Vertex Energy Reports First Quarter 2021 Results

HOUSTON, TX / ACCESSWIRE / May 13, 2021 / Vertex Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR)( “Vertex Energy” or the “Company”), a leading specialty refiner and marketer of high-quality refined products, today announced its financial results for the first quarter 2021 ended March 31, 2021.


(As compared to the first quarter 2020)

  • Generated net income attributable to Vertex Energy, Inc. of $1.0 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $6.5 million, an increase of $4.9 million from first quarter 2020
  • Total collections +17% y/y to 10.4 million gallons
  • Marrero and Heartland refineries both operated a peak utilization, given strong refined product margins
  • Group II+ base oil prices increased 20% on a y/y basis, supporting improved margin capture at Heartland
  • Total cash and available liquidity of $16.4 million as of March 31, 2021


  • Anticipate Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $2.5 million to $3.0 million in the second quarter 2021, including the impact of a 10-day turnaround at the Marrero refinery and 3-day turnaround at the Heartland refinery

For the three months ended March 31, 2021, the Company reported net income attributable to Vertex Energy of $1.0 million versus net income of $2.7 million in the first quarter 2020. Vertex reported Adjusted EBITDA of $6.5 million for the first quarter 2021, versus $1.6 million in the prior-year period. A schedule reconciling the Company’s GAAP and non-GAAP financial results, including Free Cash Flow, EBITDA Adjusted EBITDA, is included later in this release (see also “Non-GAAP Financial Measures”, below).

During the first quarter 2021, a combination of improved refined product margins, higher base oil prices, increased used motor oil (UMO) collections, improved operating efficiency and strong operational reliability contributed to a year-over-year improvement in operating income and adjusted EBITDA.

Total throughputs at the Marrero refinery increased on both a sequential and year-over-year basis in the first quarter 2021, positioning Vertex to capitalize on improved spreads on its bunker fuel production. The Heartland refinery also operated at peak capacity during the first quarter, given higher selling prices on base oil. Prices for Group II+ base oils increased by more than 20% on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter and remain elevated into the second quarter 2021. Tight supply conditions in the market, improved commercial and industrial demand, together with higher crude oil prices have all contributed to higher base oil prices.


Vertex continued to advance a multi-year business transformation plan during the first quarter, positioning the organization to support investments in clean energy initiatives, improved asset optimization, organic growth in UMO collections and disciplined capital management.

  • Improved asset optimization. Total production first quarter increased to the highest level since the second quarter 2019, as both the Marrero and Heartland refineries operated above nameplate capacity in the period. At Marrero, total first quarter production increased 5% on a year-over-year basis and 35% when compared to the fourth quarter 2020.

  • Organic UMO collections growth. Total UMO collections increased 17% on a year-over-year basis to 10.4 million gallons, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Collections costs declined nearly 30% on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter, contributing to improved margin realization. Total UMO collections costs declined during the first quarter due to a combination of improved route efficiency and economies of scale, as more gallons were collected on a per truck basis, contributing to improved gross margin contribution.

  • Maintain capital discipline. The Company remains focused on preserving cash and liquidity to support growth. As of March 31, 2021, the Company had total cash and available liquidity of $16.4 million, including $10.2 million of cash limited to use by two SPVs, versus $12.3 million as of December 31, 2020. Vertex generated total free cash flow, or operating cash flow less total capital expenditures, of $1.2 million in the first quarter 2021.


“Our strong first quarter results, which include significant year-over-year growth in gross profit, operating income and adjusted EBITDA, were driven by a combination of increased product demand, improved margin realization, disciplined expense management and full optimization of our Marrero and Heartland refineries,” stated Benjamin P. Cowart, President and CEO of Vertex.

“I’m pleased to report that our business has recovered to pre-pandemic levels,” stated Cowart. “The investments and cost actions initially taken in response to the pandemic have improved our organizational efficiency, positioning Vertex to fully capitalize on the recent improvement in refined product margins. Our teams at Marrero and Heartland both did an exceptional job of ensuring safe, reliable refining operations during the first quarter, supporting a return to positive net income and free cash flow in the period.”

“In March 2021, we commenced construction on a new facility designed to recover distressed hydrocarbon streams from tankage and barges, continued Cowart. “The new facility, which is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter 2021, will supply our Myrtle Grove complex with a local, continuous supply of cost-advantaged, distressed product streams for use as feedstock. This feedstock supply will be reclaimed and recycled at Myrtle Grove, resulting in the yield of a higher-value intermediate stream that we can utilize across refining assets or sell to other end-markets. We expect to provide our Myrtle Grove complex with extensive, direct-to-marine gathering and storage capabilities, beginning in the third quarter 2021.”

“Given current projections, we expect to generate positive free cash flow, net income and Adjusted EBITDA for the full-year 2021,” continued Cowart. “Including the impact of planned turnarounds at both our Marrero and Heartland refineries during May and July 2021, respectively, we expect to generate Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $2.5 to $3.0 million in the second quarter 2021.”

“Our team is actively evaluating several high-impact inorganic opportunities that we anticipate will further position Vertex to support the global transition toward low-carbon energy solutions,” continued Cowart.


As of March 31, 2021, the Company had total cash and availability on its lending facility of $12.5 million and $3.9 million, respectively. Total cash and availability as of March 31, 2021 included $10.2 million of total cash limited to use by two SPVs.

Vertex had total long-term debt outstanding of $10.7 million as of March 31, 2021, which included $4.2 million related to funds received under the Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”) which is part of the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). Under the terms of the PPP, the entire balance of the loan may be forgiven to the extent that cash proceeds are used for qualifying expenses. As of the date of this release, the Company has allocated the entirety of PPP funds received toward qualifying expenses. Vertex applied for loan forgiveness during the fourth quarter 2020 and is awaiting determination regarding the outcome of its application.


A conference call will be held today at 9:00 A.M. ET to review the Company’s financial results, discuss recent events and conduct a question-and-answer session.

A webcast of the conference call and accompanying presentation materials will be available in the Investor Relations section of Vertex’s website at To listen to a live broadcast, go to the site at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time in order to register, download, and install any necessary audio software. To participate in the live teleconference:

Domestic Live: 888-506-0062

To listen to a replay of the teleconference, which will…

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