                  
Exercised                  
Cancelled/forfeited   (48,575)   43.84           
Outstanding at June 30, 2019   166,477    60.73    4.5   $0.00 
Exercisable at June 30, 2019   166,127    60.73    4.5   $0.00 

 

As discussed in Note 6, on October 24, 2017, in connection with the issuance of the Debentures, the Company issued warrants to purchase 125,000 shares of common stock at exercise price of $32.00 per share to the investors and issued to the Placement Agent, for the Debenture offering, warrants to purchase 8,750 shares of common stock at exercise price of $32.00 per share.

 

On October 31, 2018 and November 1, 2017, the Company issued a warrant to Market Development Group, Inc. (“MDC”), the Company’s investor relations advisor, to acquire 12,500 and 6,250 shares of the Company’s common stock respectively at an exercise price of $10.4 and $28.16 per share respectively according to the terms of the consulting agreement, as amended on October 31, 2018 and October 28, 2016 respectively, between the Company and MDC. The fair value of each warrant was estimated to be approximately $0.1 million and 0.2 million respectively at the issuance. On January 31, 2019, the Company terminated the consulting agreement between the Company and MDC, which resulted in 9,375 shares of warrants issued in 2018 being cancelled accordingly.

 

The fair values of the warrants issued to MDC were estimated using a Black-Scholes-Morton option-pricing, and the following weighted-average assumptions for the years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018:

 

   Year Ended June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Risk-free rate of return   3.15%   2.37%
Expected life of award   10 years    10 years 
Expected dividend yield   0.00%   0.00%
Expected volatility of stock   94%   98%
Weighted-average grant date fair value  $8.96   $24.48 

 

Stock warrants activity during the two years ended June 30, 2019 and 2018 were as follows:

 

  

Number of
Stock
Warrants

  

Weighted
Average
Exercise
Price

 
Outstanding at June 30, 2017   161,180   $110.72 
Granted   140,000    31.84 
Exercised        
Cancelled/forfeited   (91,667)   130.08 
Outstanding at June 30, 2018   209,513    49.44 
Granted   12,500    10.40 
Exercised        
Cancelled/forfeited   (9,375)   10.40 
Outstanding at June 30, 2019   212,638    48.86 
Exercisable at June 30, 2019   212,638    48.86 

 

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The Company recognizes the stock-based expense related to the Incentive Plans awards and warrants over the requisite service period. The following table presents stock- based expense attributable to stock option awards issued under the Incentive Plans and attributable to warrants and common stocks issued to consulting firms (in thousands):

 

   Year Ended June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Incentive Plans  $273   $1,045 
Common Stock and Warrants   98    213 
Total stock-based compensation expense  $371   $1,258 

 

In January 2018, the Company granted additional stock options exercisable for 47,133 shares to employees in connection with salary reduction agreements for a six months period of January to June 2018. The fair value of these options was approximately $92,000 at the date of grant. These options and restricted shares vest ratably over the six-month service period.

 

As of June 30, 2019, approximately $4,000 of estimated expense with respect to non-vested stock option and restricted shares awards have yet to be recognized and will be recognized in expense over the remaining weighted average period of approximately 17.3 months.

 

Note 15 – Segment Information

 

The Company’s reportable operating segments have been determined in accordance with its internal management reporting structure and include SES Foreign Operating, Technology Licensing and Related Services, and Corporate. The SES Foreign Operating reporting segment includes all of the assets, operations and related administrative costs for China and our equity positions and earnings related to our joint ventures including AFE, BFR, the Yima Joint Venture and the TSEC Joint Venture. The Technology Licensing and Related Services reporting segment includes all operating activities related to our technology group. The Corporate reporting segment includes the executive and administrative expenses of the corporate office in Houston. The Company evaluates performance based upon several factors, of which a primary financial measure is segment operating income or loss and cash flow or usage.

 

The following table presents statements of operations data and assets by segment (in thousands):

 

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   Year Ended 
   June 30, 
   2019   2018 
Revenue:          
SES Foreign Operating  $   $894 
Technology licensing and related services       613 
Corporate        
Total revenue  $   $1,507 
           
Depreciation and amortization:          
SES Foreign Operating  $6   $10 
Technology licensing and related services        
Corporate   252    27 
Total depreciation and amortization  $

258

   $37 
           
Impairment loss:          
SES Foreign Operating   5,000    3,500 
Technology licensing and related services        
Corporate        
Total impairment loss  $5,000   $3,500 
           
Operating loss:          
SES Foreign Operating   (5,620)   (3,682)
Technology licensing and related services   (1,284)   (1,138)
Corporate   

(4,162

)   (5,331)
Total operating loss  $

(11,066

)  $(10,151)
           
Interest Expenses:          
SES Foreign Operating  $   $ 
Technology licensing and related services        
Corporate   1,326    869 
Total interest expenses  $1,326   $869 
Equity in losses of joint ventures:          
SES Foreign Operating  $198   $715 
Technology licensing and related services        
Corporate        
Total equity in losses of joint ventures  $198   $715 

 

  

June 30,

2019

  

June 30,

2018

 
Assets:          
SES Foreign Operating  $215   $7,402 
Technology licensing and related services   1,018    984 
Corporate   

1,423

    5,928 
Total assets  $2,656   $14,314 

 

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Note 16 — Subsequent Events

 

The Proposed Merger with AFE

 

On October 10, 2019, we, SES Merger Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of us (“Merger Subsidiary”), and AFE, entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “Merger Agreement”) pursuant to which, among other things, AFE will, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the conditions set forth in the Merger Agreement, merge with and into Merger Subsidiary (the “Merger”), the separate corporate existence of Merger Subsidiary shall cease and AFE shall be the successor or surviving corporation of the Merger and a wholly owned subsidiary of us. The Merger is intended to qualify for federal income tax purposes as a tax-free reorganization under the provisions of Section 368(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Upon the consummation of the Merger, it is contemplated that we will also change our name.

 

Upon consummation of the Merger, and subject to the terms and conditions of the Merger Agreement, holders of AFE ordinary shares will receive, in exchange for such ordinary shares, 3,875,000 shares of our common stock. All outstanding stock options and restricted stock will remain outstanding post-Merger on the same terms and conditions as currently applicable to such awards, provided that outstanding awards for departing directors shall be amended to extend exercisability for the term of the award.

 

The respective boards of directors of the Company, Merger Subsidiary and AFE have determined that the Merger Agreement and the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement are fair to, advisable and in the best interests of their respective stockholders and have approved the Merger and the Merger Agreement. The transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement are subject to the approval of the Company’s and AFE’s respective shareholders at shareholders’ meetings to be called and held by the Company and AFE, respectively, and other closing conditions, including, among other things, the filing and effectiveness of a registration statement on Form S-4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and the consummation of the transactions contemplated by the Share Exchange Agreements and the Purchase Agreements.

 

The Merger Agreement contains representations and warranties by the Company and Merger Subsidiary, on the one hand, and by AFE, on the other hand, made solely for the benefit of the other. The assertions embodied in those representations and warranties are qualified by information in confidential disclosure schedules that the parties have exchanged in connection with signing the Merger Agreement. The disclosure schedules contain information that modifies, qualifies and creates exceptions to the representations and warranties set forth in the Merger Agreement. Moreover, certain representations and warranties in the Merger Agreement were made as of a specified date, may be subject to a contractual standard of materiality different from what might be viewed as material to shareholders, or may have been used for the purpose of allocating risk between the Company and Merger Subsidiary, on the one hand, and AFE, on the other hand. Accordingly, the representations and warranties and other disclosures in the Merger Agreement should not be relied on by any persons as characterizations of the actual state of facts about the Company, Merger Subsidiary or AFE at the time they were made or otherwise.

 

The Merger Agreement contains certain termination rights for both the Company and AFE, including, among other things, if the Merger is not consummated on or before April 15, 2020.

 

In connection with the entry into the Merger Agreement, the Company entered into Share Exchange Agreements (each, a “Share Exchange Agreement”) with certain of the shareholders of Batchfire Resources Pty Ltd (“BFR”), whereby such shareholders will exchange their shares of BFR for shares of the Common Stock at a ratio of 10 BFR shares for one share of Common Stock. As a result of these exchanges, the Company would own 25% of the outstanding shares of BFR. The closing of the exchange is subject to certain conditions specified in the Share Exchange Agreements, including, without limitation, the consummation of the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement. In addition, the Company is making an offer to the remaining shareholders of BFR such that the Company would acquire 100% of the shares if the offers are all accepted.

 

In connection with the entry into the Merger Agreement, the Company entered into a securities purchase and exchange agreements (each, a “New Purchase Agreements”) with each of the existing holders of the Debentures, whereby each of the holders agreed to exchange their Debentures and Debenture Warrants for new debentures (the “New Debentures”) and warrants (the “New Warrants”), and certain of the holders agreed to provide $2,000,000 of additional debt financing (the “Interim Financing”).

 

As compensation for its services, the Company paid to the Placement Agent: (i) a cash fee of $140,000 (representing an aggregate fee equal to 7% of the face amount of the Merger Debentures, as defined below); and (ii) a warrant to purchase 100,000 shares of Common Stock (the “New Placement Agent Warrant”). We have also agreed to reimburse certain expenses of the Placement Agent.

 

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The New Warrants and the New Placement Agent Warrants are exercisable into shares of common stock at any time from and after the closing date at an exercise price of $6.00 per common share (subject to adjustment). The New Warrants and the New Placement Agent Warrants will terminate five years after they become exercisable. The New Warrants and the New Placement Agent Warrant contain provisions providing for the adjustment of the purchase price and number of shares into which the securities are exercisable.

 

The New Debentures and the New Warrants have substantially similar terms to the Debentures and Debenture Warrants, including as to maturity and security, except that the New Debentures, among other differences, (i) provide for the payment to certain holders, at their election, of interest payments in shares of the Common Stock or in kind, and (ii) provide for certain optional conversion features. The New Warrant changes the exercise price of the Warrant to $6.00 per share and make certain other modifications to the Debenture Warrants. The New Debentures and New Warrants will be issued at the closing of the transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement.

 

Pursuant to the New Purchase Agreements, each Debenture holder (i) waived the events of default resulting from the failure by the Company to timely file its Annual Reports on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, this Annual Report and for the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2019, (ii) waived the event of default resulting from the failure by the Company to make interest payments due on July 1, 2019, October 1, 2019 and January 31, 2020, and (iii) consented to the consummation of the Merger and the issuance of the Merger Debentures and the Merger Warrants (each as defined below), notwithstanding any limitations in the Debentures to the contrary.

 

As mentioned above, pursuant to the New Purchase Agreements, the Company also issued $2,000,000 of 11% senior secured debentures (the “Merger Debentures”) to certain accredited investors, along with warrants to purchase $4,000,000 of shares of Common Stock, half of which were Series A Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series A Merger Warrants”) and half of which were Series B Common Stock Purchase Warrants (the “Series B Merger Warrants” and, together with the Series A Merger Warrants, the “Merger Warrants”), as part of the Interim Financing. The Company shall receive the $2,000,000 pursuant to the Merger Debentures according to the following schedule: (i) $1,000,000 on or before October 14, 2019, (ii) $500,000 upon the filing of the proxy statement for the Company stockholder approval of the Merger, and (iii) $500,000 within two business days of Company stockholder approval of the Merger. The terms of the Merger Debentures are the same as the New Debentures. The Merger Debentures are intended to assist the Company in financing its business through the closing of the Merger.

 

The $1,000,000 scheduled payment on or before October 14, 2019 was subsequently received less certain legal costs and escrow fees in the amount of $966,000.

 

Interest on the Merger Debentures is payable quarterly in arrears, at the option of the holder, in the form of shares of Common Stock, to be issued at a price of the lower of $3.00 per share and the 10-day trailing VWAP for the period immediately prior to the due date of the interest payment, or in kind. The Merger Debentures are convertible at any time by the holders into shares of Common Stock at a price of $3.00 per share, and the Company can require conversion into shares of Common Stock at a price of $3.00 per share if the Common Stock trades at or above $10.00 per share for ten consecutive trading days.

 

The Merger Warrants are exercisable into shares of common stock at any time from and after the issue date at an exercise price of $3.00 per share of common stock, in the case of the Series A Merger Warrants, or $6.00 per share of common stock, in the case of the Series B Merger Warrants. The Merger Warrants will terminate five years after they become exercisable. The Merger Warrants contain provisions providing for the adjustment of the purchase price and number of shares into which the securities are exercisable. The terms of the Merger Warrants are the same as the New Warrants. The New Placement Agent Warrant has the same terms as the Merger Warrant with an exercise price of $3.00 per share.

 

In connection with entering into the New Purchase Agreements, the Company also entered into a Registration Rights Agreement with the investors whereby the Company agreed to register the shares of Common Stock underlying the New Debentures, the New Warrants, the Merger Debentures and the Merger Warrants.

 

The Company has also agreed to loan $350,000 of the proceeds from the Merger Debentures to AFE to assist AFE in financing its business through the closing of the Merger. The loan is subject to interest at the rate of 11% per annum payable in full on the repayment date in conjunction with the repayment of the principal amount. The repayment date is the earlier of five days after completion of the Merger transaction or the later of March 31, 2020 or three months following the vote of the shareholders on the Merger.

 

On October 24, 2019 we entered into a loan agreement with AFE whereby we loaned a portion of the $2.0 million proceeds received under the New Purchase Agreements. Under the loan agreement, we loaned $350,000 to AFE, which is due in full on the later of March 31, 2020 or within five days following the closing of the Merger. If the Merger does not close, the loan will mature on March 31, 2020 or three months following the special stockholder meeting called to approve the merger transactions. The loan accrues interest at 11% per annum and is also due in full upon repayment, subject to an increased default interest in certain limited circumstances.

 

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Other Subsequent Events

 

On July 22, 2019, we enacted a 1 for 8 reverse stock split as approved at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders held in June 2019. All share and per share amounts in the consolidated financial statements have been retroactively restated to reflect the reverse stock split.

 

On July 1, 2019, we submitted a plan of compliance to Nasdaq addressing how it intended to regain compliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(b) within 180 days of the notification or November 12, 2019. The plan of compliance we submitted was accepted by NASDAQ on July 29, 2019.

 

On July 31, 2019, we and AFE entered into an Amendment to Technology Purchase Option Agreement pursuant to which AFE has an amended exclusive option through August 31, 2019, previously July 31, 2019 per the Technology Purchase Option Agreement. All terms of the Technology Purchase Option Agreement remain binding with the exception of the option period being extended to August 31, 2019.

 

On August 6, 2019, we received notice from The Nasdaq Stock Market that we regained compliance with the minimum $1.00 per share bid price requirement. As required under Nasdaq’s Listing Rules, in order to regain compliance, the Company was required to evidence a closing bid price of $1.00 per share or more for at least ten consecutive trading days.

 

On August 31, 2019, the Technology Purchase Option Agreement between us and AFE dated April 4, 2019, as amended effective July 31, 2019, terminated pursuant to the terms of the agreement. No penalties or payments were due as a result of the termination of the agreement.

 

On September 15, 2019, AFE repurchased all of the shares in CRR in exchange for AFE shares. The CCR shareholders received one share of AFE for every ten shares of CRR. As a result of the transaction, CRR is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AFE.

 

On October 17, 2019, we received a notification letter from the Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC indicating that, as a result of our delay in filing this Annual Report, we are not in compliance with the timely filing requirements for continued listing under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1). The notification letter stated that under Nasdaq rules, we had until December 16, 2019 to submit a plan to regain compliance with Nasdaq’s continued listing requirements. We regained compliance with this continued listing requirement by filing this Annual Report with the SEC.

 

On November 13, 2019, we received a notification from the Listing Qualifications Staff of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC that we did not meet the terms of the previously granted extension and as a result, the Staff determined that the Company’s securities would be subject to delisting unless we timely request a hearing before the Nasdaq Hearings Panel (the “Panel”). As noted above, the Company was given until December 16, 2019 to submit a plan of compliance for consideration by the Staff, however, pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5810(c)(2)(A), the Staff informed us that it can longer consider our plan, and as a result, the failure to file the Form 10-K serves as an additional and separate basis for delisting.

 

On November 21, 2019, we received an additional delinquency notification from the Listing Qualifications Staff of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC due to the continued noncompliance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) as a result of the failure to timely file the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. We have requested a hearing before the Nasdaq Hearings Panel. The hearing request automatically stayed any suspension/delisting action through December 5, 2019. On December 13, 2019, we received notification from the Panel that it had determined to extend the stay of suspension through the completion of the hearings process, which will take place on December 19, 2019. At the hearing, the Company will request the stay be extended through the closing of the previously announced Merger with AFE. However, there can be no assurance that the Panel will grant a further extension to enable the Company to demonstrate compliance that it has regained compliance with all applicable requirements.

 

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Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosures

 

None.

 

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures

 

Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures

 

In accordance with Exchange Act Rule 13a-15 and 15d-15, we carried out an evaluation, under the supervision and with the participation of management, including our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Accounting Officer, of the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures as of the end of the period covered by this report to provide reasonable assurance that information required to be disclosed in our reports filed or submitted under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms. Our disclosure controls and procedures include controls and procedures designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in reports filed or submitted under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Accounting Officer, as appropriate, to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure. Based upon that evaluation, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Accounting Officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective as of June 30, 2019.

 

A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the Company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

 

Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

 

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act. We have performed an evaluation under the supervision and with the participation of our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Accounting Officer, of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our management assessed the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of June 30, 2019. Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting cannot provide absolute assurance of achieving financial reporting objectives. Internal control over financial reporting is a process that involves human diligence and compliance and is subject to lapses in judgment and breakdowns resulting from human failures. Internal control over financial reporting also can be circumvented by collision or improper management override. Because of such limitations, there is a risk that material misstatements may not be prevented or detected on a timely basis by internal control over financial reporting. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions or that the degree of compliance with established policies or procedures may deteriorate.

 

Our management used the criteria set forth in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) to perform its assessment. Based on this assessment, our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Accounting Officer, concluded, that as of June 30, 2019, our internal controls over financial reporting were not effective as of June 30, 2019.

 

Material Weaknesses. We did not maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting. Specifically, we identified material weaknesses over management’s review controls and the lack of segregation of duties over accounting transactions due to the limited resources available.

 

Notwithstanding the identified material weakness, management, including our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, and the principal accounting officer believe the consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K fairly represent in all material respects our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows at and for the periods presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

 

Changes in Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

 

There have been no changes in our internal control over financial reporting during the year ended June 30, 2019 that have materially affected, or that are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

 

Item 9B. Other Information

 

None.

 

78

 

 

PART III

 

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Significant Employees