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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 7, 2019

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XLIIPart 4279Subpart C → §4279.261


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 4279—GUARANTEED LOANMAKING
Subpart C—Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Loans


§4279.261   Application for loan guarantee content.

Lenders must submit a complete application for each loan guarantee sought under this subpart. Components of an application are submitted in two phases. Phase I applications, which are the initial application submissions, must contain the information specified in paragraphs (a) through (j) of this section, organized pursuant to a table of contents in a chapter format. Phase 2 application components may be submitted after the Agency invites the Lender and Borrower to make the phase 2 submittal and must contain the information specified in paragraph (k) of this section.

(a) Project Summary. Provide a concise summary of the proposed Project and application information, Project purpose and need, and Project goals, including the following:

(1) Title. Provide a descriptive title of the Project.

(2) Borrower eligibility. Describe how the Borrower meets the eligibility criteria identified in §4279.209.

(3) Project eligibility. Describe how the Project meets the eligibility criteria identified in §4279.210. Clearly state whether the application is for the construction and development of a Biorefinery or for the Retrofitting of an existing facility. Additional Project description information will be needed later in the application process.

(4) Project funds. Submit a Spreadsheet identifying sources, amounts, and availability of funds. The Spreadsheet must also include a directory of funds source contact information. Attach any applications, correspondence, or other written communication between Borrower and fund source.

(5) Project timeline. A projected timeline detailing the timeline commencing with the loan application phase 1, including the loan application phase 2, final Project planning and engineering, obtaining required permits, loan closing, plant construction, commissioning and ramp up through stabilized state of operation.

(b) Application form. Form RD 4279-1 or other Agency-approved application form if specified in a Federal Register notice.

(c) Financial statements. (1) The most recent audited financial statements of the Borrower, unless alternative financial statements are authorized by the Agency; and

(2) A current (not more than 90 days old) balance sheet and a pro forma balance sheet at startup.

(d) Financial model. Submit a financial model for the Project in the form of a financial modeling software program in an active electronic format which includes, but is not limited to, a projected Project budget and projected balance sheets, income and expense statements, cash flow statements, and Working Capital and capital expense projections for not less than the term of the loan. The projections must be displayed in a monthly format for a period of three years after stabilized operation and annually thereafter. Projections should be supported by a list of assumptions showing the basis for the projections. Depending on the complexity of the Project and the financial condition of the Borrower, the Agency may require additional financial statements and additional related information.

(e) Feasibility Study. The Feasibility Study should be prepared by a qualified, independent third party using information gathered from other qualified parties and documents such as: independent engineer reports, marketing studies, feedstock studies, business plans and financial statements prepared by a certified public accountant. Any information used to prepare the Feasibility Study should be submitted as attachments. Elements in an acceptable Feasibility Study include, but are not limited to, the elements outlined in Table 1 of this section.

Table 1—Feasibility Study Components

   
(A) Executive summary
Introduction/Project Overview (Brief general overview of Project location, size, etc.).
Economic feasibility determination.
Market feasibility determination.
Technical feasibility determination.
Financial feasibility determination.
Management feasibility determination.
Recommendations for implementation.
(B) Economic Feasibility
Description of feedstock and confirmation that the feedstock is not used elsewhere in the production of Advanced Biofuels or Biobased Products including Renewable Chemicals.
Feedstock:
Feedstock source management,
Estimates of feedstock volumes and costs,
Collection, pre-treatment, transportation, and storage, and
Feedstock risks.
Documentation that woody biomass feedstock from National Forest system lands or public lands cannot be used for a higher-value product.
Impacts on any other similar Biorefineries in the area in which the Borrower proposes to place the Project, defined as the area that will supply the feedstock to the proposed Project, if any.
Impacts on existing manufacturing plants or other facilities that use similar feedstock if the Borrower's proposed production technology is adopted.
Projected impact on resource conservation, public health, and the environment.
Information regarding Project site.
Availability of trained or trainable labor.
Availability of infrastructure, including utilities, and rail, air and road service to the site.
Overall economic impact of the Project, including direct jobs, indirect jobs, additional markets created for agricultural and forestry products and agricultural waste material and the potential for Rural economic development.
Feasibility/plans of Project to work with producer associations or cooperatives and the estimated amount of annual feedstock purchased from or sold to producer associations and cooperatives.
(C) Market Feasibility
Information on the sales organization and management.
Nature and extent of market and market area.
Marketing plans for sale of projected output—principal products and Byproducts.
Extent of competition, including other similar facilities in the market area.
Commitments from purchasers of off-take—principal products and secondary products, degree of commitment, duration or terms of Off-Take Agreements, and financial strength of counterparties.
Risks related to the industry, including:
Industry status;
Specific market risks; and
Competitive threats and advantages.
(D) Technical Feasibility
Suitability of the selected site for the intended use.
Scale of development for which the process technology has been proven (i.e., pilot, demonstration, or Semi-Work Scale Facility). Provide results from pilot, demonstration, or Semi-Work Scale Facilities that prove that the technology proposed to be used is feasible and stands a good chance of being successful. The proposed technology must meet the definition of Eligible technology.
The degree of integration of all processes should be detailed and a summary of any integrated demonstration unit test results should be submitted.
Specific volume produced from the technology of the process (expressed either as volume of feedstock processed [tons per unit of time] or as product [gallons per unit of time]).
Identification and estimation of Project operation and development costs. Specify the level of accuracy of these estimates and the assumptions on which these estimates have been based. Detailed analysis of Project costs including: Project management and professional services; resource assessment; Project design and permitting; land agreements and site preparation; equipment requirements and system installation; startup and shakedown; and warranties, insurance, financing and operation and maintenance costs.
A projected timeline detailing Borrower plans from the time of loan application through plant construction, commissioning and ramp up should be included.
Ability of the proposed system to be commercially replicated.
Risks related to:
Construction of the Biorefinery;
Production of the Advanced Biofuel and Biobased Product including Renewable Chemical;
Regulation and governmental action;
Design-related factors that may affect Project success; and
Technology scale up risk.
(E) Financial Feasibility
Reliability of the financial projections and the assumptions on which the financial statements are based, including all sources and uses of Project capital, private or public Federal and non-Federal funds. Provide detailed analysis and description of projected balance sheets, income and expense statements, and cash flow statements over the useful life of the Project.
A detailed description of and the degree financial feasibility is dependent on:
Investment incentives;
Productivity incentives;
Loans and grants; and
Other Project authorities RINs value, tax credits, other credits, and subsidies that affect the Project.
Any constraints or limitations in the financial projections.
Ability of the business to achieve the projected income and cash flow.
Assessment of the cost accounting system.
Availability of short-term credit or other means to meet seasonal business costs.
Adequacy of raw materials and supplies.
Sensitivity analysis, including feedstock and energy costs and product and Byproduct prices.
Risks related to:
The Project;
Borrower financing plan;
The operational units; and
Tax issues.
(F) Management Feasibility
Borrower and/or management's previous experience concerning:
Production of Advanced Biofuel, and Biobased Product including Renewable Chemicals, as applicable;
Acquisition of feedstock;
Marketing and sale of off-take; and
The receipt of Federal financial assistance, including amount of funding, date received, purpose, and outcome.
Management plan for procurement of feedstock and labor, marketing of the off-take, and management succession.
Risks related to:
Borrower as a company (e.g., development-stage);
Conflicts of Interest; and
Management strengths and weaknesses.
(G) Qualifications
A resume or statement of qualifications of the author and contributors of the Feasibility Study, including prior experience, must be submitted.

(f) Business Plan. The Lender must submit the Borrower's business plan that includes the information specified in paragraphs (f)(1) through (10) of this section. Any or all of this information may be omitted if it is included in the Feasibility Study specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

(1) Describe or provide an organizational chart of the Borrower's ownership structure and affiliation with other entities, if any. The names and a description of the relationship of the Borrower's parent, Affiliates, and subsidiaries. Identify local ownership.

(2) The Borrower's succession planning, addressing both ownership and management.

(3) The Borrower's experience and management experience.

(4) The products and services to be provided and the Borrower's business strategy.

(5) Possible vendors and models of major system components.

(6) The availability of the resources (e.g., labor, raw materials, supplies) necessary to provide the planned products and services.

(7) Site location and its relation to product distribution (e.g., rail lines or highways) and any land use or other permits necessary to operate the facility.

(8) The market for the product and its competition, including any and all competitive threats and advantages.

(9) Projected balance sheets, income and expense statements, and cash flow statements for a period of not less than three years of stabilized operation.

(10) A description of the proposed use of funds.

(g) Scoring information. The application must contain information in a format that is responsive to the scoring criteria specified in §4279.266.

(h) Intergovernmental consultation. Intergovernmental consultation comments in accordance with 2 CFR part 415, subpart C or successor regulation.

(i) DUNS Number. For Borrowers other than individuals, a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, which can be obtained online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.

(j) Other information. Any other information determined by the Agency to be necessary to evaluate the application.

(k) Phase 2 application contents. (1) Updates, as appropriate, to contents of application materials submitted in application phase 1.

(2) An appraisal conducted as specified under §4279.244.

(3) A proposed Loan Agreement or a sample Loan Agreement with an attached list of the proposed Loan Agreement provisions as specified in paragraphs (k)(3)(i) through (ix) of this section.

(i) Prohibition against assuming liabilities or obligations of others.

(ii) Restriction on dividend payments.

(iii) Limitation on the purchase or sale of equipment and fixed assets.

(iv) Limitation on compensation of officers and owners.

(v) Minimum Working Capital or current ratio requirement.

(vi) Maximum debt-to-net worth ratio.

(vii) Restrictions concerning consolidations, mergers, or other circumstances.

(viii) Limitations on selling the business without the concurrence of the Lender.

(ix) Repayment and amortization of the loan.

(4) Environmental documentation in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970.

(5) Under the direction of the Agency, an evaluation and rating of the total Project's indebtedness, without consideration for a government guarantee, from a nationally-recognized statistical rating organization (NRSRO), as defined by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, for all Projects with total Eligible Project Costs of $25 million or more unless as otherwise specified by the Agency in a notice published in the Federal Register. The evaluation and rating must be in the form of an indicative private rating, private credit analysis, or comparable analysis report and include a rating in accordance with the NRSRO's credit rating scales and include a recovery analysis. An updated rating may be required at the Agency's discretion if changes are subsequently made to the Project including changes to any contracts and agreements or changes to loan terms and conditions.

(6) Lender's analysis and credit evaluation that conforms to §4279.215 and must include the information specified in paragraphs (k)(6)(i) and (ii) of this section.

(i) The credit reports of the Borrower, its principals, and any parent, Affiliate, or subsidiary as follows:

(A) Unless otherwise determined by the Agency, a personal credit report from an Agency-approved credit reporting company for individuals who are key employees of the Borrower, as determined by the Agency, and for individuals owning 20 percent or more interest in the Borrower or any owner with more than 10 percent ownership interest in the Borrower if there is no owner with more than 20 percent ownership interest in the Borrower, except for when the Borrower is a corporation listed on a major stock exchange; and

(B) Commercial credit reports on the Borrower and any parent, Affiliate, and subsidiary firms.

(ii) Financial and sensitivity review using a financial modeling software program or a banking industry software analysis program with industry standards, when appropriate.

(7) Whether the Loan Note Guarantee is requested prior to construction or after completion of construction of the Project.

(8) The technical assessment must be completed by a qualified independent engineer and must demonstrate that the design, procurement, installation, startup, operation and maintenance of the Project will permit it to operate or perform as specified over its useful life in a reliable and a cost effective manner, and must identify what the useful life of the Project is. The technical assessment must also identify all necessary Project agreements, demonstrate that those agreements will be in place at or before the time of loan closing, and demonstrate that necessary Project equipment and services will be available over the useful life of the Project. The technical assessment must be based upon verifiable data and contain sufficient information and analysis so that a determination can be made on the technical feasibility of achieving the levels of income or production that are projected in the financial statements. All technical information provided must follow the format specified in paragraphs (k)(8)(i) through (ix) of this section. Supporting information may be submitted in other formats. Design drawings and process flow charts are required as exhibits. A discussion of a topic identified in paragraphs (k)(8)(i) through (ix) of this section is not necessary if the topic is not applicable to the specific Project. Questions identified in the Agency's technical review of the Project must be answered to the Agency's satisfaction before the application will be approved. All Projects require the services of an independent, third-party professional engineer.

(i) Qualifications of Project team. The Project team will vary according to the complexity and scale of the Project. The Project team must have demonstrated expertise in similar Advanced Biofuel and Biobased Product including Renewable Chemical, as applicable, technology development, engineering, installation, and maintenance. Identify Borrower's, including its principals', prior experience in bioenergy projects and the receipt of Federal financial assistance, including the amount of funding, date received, purpose, and outcome, for such projects. Authoritative evidence that Project team service providers have the necessary professional credentials or relevant experience to perform the required services for the development, construction, and Retrofitting, as applicable, of technology for producing Advanced Biofuels and Biobased Products including Renewable Chemicals, if applicable, must be provided. In addition, authoritative evidence that vendors of proprietary components can provide necessary equipment and spare parts for the facility to operate over its useful life must be provided. The application must:

(A) Discuss the proposed Project delivery method. Such methods include a design-bid-build method, where a separate engineering firm may design the Project and prepare a request for bids and the successful bidder constructs the Project at the Borrower's risk, and a design -build method, often referred to as “turnkey,” where the Borrower establishes the specifications for the Project and secures the services of a developer who will design and build the Project at the developer's risk;

(B) Discuss the manufacturers of major components of Advanced Biofuels and Biobased Product including Renewable Chemical technology equipment being considered in terms of the length of time in business and the number of units installed at the capacity and scale being considered;

(C) Discuss the Project team members' qualifications for engineering, designing, and installing similar projects, including any relevant certifications by recognized organizations or bodies. Provide a list of the same or similar projects designed, installed, or supplied and currently operating, with references if available; and

(D) Describe the facility operator's qualifications and experience for servicing, operating, and maintaining such equipment or projects. Provide a list of the same or similar projects designed, installed, or supplied and currently operating, with references if available.

(ii) Agreements and permits. The application must identify all necessary agreements and permits required for the Project and the status and schedule for securing those agreements and permits, including the items specified in paragraphs (k)(8)(ii)(A) through (F) of this section.

(A) All facilities funded under this subpart must be installed in accordance with applicable local, State, and national codes and applicable local, State, and Federal regulations. Identify zoning and code requirements and necessary permits and the schedule for meeting those requirements and securing those permits.

(B) Identify licenses where required and the schedule for obtaining those licenses.

(C) Identify land use agreements required for the Project, the schedule for securing those agreements, and the term of those agreements.

(D) Identify any permits or agreements required for solid, liquid, and gaseous emissions or effluents and the schedule for securing those permits and agreements.

(E) Identify available component warranties for the specific Project location and size.

(F) Identify all environmental issues, including environmental compliance issues, associated with the Project.

(iii) Resource assessment. The application must provide adequate and appropriate evidence of the availability of the feedstocks required for the facility to operate as designed. Indicate the type and quantity of the feedstock, and discuss storage of the feedstock, where applicable, and competing uses for the feedstock. Indicate shipping or receiving methods and required infrastructure for shipping, and other appropriate transportation mechanisms including methods and systems to prevent the spread of invasive species. For proposed Projects with an established resource, provide a summary of the resource.

(iv) Design and engineering. The application must provide authoritative evidence that the facility will be designed and engineered so as to meet its intended purposes, will ensure public safety, and will comply with applicable laws, regulations, agreements, permits, codes, and standards. Projects shall be engineered by a qualified entity. Each facility must be engineered as a complete, integrated facility. The engineering must be comprehensive, including site selection, systems and component selection, and systems monitoring equipment. All Projects funded under this subpart must be constructed by a qualified entity.

(A) The application must include a concise but complete description of the Project, including location of the Project; resource characteristics, including the kind and amount of feedstocks; facility specifications; kind, amount, and quality of the output; and monitoring equipment. Address performance on a monthly and annual basis. Describe the uses of or the market for the Advanced Biofuels and Biobased Product including Renewable Chemical produced by the facility. Discuss the impact of reduced or interrupted feedstock availability on the facility's operations.

(B) The application must include:

(1) A description of the Project site that addresses issues such as site access, foundations, and backup equipment when applicable;

(2) Environmental documentation in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970.

(3) Identification of any unique construction and installation issues.

(C) Sites must be controlled by the eligible Borrower for at least the financing term of the Loan Note Guarantee.

(v) Project development schedule. The application must describe each significant task, its beginning and end, and its relationship to the time needed to initiate and carry the Project through startup and shakedown. Provide a detailed description of the Project timeline including resource assessment, Project and site design, permits and agreements, equipment procurement, and Project construction from excavation through startup and shakedown.

(vi) Equipment procurement. The application must demonstrate that equipment required by the facility is available and can be procured and delivered within the proposed Project development schedule. Projects funded under this subpart may be constructed of components manufactured in more than one location. Provide a description of any unique equipment procurement issues such as scheduling and timing of component manufacture and delivery, ordering, warranties, shipping, receiving, and on-site storage or inventory.

(vii) Equipment installation. The application must provide a full description of the management of and plan for site development and systems installation, details regarding the scheduling of major installation equipment needed for Project construction, and a description of the startup and shakedown specification and process and the conditions required for startup and shakedown for each equipment item individually and for the facility as a whole.

(viii) Operations and maintenance. The application must provide the operations and maintenance requirements of the facility necessary for the facility to operate as designed over its useful life. The application must also include:

(A) Information regarding available facility and component warranties and availability of spare parts;

(B) A description of the routine operations and maintenance requirements of the proposed facility, including maintenance schedules for the mechanical, piping, and electrical systems and system monitoring and control requirements, as well as provision of information that supports expected useful life of the facility and timing of major component replacement or rebuilds;

(C) A discussion of the costs and labor associated with operating and maintaining the facility and plans for in-sourcing or outsourcing. A description of the opportunities for technology transfer for long-term Project operations and maintenance by a local entity or owner/operator; and

(D) Provision and discussion of the risk management plan for handling large, unanticipated failures of major components.

(ix) Decommissioning. A description of the decommissioning process, when the Project must be uninstalled or removed. A description of any issues, requirements, and costs for removal and disposal of the facility.

[81 FR 67633, Dec. 23, 1996, as amended at 81 FR 11051, Mar. 2, 2016]

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