8-K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 8-K

 

 

CURRENT REPORT

PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE

SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): May 9, 2017

 

 

HEXION INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

 

New Jersey

(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation)

 

1-71   13-0511250

Commission

File Number

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

180 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio   43215-3799
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)   (Zip Code)

614-225-4000

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)

(Former Name or Former Address, if Changed Since Last Report)

 

 

Check the appropriate box below if the Form 8-K filing is intended to simultaneously satisfy the filing obligation of the registrant under any of the following provisions:

 

Written communications pursuant to Rule 425 under the Securities Act (17 CFR 230.425)

 

Soliciting material pursuant to Rule 14a-12 under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14a-12)

 

Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 14d-2(b) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14d-2(b))

 

Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 13e-4(c) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.13e-4(c))

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an emerging growth company as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933 (§230.405 of this chapter) or Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (§240.12b-2 of this chapter).

☐ 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.  ☐

 

 

 


Item 7.01 Regulation FD Disclosure

On May 9, 2017, the Registrant issued a news release, pursuant to Rule 135c of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), announcing its intent to offer $75 million aggregate principal amount of new 10.375% First-Priority Senior Secured Notes due 2022 (the “Notes”) through a private placement. The Registrant intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes for general corporate purposes. The Registrant previously issued $485 million aggregate principal amount of 10.375% First-Priority Senior Secured Notes due 2022 and the Notes will constitute a single class of securities with such previously issued notes. A copy of such news release is furnished hereto as Exhibit 99.1 and is incorporated herein by reference.

The Registrant is furnishing the information in this Current Report on Form 8-K to comply with Regulation FD. Such information shall not be deemed to be “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or otherwise subject to the liabilities of that section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any of the Registrant’s filings under the Securities Act or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, whether made before or after the date hereof and regardless of any general incorporation language in such filings, except to the extent expressly set forth by specific reference in such a filing.

The Registrant is disclosing under Item 7.01 the risk factors attached as Exhibit 99.2, which information is incorporated by reference herein. This information, which has not been previously reported, is included in a preliminary offering memorandum that is being disseminated in connection with the offering of the Notes.

Item 9.01 Financial Statements and Exhibits

(d)    Exhibits.

 

Exhibit

No.

  

Description

Exhibit 99.1    News Release, dated May 9, 2017, announcing Hexion Inc.’s Proposed $75 Million Debt Offering.
Exhibit 99.2    Risk Factors.

 

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SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned hereunto duly authorized.

 

    HEXION INC.
Date: May 9, 2017     By:  

/s/ George F. Knight

      George F. Knight
      Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

 

 

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EXHIBIT INDEX

 

Exhibit

No.

  

Description

Exhibit 99.1    News Release, dated May 9, 2017, announcing Hexion Inc.’s Proposed $75 Million Debt Offering.
Exhibit 99.2    Risk Factors.

 

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EX-99.1

Exhibit 99.1

 

LOGO

  

Hexion Inc.

 

180 East Broad Street

Columbus, OH 43215

hexion.com

   NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hexion Inc. Announces

Proposed $75 Million Debt Offering

COLUMBUS, Ohio – (May 9, 2017) — Hexion Inc. (the “Company”) announced today that it is proposing to issue $75 million aggregate principal amount of new 10.375% First-Priority Senior Secured Notes (the “Notes”) in a private offering that is exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Company previously issued $485 million aggregate principal amount of 10.375% First-Priority Senior Secured Notes due 2022 and the Notes will constitute a single class of securities with such previously issued notes.

The Notes will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by the Company’s existing domestic subsidiaries that guarantee obligations under its senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (the “ABL Facility”) and its future domestic subsidiaries that guarantee any debt of the Company or the guarantors. The Notes and guarantees will be secured by first-priority liens on the notes priority collateral (which generally includes most of the Company’s and the Company’s domestic subsidiaries’ assets other than the ABL priority collateral) and by second-priority liens on the ABL priority collateral (which generally includes most of the Company’s and the Company’s domestic subsidiaries’ inventory and accounts receivable and related assets), in each case subject to certain exceptions and permitted liens.

The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes for general corporate purposes. The proposed offering of the Notes is subject to market and other conditions, and may not occur as described or at all.

The Notes are being offered only to qualified institutional buyers in reliance on Rule 144A under the Securities Act, and outside the United States, only to non-U.S. investors in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act. The Notes will not be initially registered under the Securities Act or any state securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent an effective registration statement or an applicable exemption from registration requirements or a transaction not subject to the registration requirements of the Securities Act or any state securities laws.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such offering, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of and made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In addition, our management may from time to time make oral forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “estimate,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “seek” or “intend” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements reflect our current expectations and assumptions regarding our business, the economy and other future events and conditions and are based on currently available financial, economic and competitive data and our current business plans. Actual results could vary materially depending on risks and uncertainties that may affect our operations, markets, services, prices and other factors as discussed in the Risk Factors section of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). While we believe our assumptions are reasonable, we caution you against relying on any forward-looking statements as it is very difficult to predict the impact of known factors, and it is impossible for us to anticipate all factors that could affect our actual results. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, a weakening of global economic and financial conditions, interruptions in the supply of or increased cost of raw materials, the loss of, or difficulties with the further realization of, cost savings in connection with our strategic initiatives, including transactions with our affiliate, Momentive Performance Materials Inc., the impact of our substantial indebtedness, our failure to comply with financial covenants under our credit facilities or other debt, pricing actions by our competitors that could affect our operating margins, changes in governmental regulations and related compliance and litigation costs and the


other factors listed in the Risk Factors section of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our other SEC filings, including our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. For a more detailed discussion of these and other risk factors, see the Risk Factors section in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and our other filings made with the SEC. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary notice. The forward-looking statements made by us speak only as of the date on which they are made. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.

About the Company

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Hexion Inc. is a global leader in thermoset resins. Hexion Inc. serves the global wood and industrial markets through a broad range of thermoset technologies, specialty products and technical support for customers in a diverse range of applications and industries. Hexion Inc. is controlled by investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC. Additional information about Hexion Inc. and its products is available at www.hexion.com.

Contacts

Investors and Media:

John Kompa

614-225-2223

john.kompa@hexion.com

EX-99.2

Exhibit 99.2

RISK FACTORS

Purchasing new notes in this offering involves a high degree of risk. Before you decide to invest in the new notes, you should be aware that investment in the new notes carries various risks, including those described below, that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. In such case, you may lose all or part of your original investment. We urge you to carefully consider these risk factors, together with all of the other information included and incorporated by reference in this offering circular, before you decide to invest in the new notes. In addition, in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 as well as our other periodic reports filed with the SEC, incorporated herein by reference, we identify other factors that could affect our business.

Risks Related to an Investment in the Notes and this Offering

The notes are effectively subordinated to all liabilities of our non-guarantor subsidiaries and structurally subordinated to claims of creditors of all of our foreign subsidiaries.

The notes are structurally subordinated to indebtedness and other liabilities of Hexion’s subsidiaries that are not guarantors of the notes. As of March 31, 2017, on an as adjusted basis giving effect to the offering of the new notes, Hexion’s subsidiaries that are not guarantors had total indebtedness of approximately $190 million and total liabilities of $797 million (in each case, excluding intercompany liabilities of such non-guarantor subsidiaries). In the event of a bankruptcy, liquidation or reorganization of any of our non-guarantor subsidiaries, these non-guarantor subsidiaries will pay the holders of their debts, holders of preferred equity interests and their trade creditors before they will be able to distribute any of their assets to Hexion.

The notes are not guaranteed by any of Hexion’s non-U.S. subsidiaries. Hexion’s non-U.S. subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities and have no obligation, contingent or otherwise, to pay any amounts due pursuant to the notes, or to make any funds available therefor, whether by dividends, loans, distributions or other payments. Any right that Hexion or the subsidiary guarantors have to receive any assets of any of the foreign subsidiaries upon the liquidation or reorganization of those subsidiaries, and the consequent rights of holders of notes to realize proceeds from the sale of any of those subsidiaries’ assets, will be effectively subordinated to the claims of those subsidiaries’ creditors, including trade creditors and holders of preferred equity interests of those subsidiaries.

Federal and state statutes allow courts, under specific circumstances, to void notes, guarantees and security interests, and require note holders to return payments received.

Certain of Hexion’s existing domestic subsidiaries will guarantee the new notes and certain of its future domestic subsidiaries may guarantee the new notes. In addition, the guarantees will be secured by certain collateral owned by the related guarantor. If the Issuer or any guarantor becomes a debtor in a case under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code or encounters other financial difficulty, under federal or state fraudulent transfer law a court may void or otherwise decline to enforce the notes, the guaranty or the related security agreements, as the case may be. A court might do so if it found that when the Issuer issued the notes or the guarantor entered into its guaranty or, in some states, when payments became due under the notes, the guaranty or security agreements, such issuer or the guarantor received less than reasonably equivalent value or fair consideration and either:

 

    was or was rendered insolvent;

 

    was left with inadequate capital to conduct its business; or

 

    believed or reasonably should have believed that it would incur debts beyond its ability to pay.

The court might also void an issuance of notes, a guaranty or security agreements, without regard to the above factors, if the court found that the Issuer issued the notes or the guarantor entered into its guaranty or security agreements with actual intent to hinder, delay or defraud its creditors.

 

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A court would likely find that Hexion or a guarantor did not receive reasonably equivalent value or fair consideration for the notes or its guaranty and security agreements, respectively, if the Issuer or the guarantor did not substantially benefit directly or indirectly from the issuance of the notes. If a court were to void an issuance of notes, a guaranty or the related security agreements, you would no longer have a claim against the Issuer or the guarantor or, in the case of the security agreements, a claim with respect to the related collateral. Sufficient funds to repay the notes may not be available from other sources, including the remaining guarantors, if any. In addition, the court might direct you to repay any amounts that you already received from the Issuer or the guarantor or with respect to the collateral.

The measures of insolvency for purposes of these fraudulent transfer laws will vary depending upon the law applied in any proceeding to determine whether a fraudulent transfer has occurred. In general, however, a court would consider the Issuer or a guarantor insolvent if:

 

    the sum of its debts, including contingent and unliquidated liabilities, was greater than the fair saleable value of all of its assets;

 

    the present fair saleable value of its assets was less than the amount that would be required to pay its probable liability on its existing debts, including contingent liabilities, as they become absolute and mature; or

 

    it could not pay its debts as they became due.

Each guaranty contains a provision intended to limit the guarantor’s liability to the maximum amount that it could incur without causing the incurrence of obligations under its guaranty to be a fraudulent transfer. This provision may not be effective to protect the guaranties from being voided under fraudulent transfer law, or may reduce or eliminate the guarantor’s obligation to an amount that effectively makes the guaranty worthless.

The notes will mature after a substantial portion of our other indebtedness.

The notes and the Senior Secured Notes will mature on February 1, 2022. A substantial portion of our other indebtedness (including under the ABL Facility) will mature prior to February 1, 2022. The First Lien Notes will mature on April 15, 2020, and the Second Lien Notes will mature on November 15, 2020. Because we will be required to repay a substantial portion of our other creditors before we are required to repay the principal of, and a portion of the interest due on, the notes, we may not have sufficient cash to repay all amounts owing on the notes. There can be no assurance that we will have the ability to borrow or otherwise raise the amounts necessary to repay or refinance such amounts. Moreover, there can be no assurance that we will have the ability to borrow or otherwise raise the amounts necessary to repay or refinance these other debt instruments in advance of the maturity date of the notes, which could cause us to seek to restructure our debt obligations prior to the maturity date of the notes or cause us to default on our debt obligations, including the notes, and result in the acceleration of our debt obligations.

We may not be able to repurchase the notes upon a change of control.

Specific kinds of change of control events of Hexion require us to make an offer to repurchase all outstanding notes at 101% of their principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest or by exercising their right to redeem such notes, in each case within 30 days after such change of control event. Similar change of control offer requirements are applicable to notes issued under certain of our other indentures. Hexion will be dependent on its subsidiaries for the funds necessary to cure the events of default caused by such change of control event. We and our subsidiaries may not have sufficient financial resources to purchase all of the applicable notes that are tendered upon a change of control offer or to redeem such notes. The occurrence of a change of control would also constitute an event of default under the ABL Facility and could constitute an event of default under our other indebtedness. Our bank lenders may have the right to prohibit any such purchase or redemption, in which event we will seek to obtain waivers from the required lenders under the ABL Facility and our other indebtedness, but may not be able to do so. See “Description of the Notes—Change of Control.”

 

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Investors may not be able to determine when a change of control that gives rise to their right to have the notes repurchased by Hexion has occurred following a sale of “substantially all” of Hexion’s assets.

Specific kinds of change of control events of Hexion require us to make an offer to repurchase all outstanding notes or exercise their right to redeem such notes. The definition of change of control includes a phrase relating to the sale, lease of transfer of “all or substantially all” the assets of Hexion and its subsidiaries taken as a whole. There is no precise established definition of the phrase “substantially all” under applicable law. Accordingly, the ability of a holder of the notes to require Hexion to repurchase such notes as a result of a sale, lease or transfer of less than all of the assets of Hexion and its subsidiaries taken as a whole to another individual, group or entity may be uncertain.

We can enter into transactions like recapitalizations, reorganizations and other highly leveraged transactions that do not constitute a change of control but that could adversely affect the holders of the notes.

Certain important corporate events, such as leveraged recapitalizations that would increase the level of our indebtedness, would not constitute a change of control under the Indenture and the indentures governing our other notes. Therefore, the Issuer could, in the future, enter into certain transactions, including acquisitions, reorganizations, refinancings or other recapitalizations, that would not constitute a change of control under the Indenture, but that could increase the amount of indebtedness outstanding at such time or otherwise affect the Issuer’s capital structure or credit ratings.

There may be no active trading market for the notes, and if one develops, it may not be liquid.

There is no established trading market for the notes. We do not intend to list the notes on any national securities exchange or to seek the admission of the notes for quotation through the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. There can be no assurance as to the development or liquidity of any market for the notes, the ability of the holders of such notes to sell such notes or the price at which the holders would be able to sell such notes. Future trading prices of the notes will depend on many factors, including:

 

    our operating performance and financial condition;

 

    the interest of securities dealers in making a market; and

 

    the market for similar securities.

Historically, the market for non-investment grade debt has been subject to disruptions that have caused substantial volatility in the prices of securities similar to the notes. The market for the notes, if any, may be subject to similar disruptions. Any such disruptions may adversely affect the value of the notes.

There are restrictions on your ability to transfer or resell the notes without registration under applicable securities laws, and the notes are not subject to any registration rights. The Indenture will not be qualified under the Trust Indenture Act and will not be required to comply with the provisions of the Trust Indenture Act.

The notes have not been registered under the Securities Act or any state securities laws. The notes are being offered and sold pursuant to an exemption from registration under U.S. and applicable state securities laws. As a result, the notes may be transferred or resold only in transactions registered under, or exempt from, U.S. and applicable state securities laws. Therefore, you may be required to bear the risk of your investment for an indefinite period of time. By receiving the notes, you will be deemed to have made certain acknowledgments, representations and agreements as set forth under “Transfer Restrictions.” We and the guarantors will not be obligated to offer to exchange the notes for notes registered under U.S. securities laws or register the reoffer and resale of notes under U.S. securities laws. As a result, the transferability of the notes may be negatively affected. See “Transfer Restrictions.” The Indenture will not be qualified under the Trust Indenture Act and the Issuer will

 

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not be required to comply with the provisions of the Trust Indenture Act. Therefore, holders of the notes will not be entitled to the benefit of the provisions and protection of the Trust Indenture Act or similar provisions in the Indenture.

Our ability to repay the notes depends upon our performance and the performance of our subsidiaries and their ability to make payments or distributions.

A significant portion of Hexion’s assets are owned, and a significant percentage of Hexion’s net sales are earned, by its direct and indirect subsidiaries. Therefore, Hexion’s cash flows and its ability to service indebtedness will be dependent upon cash dividends and distributions or other transfers from its subsidiaries. Payments to the Issuer by its subsidiaries will be contingent upon the earnings of those subsidiaries.

Hexion’s subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities and, except for the existing and future subsidiaries that will guarantee the notes, they will not have any obligation, contingent or otherwise, to pay amounts due with respect to the notes or to make any funds available to pay those amounts, whether by dividend, distribution, loan or other payments. In addition, certain of Hexion’s subsidiaries are subject to contractual limitations on their ability to pay dividends or otherwise distribute money to the Issuer. If Hexion’s subsidiaries cannot pay out dividends or make other distributions to Hexion, Hexion may not have sufficient cash to fulfill its obligations with respect to the notes.

Risks Relating to the Collateral Securing the Notes

Additional indebtedness is secured by the collateral that will secure the new notes, and the new notes will be secured only to the extent of the value of the assets that have been granted as security for the new notes and the guarantees, which may not be sufficient to satisfy our obligations under the new notes.

Indebtedness under our ABL Facility, the interest protection and other hedging agreements, cash management agreements and the overdraft facility pursuant thereunder (referred to herein as the “ABL Obligations”) are secured by first-priority liens on the ABL Priority Collateral and other assets of Hexion and its subsidiaries and junior liens on the “Notes Priority Collateral” (which generally includes most of our and our domestic subsidiaries’ assets other than the ABL Priority Collateral).

The new notes will be secured by a lien on only a portion of the assets that secure the ABL Obligations and there may not be sufficient collateral to pay all or any of the notes. In addition, indebtedness permitted to be secured by a lien that is pari passu with liens securing the new notes (referred to herein as other “First Priority Lien Obligations”), such as the existing notes and the First Lien Notes, are secured by the same tangible and intangible assets of Hexion and each subsidiary guarantor that will secure the new notes on a pari passu basis. In the event of a bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or similar proceeding against us or any future domestic subsidiary, the assets that are pledged as shared collateral securing the other First Priority Lien Obligations and the notes must be used to pay the other First Priority Lien Obligations and the notes ratably as set forth in the first lien intercreditor agreement. We may incur additional First Priority Lien Obligations and ABL Obligations in the future.

As of March 31, 2017, as adjusted for the offering of the new notes, we would have had approximately $3.7 billion of outstanding indebtedness, including $75 million of the new notes and $485 million of the existing notes and $1,865 million of the First Lien Notes. As of March 31, 2017, as adjusted for the offering of the new notes, borrowings of $235 million were unused and available under our ABL Facility (which is subject to borrowing base availability and an effective cap on borrowings when we are unable to satisfy a fixed charge coverage ratio). In addition to other First Priority Lien Obligations, the Indenture allows additional amounts of other indebtedness and other obligations to be secured by a lien on the collateral securing the notes on an equal and ratable basis, provided that, in each case, such indebtedness or other obligation could be incurred under the debt and lien incurrence covenants contained in the Indenture.

 

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Any additional obligations secured by an equal priority lien on the collateral securing the new notes will adversely affect the relative position of the holders of the new notes with respect to the collateral securing such notes.

Many of our assets, such as certain assets owned by certain of our foreign subsidiaries, are not part of the collateral securing the new notes, but do secure the ABL Facility. In addition, our foreign subsidiaries will be permitted to incur substantial indebtedness in compliance with the covenants under the ABL Facility, the indentures governing our other secured notes, the Indenture and the agreements governing our other indebtedness. We are also permitted to transfer assets from guarantors to non-guarantor subsidiaries, including non-U.S. subsidiaries in compliance with the covenants under the Indenture. Upon such a transfer, those assets will be released automatically from the liens securing the notes. With respect to those assets that are not part of the collateral securing the new notes but which secure other obligations, the new notes will be effectively junior to these obligations to the extent of the value of such assets. There is no requirement that the holders of other First Priority Lien Obligations or ABL Obligations first look to these excluded assets before foreclosing, selling or otherwise acting upon the collateral shared with the notes.

No appraisals of any collateral have been prepared in connection with the offering of the new notes. The value of the collateral at any time will depend on market and other economic conditions, including the availability of suitable buyers for the collateral. By their nature, some or all of the pledged assets may be illiquid and may have no readily ascertainable market value. The value of the assets pledged as collateral for the new notes could be impaired in the future as a result of changing economic conditions, our failure to implement our business strategy, competition and other future events or trends. In the event of a foreclosure, liquidation, bankruptcy or similar proceeding, no assurance can be given that the proceeds from any sale or liquidation of the collateral will be sufficient to pay our obligations under the new notes and the other First Priority Lien Obligations, in full or at all, while also paying the ABL Obligations in accordance with the ABL intercreditor agreement.

In the event of a bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or similar proceeding against us or any future guarantor, all proceeds from ABL Priority Collateral will be applied first to repay the obligations in respect of the ABL Facility, second, to repay the obligations in respect of the notes and any other First Priority Lien Obligations that are secured by a lien that is pari passu with the notes, and proceeds from Notes Priority Collateral will be applied first to repay the obligations in respect of the notes and any other First Priority Lien Obligations that are secured by a Lien that is pari passu with the notes and, second, to repay the obligations in respect of the ABL Facility. No assurance can be given that the proceeds from any sale or liquidation of the collateral will be sufficient to pay our obligations under the notes, in full or at all, while also paying obligations in respect of the ABL Facility and any other First Priority Lien Obligations.

Accordingly, there may not be sufficient collateral to pay all or any of the amounts due on the notes. Any claim for the difference between the amount, if any, realized by holders of the notes from the sale of the collateral securing the notes and the obligations under the notes will rank equally in right of payment with all of our other unsecured unsubordinated indebtedness and other obligations, including trade payables.

The secured indebtedness under the ABL Facility is effectively senior to the notes to the extent of the value of the ABL Priority Collateral.

The ABL intercreditor agreement provides that, upon an enforcement action or insolvency, holders of indebtedness under the ABL Facility will be entitled to be paid out of the proceeds of the ABL Priority Collateral upon a bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or similar proceeding before the proceeds are applied to pay obligations with respect to the notes. Holders of the indebtedness under the ABL Facility will be entitled to receive the proceeds from the realization of value of such collateral to repay such indebtedness in full before the holders of the new notes will be entitled to any recovery from such collateral. As a result, holders of the new notes will only be entitled to receive proceeds from the realization of value of the ABL Priority Collateral after

 

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all indebtedness and other obligations under the ABL Facility are repaid in full. The new notes will effectively be junior in right of payment to indebtedness under our ABL Facility to the extent of the realizable value of ABL Priority Collateral. We have not pledged any real property to secure the notes or other First Priority Lien Obligations and, accordingly, a substantial portion of the collateral constitutes ABL Priority Collateral.

The ABL intercreditor agreement also contains a number of waivers by holders of the notes of important rights that otherwise accrue to secured creditors in a bankruptcy. For a more complete description, see “Description of the Notes—Security for the Notes.”

Even though the holders of the new notes will benefit from a first-priority lien on the collateral of Hexion and the guarantors that secures the existing notes and our First Lien Notes, the representative of the holders of the First Lien Notes and, if we enter into senior secured credit facilities that are secured by liens that are pari passu with the liens securing the notes, the representative of the lenders under such senior secured credit facilities, will control actions with respect to that collateral.

The rights of the holders of the new notes with respect to the collateral that will secure the new notes on a first-priority basis will be subject to a first lien intercreditor agreement among the holders of the new notes and the other First Priority Lien Obligations, including the existing notes and the First Lien Notes and, to the extent we enter into future senior secured credit facilities that are secured by liens that are pari passu with the liens securing the new notes, the secured parties thereunder. Under the first lien intercreditor agreement, any actions that may be taken with respect to such collateral, including the ability to cause the commencement of enforcement proceedings against such collateral and to control such proceedings will initially be at the direction of the authorized representative of the holders of the 6.625% First Lien Notes, until the earlier of (1) the date on which our obligations under our First Lien Notes are discharged (which discharge does not include certain refinancings of our First Lien Notes), (2) the date on which we incur obligations under senior secured credit facilities that are secured by liens that are pari passu with the liens securing the notes (in which case the representative of the lenders thereunder would be the authorized representative with the ability to cause the commencement of enforcement proceedings against such collateral and to control such proceedings) and (3) 180 days after the occurrence of an event of default under the Indenture (so long as the trustee for the notes provides notice of such event of default to the authorized representative for the holders of the First Lien Notes and (x) such authorized representative has not commenced nor is diligently pursuing an enforcement action with respect to the collateral and (y) no grantor of collateral is a debtor under any insolvency or liquidation proceeding). Upon the occurrence of any of the events described in (1) and (3), the trustee for the holders of the notes will control such matters if the notes represent the next largest outstanding principal amount of indebtedness secured by a first-priority lien on the collateral and has complied with the applicable notice provisions and if the notes are at the time due and payable in full. However, even if the authorized representative of the notes gains the right to direct the collateral agent in the circumstances described in clause (3) above, such authorized representative must stop doing so (and those powers with respect to the collateral would revert to the authorized representative of the holders of the First Lien Notes) if (1) the authorized representative of the holders of the First Lien Notes has commenced and is diligently pursuing enforcement action with respect to the collateral or (2) the grantor of a security interest in the collateral (whether our company or the applicable subsidiary guarantor) is then a debtor under or with respect to (or otherwise subject to) an insolvency or liquidation proceeding.

Therefore, if we enter into (i) any first lien or senior secured credit facilities or (ii) if we issue additional first lien notes or other debt in the future in a greater principal amount than the notes, then, in the case of clause (i), the authorized representative for such senior secured credit facilities will exercise rights under the first lien intercreditor agreement, or in the case of clause (ii), if such additional notes or such other debt constitutes the largest outstanding principal amount of indebtedness secured by a first priority lien on the collateral, the authorized representative of such indebtedness will have the right to exercise rights under the first lien intercreditor agreement, rather than the authorized representative for the holders of the notes.

Under the first lien intercreditor agreement, the authorized representative of the holders of the notes may not object following the filing of a bankruptcy petition to any debtor-in-possession financing or to the use of the

 

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shared collateral to secure that financing, subject to conditions and limited exceptions. After such a filing, the value of this collateral could materially deteriorate, and holders of the notes would be unable to raise an objection.

The collateral that will secure the new notes on a first-priority basis will also be subject to any and all exceptions, defects, encumbrances, liens and other imperfections as may be in effect on the date of issuance of the new notes or that may be accepted by the authorized representative of the First Lien Notes or by the authorized representative of the lenders under any senior secured credit facilities that may be incurred in the future, in each case during any period that such authorized representative controls actions with respect to the collateral pursuant to the first lien intercreditor agreement. The existence of any such exceptions, defects, encumbrances, liens and other imperfections could adversely affect the value of the collateral securing the notes as well as the ability of the collateral agent to realize or foreclose on such collateral for the benefit of the holders of the notes. The initial purchaser has neither analyzed the effect of, nor participated in any negotiations relating to, such exceptions, defects, encumbrances, liens and imperfections, and the existence thereof could adversely affect the value of the collateral that will secure the notes as well as the ability of the collateral agent to realize or foreclose on such collateral for the benefit of the holders of the notes.

Furthermore, the security documents generally allow us and our subsidiaries to remain in possession or, retain exclusive control over, to freely operate, and to collect, invest and dispose of any income from, the collateral securing the notes. In addition, to the extent we sell any assets that constitute collateral, the proceeds from such sale will be subject to the lien securing the notes only to the extent such proceeds would otherwise constitute “collateral” securing the notes under the security documents. To the extent the proceeds from any such sale of collateral do not constitute “collateral” under the security documents, the pool of assets securing the notes would be reduced and the notes would not be secured by such proceeds. For instance, if we sell any of our domestic assets which constitute collateral securing the notes and, with the proceeds from such sale, purchase assets in Europe which we transfer to one of our foreign subsidiaries, the holders of the notes would not receive a security interest in the assets purchased in Europe and transferred to our foreign subsidiary because the pool of assets which constitutes collateral securing the notes under the security documents excludes assets owned by our foreign subsidiaries.

The capital stock securing the notes will automatically be released from the lien and no longer be deemed to be collateral to the extent the pledge of such capital stock would require the filing of separate financial statements for any of our subsidiaries (other than Hexion Coop) with the SEC. As a result of any such release, the notes could be secured by less collateral than our first-priority indebtedness.

The Indenture and the security documents provide that, to the extent that separate financial statements of any of our subsidiaries (other than Hexion Coop, which is the indirect owner of Hexion Canada) would be required by the rules of the SEC (or any other governmental agency) due to the fact that such subsidiary’s capital stock or other securities secure the notes, then such capital stock or other securities will automatically be deemed not to be part of the collateral securing the notes to the extent necessary to not be subject to such requirement. In such event, the security documents will be amended, without the consent of any holder of notes, to the extent necessary to release the liens on such capital stock or securities. As a result, holders of the notes could lose all or a portion of their security interest in the capital stock or other securities if any such rule becomes applicable. Because the new notes do not have registration rights, this limitation will not limit the collateral on the date of issuance of the new notes. In addition, certain of our foreign subsidiaries have a value in excess of 20% of the aggregate principal amount of the notes; accordingly, our pledge of such stock as collateral for the notes will be limited to less than 20% of the aggregate principal amount of the notes. As a result of the foregoing, the notes could be secured by less collateral than the ABL Obligations or other First Priority Lien Obligations that may be incurred in the future.

 

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Rights of holders of the notes in the collateral may be adversely affected by bankruptcy proceedings.

The right of the collateral agent to repossess and dispose of the collateral securing the notes upon acceleration is likely to be significantly impaired by federal bankruptcy law if bankruptcy proceedings are commenced by or against us prior to or possibly even after the collateral agent has repossessed and disposed of the collateral. Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, a secured creditor, such as the collateral agent, is prohibited from repossessing its security from a debtor in a bankruptcy case, or from disposing of security repossessed from a debtor, without bankruptcy court approval. Moreover, bankruptcy law permits the debtor to continue to retain and to use collateral, and the proceeds, products, rents or profits of the collateral, even though the debtor is in default under the applicable debt instruments, provided that the secured creditor is given “adequate protection.” The meaning of the term “adequate protection” may vary according to circumstances, but it is intended in general to protect the value of the secured creditor’s interest in the collateral and may include cash payments or the granting of additional security, if and at such time as the court in its discretion determines, for any diminution in the value of the collateral as a result of the stay of repossession or disposition or any use of the collateral by the debtor during the pendency of the bankruptcy case. In view of the broad discretionary powers of a bankruptcy court, it is impossible to predict how long payments under the notes could be delayed following commencement of a bankruptcy case, whether or when the collateral agent would repossess or dispose of the collateral, or whether or to what extent holders of the notes would be compensated for any delay in payment of loss of value of the collateral through the requirements of “adequate protection.” Furthermore, in the event the bankruptcy court determines that the value of the collateral is not sufficient to repay all amounts due on the notes, the holders of the notes would have “undersecured claims” as to the difference and would not be entitled to post-petition interest or “adequate protection” with respect to such difference. Federal bankruptcy laws do not permit the payment or accrual of interest, costs and attorneys’ fees for “undersecured claims” during the debtor’s bankruptcy case.

The collateral securing the new notes may be diluted under certain circumstances.

The collateral that will secure the new notes also secures our obligations under the existing notes, the First Lien Notes and the ABL Obligations. This collateral may secure on a first-priority basis additional senior indebtedness that Hexion or certain of our subsidiaries incur in the future, subject to restrictions on our ability to incur debt and liens under the indentures and the ABL Facility. Your rights to the collateral would be diluted by any increase in the indebtedness secured on a first-priority or parity basis by this collateral.

It may be difficult to realize the value of the collateral securing the new notes.

The collateral securing the new notes will be subject to any and all exceptions, defects, encumbrances, liens and other imperfections as may be accepted by the creditors that have the benefit of first liens on the collateral securing the new notes from time to time, whether on or after the date the new notes are issued. The initial purchaser did not analyze the effect of, nor participate in, any negotiations relating to, such exceptions, defects, encumbrances, liens and other imperfections. The existence of any such exceptions, defects, encumbrances, liens and other imperfections could adversely affect the value of the collateral securing the notes as well as the ability of the collateral agent to realize or foreclose on such collateral.

In the event that a bankruptcy case is commenced by or against us, if the value of the collateral is less than the amount of principal and accrued and unpaid interest on the notes and all other First Priority Lien Obligations and ABL Obligations, interest may cease to accrue on the notes from and after the date the bankruptcy petition is filed.

In addition, our business requires numerous federal, state and local permits and licenses. Continued operation of properties that are the collateral for the notes depends on the maintenance of such permits and licenses. Our business is subject to substantial regulations and permitting requirements and may be adversely affected if we are unable to comply with existing regulations or requirements or changes in applicable regulations

 

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or requirements. In the event of foreclosure, the transfer of such permits and licenses may be prohibited or may require us to incur significant cost and expense. Further, we cannot assure you that the applicable governmental authorities will consent to the transfer of all such permits. If the regulatory approvals required for such transfers are not obtained or are delayed, the foreclosure may be delayed, a temporary shutdown of operations may result and the value of the collateral may be significantly decreased.

There are circumstances other than repayment or discharge of the notes under which the collateral that will secure the new notes and guarantees will be released automatically, without your consent or the consent of the trustee.

Under various circumstances, collateral that will secure the new notes will be released automatically, including:

 

    a sale, transfer or other disposition of such collateral in a transaction not prohibited under the Indenture;

 

    with respect to collateral held by a guarantor, upon the release of such guarantor from its guarantee;

 

    in respect of the property and assets of a restricted subsidiary that is a guarantor, upon the designation of such guarantor as an unrestricted subsidiary in accordance with the Indenture;

 

    the case of the Issuer or a guarantor making a transfer permitted under the Indenture to any person (including a restricted subsidiary of the Issuer) that is not the Issuer or a guarantor;

 

    except in connection with repayment of other First Priority Lien Obligations or where future senior secured credit facilities secured by liens that are pari passu with the liens securing the notes represent less than a majority of the First Priority Lien Obligations, upon release of liens securing the other First Priority Lien Obligations; and

 

    except in connection with the repayment of the ABL Facility, in respect of any property and assets of the Issuer or a Guarantor that would constitute ABL Priority Collateral but is at such time not subject to a Lien securing ABL Obligations.

The guarantee of a subsidiary guarantor will be automatically released to the extent it is released in connection with a sale of such subsidiary guarantor in a transaction not prohibited by the Indenture. The Indenture also permits us to designate one or more of our restricted subsidiaries that is a guarantor of the notes as an unrestricted subsidiary. If we designate a subsidiary guarantor as an unrestricted subsidiary for purposes of the Indenture, all of the liens on any collateral owned by such subsidiary or any of its subsidiaries and any guarantees of the notes by such subsidiary or any of its subsidiaries will be released under the Indenture. Designation of an unrestricted subsidiary will reduce the aggregate value of the collateral securing the notes to the extent that liens on the assets of the unrestricted subsidiary and its subsidiaries are released. In addition, the creditors of the unrestricted subsidiary and its subsidiaries will have a claim on the assets of such unrestricted subsidiary and its subsidiaries that is senior to the claim of the holders of the notes. See “Description of the Notes.”

The rights of holders of the notes to the collateral securing the notes may be adversely affected by the failure to perfect security interests in the collateral and other issues generally associated with the realization of security interests in collateral.

Applicable law requires that a security interest in certain tangible and intangible assets can only be properly perfected and its priority retained through certain actions undertaken by the secured party. The liens on the collateral securing the notes may not be perfected with respect to the claims of the notes if the collateral agent is not able to take the actions necessary to perfect any of these liens on or prior to the issue date of the notes. In addition, applicable law requires that certain property and rights acquired after the grant of a general security interest, such as real property, can only be perfected at the time such property and rights are acquired and identified and additional steps to perfect in such property and rights are taken. The Issuer and our subsidiary

 

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guarantors will have limited obligations to perfect the security interest of the holders of the notes in specified collateral. There can be no assurance that the trustee or the collateral agent for the notes will monitor, or that we will inform such trustee or collateral agent of, the future acquisition of property and rights that constitute collateral, and that the necessary action will be taken to properly perfect the security interest in such after-acquired collateral. The collateral agent for the notes has no obligation to monitor the acquisition of additional property or rights that could constitute collateral or the perfection of any security interest. This may result in the loss of the security interest in the collateral or the priority of the security interest in favor of notes against third parties.

In addition, the security interest of the collateral agent will be subject to practical challenges generally associated with the realization of security interests in collateral. For example, the collateral agent may need to obtain the consent of third parties and make additional filings. If we are unable to obtain these consents or make these filings, the security interests may be invalid and the holders will not be entitled to the collateral or any recovery with respect thereto. We cannot assure you that the collateral agent will be able to obtain any such consent. We also cannot assure you that the consents of any third parties will be given when required to facilitate a foreclosure on such assets. Accordingly, the collateral agent may not have the ability to foreclose upon those assets and the value of the collateral may significantly decrease.

Rights of holders of the notes in the collateral may be adversely affected by the failure to perfect security interests in certain collateral acquired in the future.

The security interest in the collateral securing the notes includes domestic assets, both tangible and intangible, whether now owned or acquired or arising in the future. Applicable law requires that certain property and rights acquired after the grant of a general security interest can only be perfected at the time such property and rights are acquired and identified. There can be no assurance that the necessary action will be taken to properly perfect the security interest in such after-acquired collateral. This may result in the loss of the security interest therein or the priority of the security interest in favor of the notes against third parties.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

We may be unable to generate sufficient cash flows from operations to meet our consolidated debt service payments.

We have substantial consolidated indebtedness. As of March 31, 2017, as adjusted for the offering of the new notes, we would have had approximately $3.7 billion of consolidated outstanding indebtedness, including payments due within the next twelve months and short-term borrowings. In addition, as of March 31, 2017, we had $235 million of undrawn revolver availability under our ABL Facility, which is subject to a borrowing base, and an effective cap on borrowings when we are unable to satisfy a fixed charge coverage ratio of 1.0 to 1.0, $81 million of outstanding borrowings and $34 million of outstanding letters of credit. In 2017, as adjusted for the offering of the new notes, our annualized cash interest expense is projected to be approximately $308 million based on consolidated indebtedness and interest rates at March 31, 2017, of which $300 million represents cash interest expense on fixed-rate obligations, including variable rate debt subject to interest rate swap agreements.

As of March 31, 2017, approximately $154 million, or 4%, of our borrowings were at variable interest rates and expose us to interest rate risk. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on the variable rate indebtedness would increase even though the amount borrowed remained the same. Assuming our consolidated variable interest rate indebtedness outstanding as of March 31, 2017 remains the same, an increase of 1% in the interest rates payable on our variable rate indebtedness would increase our annual estimated debt service requirements by approximately $2 million.

Our ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations to make scheduled debt service payments depends on a range of economic, competitive and business factors, many of which are outside of our control.

 

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Continued or increased weakness in economic conditions and our performance beyond our expectations would exacerbate these risks. Our business has not in the past and may not in the future generate sufficient cash flows from operations to meet our debt service and other obligations, and currently anticipated cost savings, working capital reductions and operating improvements may not be realized on schedule, or at all. If we are unable to meet our expenses and debt service obligations, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before maturity, sell assets or issue additional equity securities. We may be unable to refinance any of our indebtedness, reduce or delay capital expenditures, sell assets or issue equity securities on commercially reasonable terms, or at all, which could cause us to seek to restructure our debt obligations or cause us to default on our obligations and result in the acceleration of our debt obligations. Our inability to refinance our indebtedness, sell assets or take such other actions on to otherwise generate sufficient cash flows to satisfy our outstanding debt obligations would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If our liquidity deteriorates, we may be unable to meet our consolidated debt service payments.

As of March 31, 2017, we had liquidity of approximately $362 million, consisting of $107 million of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, $235 million of borrowings available under our ABL Facility (which is subject to a base borrowing and an effective cap on borrowings when we are unable to satisfy a fixed charge coverage ratio of 1.0 to 1.0) and $20 million of borrowings available under credit facilities at certain international subsidiaries. Historically, our liquidity position has been cyclical due to the timing of our interest payment obligations and seasonality of our volumes. If our liquidity position were to deteriorate in the future, as a result of insufficient cash flows from operations and/or access to borrowings, certain of our commercial counterparties could require stricter payment terms, which would put additional pressure on our liquidity position. Without sufficient liquidity, we may be unable to meet our consolidated debt service payments, which could cause us to seek to restructure our debt obligations or cause us to default on our obligations and result in the acceleration of our debt obligations.

Availability under the ABL Facility is subject to a borrowing base based on a specified percentage of eligible accounts receivable and inventory and, with respect to the foreign loan parties, a specified percentage of eligible machinery, equipment and real property, subject to certain limitations. As of March 31, 2017, the borrowing base reflecting various required reserves was approximately $350 million, and our borrowing availability after factoring in outstanding borrowings and letters of credit outstanding under the ABL Facility was $235 million. However, the borrowing base (including various reserves) will be updated on a monthly basis, so the actual borrowing base could be lower in the future. To the extent the borrowing base is lower than we expect, that could significantly impair our liquidity. In addition, if our fixed charge coverage ratio falls to less than 1.0 to 1.0, we will need to ensure that our availability under the ABL Facility is at least the greater of $35 million and 12.5% of the lesser of the borrowing base and the total ABL commitments.

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations and limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry.

Our substantial consolidated indebtedness could have other important consequences, including but not limited to the following:

 

    it may limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our operations or business;

 

    we are more highly leveraged than many of our competitors, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage;

 

    it may make us more vulnerable to downturns in our business or in the economy;

 

    a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations will be dedicated to the repayment of our indebtedness and will not be available for other purposes;

 

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    it may restrict us from making strategic acquisitions, introducing new technologies or exploiting business opportunities;

 

    it may make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our existing indebtedness;

 

    it may adversely affect terms under which suppliers provide material and services to us;

 

    it may limit our ability to borrow additional funds or dispose of assets; and

 

    it may limit our ability to fully achieve possible cost savings from the Shared Services Agreement.

There would be a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition if we were unable to service our indebtedness or obtain additional financing, as needed.

Despite our substantial indebtedness, we may still be able to incur significant additional indebtedness. This could intensify the risks described above and below.

We may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. Although the terms governing our indebtedness contain restrictions on our ability to incur additional indebtedness, these restrictions are subject to numerous qualifications and exceptions, and the indebtedness we may incur in compliance with these restrictions could be substantial. Increasing our indebtedness could intensify the risks described above and below.

The terms governing our outstanding debt, including restrictive covenants, may adversely affect our operations.

The terms governing our outstanding debt contain, and any future indebtedness we incur would likely contain, numerous restrictive covenants that impose significant operating and financial restrictions on our ability to, among other things:

 

    incur or guarantee additional debt;

 

    pay dividends and make other distributions to our shareholders;

 

    create or incur certain liens;

 

    make certain loans, acquisitions, capital expenditures or investments;

 

    engage in sales of assets and subsidiary stock;

 

    enter into sale/leaseback transactions;

 

    enter into transactions with affiliates; and

 

    transfer all or substantially all of our assets or enter into merger or consolidation transactions.

In addition, the credit agreement governing our ABL Facility requires us to maintain a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio of 1.0 to 1.0 at any time when the availability is less than the greater of (x) $35 million and (y) 12.5% of the lesser of the borrowing base and the total ABL Facility commitments at such time. The fixed charge coverage ratio under the credit agreement governing the ABL Facility is generally defined as the ratio of (a) Adjusted EBITDA minus non-financed capital expenditures and cash taxes to (b) debt service plus cash interest expense plus certain restricted payments, each measured for the four most recent quarters for which financial statements have been delivered. We may not be able to satisfy such ratio in future periods. If we anticipate we will be unable to meet such ratio, we expect not to allow our availability under the ABL Facility to fall below such levels.

A breach of our fixed charge coverage ratio covenant, if in effect, would result in an event of default under our ABL Facility. Pursuant to the terms of our ABL Facility, our direct parent company will have the right, but not the obligation, to cure such default through the purchase of additional equity in up to two of any four

 

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consecutive quarters and seven total during the term of the ABL Facility. If a breach of a fixed charge coverage ratio covenant is not cured or waived, or if any other event of default under the ABL Facility occurs, the lenders under such credit facility:

 

    would not be required to lend any additional amounts to us;

 

    could elect to declare all borrowings outstanding under the ABL Facility, together with accrued and unpaid interest and fees, due and payable and could demand cash collateral for all letters of credit issued thereunder;

 

    could apply all of our available cash that is subject to the cash sweep mechanism of the ABL Facility to repay these borrowings; and/or

 

    could prevent us from making payments on our notes;

any or all of which could result in an event of default under our notes.

The ABL Facility provides for “springing control” over the cash in our deposit accounts constituting collateral for the ABL Facility, and such cash management arrangements includes a cash sweep at any time that availability under the ABL Facility is less than the greater of (x) $35 million and (y) 12.5% of the lesser of the borrowing base and the total ABL Facility commitments at such time. Such cash sweep, if in effect, will cause all our available cash to be applied to outstanding borrowings under our ABL Facility. If we satisfy the conditions to borrowings under the ABL Facility while any such cash sweep is in effect, we may be able to make additional borrowings under the ABL Facility to satisfy our working capital and other operational needs. If we do not satisfy the conditions to borrowing, we will not be permitted to make additional borrowings under our ABL Facility, and we will not have sufficient cash to satisfy our working capital and other operational needs.

In addition, the terms governing our indebtedness limit our ability to sell assets and also restrict the use of proceeds from that sale, including restrictions on transfers from us to MPM and vice versa. We may be unable to sell assets quickly enough or for sufficient amounts to enable us to meet our obligations. Furthermore, a substantial portion of our assets is, and may continue to be, intangible assets. Therefore, it may be difficult for us to pay our consolidated debt obligations in the event of an acceleration of any of our consolidated indebtedness.

Repayment of our debt, including required principal and interest payments, depends on cash flow generated by our subsidiaries, which may be subject to limitations beyond our control.

Our subsidiaries own a significant portion of our consolidated assets and conduct a significant portion of our consolidated operations. Repayment of our indebtedness depends, to a significant extent, on the generation of cash flow and the ability of our subsidiaries to make cash available to us by dividend, debt repayment or otherwise. Our subsidiaries may not be able to, or may not be permitted to, make distributions to enable us to make payments on our indebtedness. Each subsidiary is a distinct legal entity and, under certain circumstances, legal and contractual restrictions may limit our ability to obtain cash from subsidiaries. While there are limitations on the ability of our subsidiaries to incur consensual restrictions on their ability to pay dividends or make intercompany payments, these limitations are subject to certain qualifications and exceptions. In the event that we are unable to receive distributions from our subsidiaries, we may be unable to make required principal and interest payments on our indebtedness.

A downgrade in our debt ratings could restrict our access to, and negatively impact the terms of, current or future financings or trade credit.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”) and Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) maintain credit ratings on us and certain of our debt. Each of these ratings is currently below investment grade. Any decision by these or other ratings agencies to downgrade such ratings in the future could restrict our access to, and negatively impact the terms of, current or future financings and trade credit extended by our suppliers of raw materials or other vendors.

 

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Risks Related to Our Business

If global economic conditions are weak or further deteriorate, it will negatively impact our business operations, results of operations and financial condition.

Global economic and financial market conditions, including severe market disruptions like in late 2008 and 2009 and the potential for a significant and prolonged global economic downturn, have impacted or could continue to impact our business operations in a number of ways including, but not limited to, the following:

 

    reduced demand in key customer segments, such as oil and gas, automotive, building, construction and electronics, compared to prior years;

 

    payment delays by customers and reduced demand for our products caused by customer insolvencies and/or the inability of customers to obtain adequate financing to maintain operations. This situation could cause customers to terminate existing purchase orders and reduce the volume of products they purchase from us and further impact our customers’ ability to pay our receivables, requiring us to assume additional credit risk related to these receivables or limit our ability to collect receivables from that customer;

 

    insolvency of suppliers or the failure of suppliers to meet their commitments resulting in product delays;

 

    more onerous credit and commercial terms from our suppliers such as shortening the required payment period for outstanding accounts receivable or reducing or eliminating the amount of trade credit available to us; and

 

    potential delays in accessing our ABL Facility or obtaining new credit facilities on terms we deem commercially reasonable or at all, and the potential inability of one or more of the financial institutions included in our syndicated ABL Facility to fulfill their funding obligations. Should a bank in our syndicated ABL Facility be unable to fund a future draw request, we could find it difficult to replace that bank in the facility.

Global economic conditions may remain volatile or deteriorate. Any weakening of economic conditions would likely exacerbate the negative effects described above, could significantly affect our liquidity which may cause us to defer needed capital expenditures, reduce research and development or other spending, defer costs to achieve productivity and synergy programs or sell assets or incur additional borrowings which may not be available or may only be available on terms significantly less advantageous than our current credit terms and could result in a wide-ranging and prolonged impact on general business conditions, thereby negatively impacting our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, if the global economic environment deteriorates or remains slow for an extended period of time, the fair value of our reporting units could be more adversely affected than we estimated in our analysis of reporting unit fair values at October 1, 2016. This could result in additional goodwill or other asset impairments, which could negatively impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Due to continued worldwide economic volatility and uncertainty, the short-term outlook for our business is difficult to predict. Although certain global markets have improved, a continued or increasing lack of consumer confidence could lead to stagnant demand for many of our products within both of our reportable segments. For example, through the first quarter of 2017, we faced lower demand in our epoxy specialty business in China due to a destocking of wind turbine blades in China. While we anticipate improvement over the second half of 2017, we can make no assurances that demand will increase and may face continuing headwinds in our epoxy specialty or other businesses due to global economic conditions.

Fluctuations in direct or indirect raw material costs could have an adverse impact on our business.

Raw materials costs made up approximately 70% of our cost of sales in 2016. The prices of our direct and indirect raw materials have been, and we expect them to continue to be, volatile. If the cost of direct or indirect

 

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raw materials increases significantly and we are unable to offset the increased costs with higher selling prices, our profitability will decline. Increases in prices for our products could also hurt our ability to remain both competitive and profitable in the markets in which we compete.

Although some of our materials contracts include competitive price clauses that allow us to buy outside the contract if market pricing falls below contract pricing, and certain contracts have minimum-maximum monthly volume commitments that allow us to take advantage of spot pricing, we may be unable to purchase raw materials at market prices. In addition, some of our customer contracts have fixed prices for a certain term, and as a result, we may not be able to pass on raw material price increases to our customers immediately, if at all. Due to differences in timing of the pricing trigger points between our sales and purchase contracts, there is often a “lead-lag” impact. In many cases this “lead-lag” impact can negatively impact our margins in the short term in periods of rising raw material prices and positively impact them in the short term in periods of falling raw material prices. Future raw material prices may be impacted by new laws or regulations, suppliers’ allocations to other purchasers, changes in our supplier manufacturing processes as some of our products are byproducts of these processes, interruptions in production by suppliers, natural disasters, volatility in the price of crude oil and related petrochemical products and changes in exchange rates.

An inadequate supply of direct or indirect raw materials and intermediate products could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our manufacturing operations require adequate supplies of raw materials and intermediate products on a timely basis. The loss of a key source or a delay in shipments could have a material adverse effect on our business. Raw material availability may be subject to curtailment or change due to, among other things:

 

    new or existing laws or regulations;

 

    suppliers’ allocations to other purchasers;

 

    interruptions in production by suppliers; and

 

    natural disasters.

Many of our raw materials and intermediate products are available in the quantities we require from a limited number of suppliers. Should any of our key suppliers fail to deliver these raw materials or intermediate products to us or no longer supply us, we may be unable to purchase these materials in necessary quantities, which could adversely affect our volumes, or may not be able to purchase them at prices that would allow us to remain competitive. During the past several years, certain of our suppliers have experienced force majeure events rendering them unable to deliver all, or a portion of, the contracted-for raw materials. On these occasions, we have been forced to limit production or were forced to purchase replacement raw materials in the open market at significantly higher costs or place our customers on an allocation of our products. In the past, some of our customers have chosen to discontinue or decrease the use of our products as a result of these measures. We have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, force majeure events by certain of our suppliers which have had significant negative impacts on our business. For example, in 2014, Shell notified us of a supply interruption event at its Moerdijk, Netherlands facility, which provides key raw materials to us, and this event resulted in us allocating certain products to our customers through mid-2015, at which point the disruption was resolved. In addition, we cannot predict whether new regulations or restrictions may be imposed in the future which may result in reduced supply or further increases in prices. We cannot assure investors that we will be able to renew our current materials contracts or enter into replacement contracts on commercially acceptable terms, or at all. Fluctuations in the price of these or other raw materials or intermediate products, the loss of a key source of supply or any delay in the supply could result in a material adverse effect on our business.

 

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Our production facilities are subject to significant operating hazards which could cause environmental contamination, personal injury and loss of life, and severe damage to, or destruction of, property and equipment.

Our production facilities are subject to hazards associated with the manufacturing, handling, storage and transportation of chemical materials and products, including human exposure to hazardous substances, pipeline and equipment leaks and ruptures, explosions, fires, inclement weather and natural disasters, mechanical failures, unscheduled downtime, transportation interruptions, remedial complications, chemical spills, discharges or releases of toxic or hazardous substances or gases, storage tank leaks and other environmental risks. Additionally, a number of our operations are adjacent to operations of independent entities that engage in hazardous and potentially dangerous activities. Our operations or adjacent operations could result in personal injury or loss of life, severe damage to or destruction of property or equipment, environmental damage, or a loss of the use of all or a portion of one of our key manufacturing facilities. Such events at our facilities, or adjacent third-party facilities, could have a material adverse effect on us.

We may incur losses beyond the limits or coverage of our insurance policies for liabilities that are associated with these hazards. In addition, various kinds of insurance for companies in the chemical industry have not been available on commercially acceptable terms, or, in some cases, have been unavailable altogether. In the future, we may not be able to obtain coverage at current levels, and our premiums may increase significantly on coverage that we maintain.

Environmental obligations and liabilities could have a substantial negative impact on our financial condition, cash flows and profitability.

Our operations involve the use, handling, processing, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous materials and are subject to extensive and complex U.S. federal, state, local and non-U.S. supranational, national, provincial, and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. These environmental laws and regulations include those that govern the discharge of pollutants into the air and water, the generation, use, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes, the cleanup of contaminated sites, occupational health and safety and those requiring permits, licenses, or other government approvals for specified operations or activities. Our products are also subject to a variety of international, national, regional, state, and provincial requirements and restrictions applicable to the manufacture, import, export or subsequent use of such products. In addition, we are required to maintain, and may be required to obtain in the future, environmental, health and safety permits, licenses, or government approvals to continue current operations at most of our manufacturing and research facilities throughout the world.

Compliance with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, and maintenance of permits, can be costly and complex, and we have incurred and will continue to incur costs, including capital expenditures and costs associated with the issuance and maintenance of letters of credit, to comply with these requirements. In 2016, we incurred capital expenditures of $23 million to comply with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and to make other environmental improvements. If we are unable to comply with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, or maintain our permits, we could incur substantial costs, including fines and civil or criminal sanctions, third party property damage or personal injury claims or costs associated with upgrades to our facilities or changes in our manufacturing processes in order to achieve and maintain compliance, and may also be required to halt permitted activities or operations until any necessary permits can be obtained or complied with. In addition, future developments or increasingly stringent regulations could require us to make additional unforeseen environmental expenditures, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Environmental, health and safety requirements change frequently and have tended to become more stringent over time. We cannot predict what environmental, health and safety laws and regulations or permit requirements will be enacted or amended in the future, how existing or future laws or regulations will be interpreted or

 

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enforced or the impact of such laws, regulations or permits on future production expenditures, supply chain or sales. Our costs of compliance with current and future environmental, health and safety requirements could be material. Such future requirements include legislation designed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other substances associated with climate change (“greenhouse gases”). The European Union has enacted greenhouse gas emissions legislation and continues to expand the scope of such legislation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “USEPA”) has promulgated regulations applicable to projects involving greenhouse gas emissions above a certain threshold, and the United States and certain states within the United States have enacted, or are considering, limitations on greenhouse gas emissions. These requirements to limit greenhouse gas emissions could significantly increase our energy costs, and may also require us to incur material capital costs to modify our manufacturing facilities.

In addition, we are subject to liability associated with hazardous substances in soil, groundwater and elsewhere at a number of sites. These include sites that we formerly owned or operated and sites where hazardous wastes and other substances from our current and former facilities and operations have been sent, treated, stored, or recycled or disposed of, as well as sites that we currently own or operate. Depending upon the circumstances, our liability may be strict, joint and several, meaning that we may be held responsible for more than our proportionate share, or even all, of the liability involved regardless of our fault or whether we are aware of the conditions giving rise to the liability. Environmental conditions at these sites can lead to environmental cleanup liability and claims against us for personal injury or wrongful death, property damages and natural resource damages, as well as to claims and obligations for the investigation and cleanup of environmental conditions. The extent of any of these liabilities is difficult to predict, but in the aggregate such liabilities could be material.

We have been notified that we are or may be responsible for environmental remediation at a number of sites in North America, Europe and South America. We are also performing a number of voluntary cleanups. One of the most significant sites at which we are performing or participating in environmental remediation is a site formerly owned by us in Geismar, Louisiana. As the result of former, current or future operations, there may be additional environmental remediation or restoration liabilities or claims of personal injury by employees or members of the public due to exposure or alleged exposure to hazardous materials in connection with our operations, properties or products. Sites sold by us in past years may have significant site closure or remediation costs and our share, if any, may be unknown to us at this time. These environmental liabilities or obligations, or any that may arise or become known to us in the future, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, cash flows and profitability.

Future chemical regulatory actions may decrease our profitability.

Several governmental entities have enacted, are considering or may consider in the future, regulations that may impact our ability to sell certain chemical products in certain geographic areas. In December 2006, the European Union enacted a regulation known as REACH, which stands for Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals. This regulation requires manufacturers, importers and consumers of certain chemicals manufactured in, or imported into, the European Union to register such chemicals and evaluate their potential impacts on human health and the environment. The implementing agency is currently in the process of determining if any chemicals should be further tested, regulated, restricted or banned from use in the European Union. In addition, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (“LCSA”) was signed into law on June 22, 2016, and updates and revises the Toxic Substances Control Act. LCSA requires the implementing agency to conduct risk evaluations on high priority chemicals, which could include chemical products we manufacture. Other countries have implemented, or are considering implementation of, similar chemical regulatory programs. When fully implemented, REACH and other similar regulatory programs may result in significant adverse market impacts on the affected chemical products. If we fail to comply with REACH, LCSA or other similar laws and regulations, we may be subject to penalties or other enforcement actions, including fines, injunctions, recalls or seizures, which would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, cash flows and profitability.

 

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We participate with other companies in trade associations and regularly contribute to the research and study of the safety and environmental impact of our products and raw materials, including silica, formaldehyde and Bis-phenol A (“BPA”). These programs are part of a process to review the environmental impacts, safety and efficacy of our products. In addition, government and academic institutions periodically conduct research on potential environmental and health concerns posed by various chemical substances, including substances we manufacture and sell. These research results are periodically reviewed by state, national and international regulatory agencies and potential customers. Such research could result in future regulations restricting the manufacture or use of our products, liability for adverse environmental or health effects linked to our products, and/or de-selection of our products for specific applications. These restrictions, liability, and product de-selection could have a material adverse effect on our business, our financial condition and/or liquidity.

Because of certain government public health agencies’ concerns regarding the potential for adverse human health effects, formaldehyde is a regulated chemical and public health agencies continue to evaluate its safety. In 2004, a division of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, based on an alleged stronger relationship with nasopharyngeal cancer (“NPC”), reclassified formaldehyde as “carcinogenic to humans,” a higher classification than set forth in previous IARC evaluations. In 2009, the IARC determined that there is sufficient evidence in humans of a causal association between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia. In 2011, the National Toxicology Program, or NTP, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, issued its 12th Report on Carcinogens, or RoC, which lists formaldehyde as “known to be a human carcinogen.” This NTP listing was based, in part, upon certain studies reporting an increased risk of certain types of cancers, including myeloid leukemia, in individuals with higher measures of formaldehyde exposure (exposure level or duration). The USEPA finalized a rule to reduce exposure to formaldehyde vapors from certain wood products produced domestically or imported into the United States on July 27, 2016. The USEPA, under its Integrated Risk Information System, or IRIS, released a draft of its toxicological review of formaldehyde in 2010. This draft review states that formaldehyde meets the criteria to be described as “carcinogenic to humans” by the inhalation route of exposure based upon evidence of causal links to certain cancers, including leukemia. The National Academy of Sciences, or NAS, was requested by the USEPA to serve as the external peer review body for the draft review. The NAS reviewed the draft IRIS toxicological review and issued a report in April 2011 that criticized the draft IRIS toxicological review and stated that the methodologies and the underlying science used in the draft IRIS review did not clearly support a conclusion of a causal link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia. It is possible that USEPA may revise its draft IRIS toxicological review to reflect the NAS findings, including the conclusions regarding a causal link between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia. In December 2011, the conference report for the FY 2012 Omnibus Appropriations bill included a provision directing HHS to refer the NTP 12th RoC file for formaldehyde to the NAS for further review. On August 8, 2014 the NAS accepted the listing of formaldehyde as a “known human carcinogen” in the 12th RoC, with no changes recommended. According to NTP, a listing in the RoC indicates a potential hazard and does not assess cancer risks to individuals associated with exposures in their daily lives. However, the 12th RoC listing could have material adverse effects on our business. In October 2011, the European Chemical Agency (“ECHA”) publicly released for comment the “Proposal for Harmonized Classification and Labelling Based on Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (C.I.P. Regulation), Annex VI, Part 2, Substance Name: FORMALDEHYDE Version Number 2, Date: 28 September 2011.” The French Member State Competent Authorities proposed that formaldehyde be reclassified as a Category 1A Carcinogen and Category 2 Mutagen based upon their review of the available evidence. The proposal cited a relationship to NPC. NPC is a rare cancer of the upper respiratory tract. Following a review of the proposal, the Risk Assessment Committee of ECHA, which is made up of representatives from all EU member states, determined that there was sufficient evidence to justify the classification of formaldehyde as a Category 2 Mutagen, but that the evidence reviewed only supported the classification of formaldehyde as a Category 1B Carcinogen (described by the applicable EU regulation as “presumed to have carcinogenic potential for humans, classification is largely based on animal evidence”) rather than as a Category 1A Carcinogen (described as “known to have carcinogenic potential for humans, classification is largely based on human evidence”) as proposed by France. This new classification became effective on January 1, 2016. It is possible that new regulatory requirements could be promulgated to limit human exposure to formaldehyde, that we could incur substantial additional costs to meet any such

 

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regulatory requirements, and that there could be a reduction in demand for our formaldehyde-based products. These additional costs and reduced demand could have a material adverse effect on our operations and profitability.

BPA, which is manufactured and used as an intermediate at our Deer Park, Texas and Pernis, Netherlands manufacturing facilities, and is also sold directly to third parties, is currently under evaluation as an “endocrine disrupter.” Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that have been alleged to interact with the endocrine systems of human beings and wildlife and disrupt their normal biological processes. BPA continues to be subject to scientific, regulatory and legislative review and negative media attention. Several significant reviews on the safety of BPA were performed by prestigious regulatory and scientific bodies around the globe. These include the World Health Organization, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), European Food Safety Authority (“EFSA”), Japanese Research Institute of Science for Safety and Sustainability, The German Society of Toxicology and Health Canada. In January 2013, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) issued a notice of intent to list BPA under Proposition 65 as a developmental toxicant. If listed, manufacturers, dealers, distributors and retailers of products containing BPA would be required to warn individuals prior to exposing them to BPA unless such exposures were shown to be less than a risk-based level (the maximum allowable dose level (“MADL”)). Concurrent with its proposed listing, the OEHHA proposed establishing an MADL for BPA. The American Chemistry Council (“ACC”) has filed a lawsuit to challenge this proposed listing. On April 19, 2013, a California state court issued a preliminary injunction ordering OEHHA to remove BPA from the Proposition 65 list during the pendency of the lawsuit. OEHHA subsequently removed the listing and withdrew its MADL for BPA. On December 18, 2014, the California state court issued a ruling denying ACC’s petition to prevent to listing of BPA under Proposition 65. ACC appealed this decision and the California Court of Appeals issued a stay of OEHHA’s listing of BPA until further order of the Court. On May 7, 2015, OEHHA’s Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity Identification Committee voted to list BPA under Proposition 65 as a reproductive toxicant. OEHHA subsequently established a dermal exposure MADL of 3 ug/day. As of May 11, 2016, products containing BPA sold into California must comply with Proposition 65’s requirements. As a result, and as part of the Company’s November 2015 settlement of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) enforcement action under OSHA’s hazard communication standard, the Company’s Safety Data Sheets (SDS) have been changed to reflect the required OSHA Global Harmonized System (GHS) classification of BPA as a Category 2 reproductive toxicant and the California Proposition 65 listing. Despite these hazard designations and listings, the FDA, as noted above, is also actively engaged in the scientific and regulatory review of BPA and, in a letter submitted to OEHHA dated April 6, 2015, has reaffirmed that BPA is safe as currently permitted in FDA-regulated food contact uses and concluded that FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research study did not support the listing of BPA as a reproductive toxicant. In December 2012, France enacted a law that bans BPA in Food Containers by 2015. Per this new law, the production, import, export, and marketing of food packaging containing BPA in direct contact with food contents was banned as of January 1, 2013 for products intended for infants less than 3 years of age, and as of January 1, 2015 for all other consumer products. However, the French Constitutional Court in September 2015 ruled that banning the manufacture and export of BPA-based food contact materials was unconstitutional. In December 2016, the French Conseil d’Etat (Supreme Administrative Court) found that the French ban did not violate EU law. In January 2015, EFSA published its final opinion on its comprehensive re-evaluation of BPA exposure and toxicity, which concluded that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at currently permitted exposure levels. EFSA again confirmed this conclusion in October 2016, paving the way for enactment of an EU specific migration limit of 50 ppb in 2017. The EU Committee for Risk Assessment has adopted an opinion to change the existing harmonized classification and labeling of BPA from a category 2 reproductive Toxicant to a category 1B reproductive Toxicant. This classification change will become effective March 1, 2018. Regulatory and legislative initiatives such as these would likely result in a reduction in demand for BPA and our products containing BPA and could also result in additional liabilities as well as an increase in operating costs to meet more stringent regulations. Such increases in operating costs and/or reduction in demand could have a material adverse effect on our operations and profitability.

 

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We manufacture resin-encapsulated sand. Because sand consists primarily of crystalline silica, potential exposure to silica particulate exists. Overexposure to crystalline silica is a recognized health hazard. OSHA proposed a new comprehensive occupational health standard for crystalline silica in August 2013, which was submitted as a draft rule to the US Office of Management and Budget in December 2015. The final rule, issued March 25, 2016, among other things, lowers the permissible occupational exposure limits to airborne crystalline silica particulate to which workers would be allowed to be exposed. We may incur additional costs to comply with the new OSHA regulations.

In addition, we sell resin-encapsulated sand (proppants) to oil and natural gas drilling operators for use in a process known as hydraulic fracturing. Drilling and hydraulic fracturing of wells is under public and governmental scrutiny due to potential environmental and physical impacts, including possible contamination of groundwater and drinking water and possible links to earthquakes. Currently, studies and reviews of hydraulic fracturing environmental impacts are underway by the USEPA, as directed by the U.S. Congress in 2010. In December 2016, USEPA released its final report on the impacts from hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources in the U.S., finding potential impact to water resources under some circumstances. Legislation is being considered or has been adopted by various U.S. states and localities to require public disclosure of the contents of the fracking fluids and/or to further regulate oil and natural gas drilling. New laws and regulations could affect the confidential business information of fracking fluids, including those associated with our proppant technologies and the number of wells drilled by operators, decrease demand for our resin-coated sands and cause a decline in our operations and financial performance. Such a decline in demand could also increase competition and decrease pricing of our products, which could also have a negative impact on our profitability and financial performance.

Scientists periodically conduct studies on the potential human health and environmental impacts of chemicals, including products we manufacture and sell. Also, nongovernmental advocacy organizations and individuals periodically issue public statements alleging human health and environmental impacts of chemicals, including products we manufacture and sell. Based upon such studies or public statements, our customers may elect to discontinue the purchase and use of our products, even in the absence of any government regulation. Such actions could significantly decrease the demand for our products and, accordingly, have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and profitability. In July 2012, the FDA concluded that polycarbonate, a plastic resin made from BPA, was no longer being used in the manufacture of certain infant and toddler beverage containers and, accordingly, approved a petition from the ACC to remove polycarbonate from the list of material approved for the use in the manufacture of such beverage containers. Abandonment of such uses of polycarbonate was due at least in part to adverse publicity alleging possible health effects on infants and toddlers of small amounts of BPA released from the polycarbonate. The FDA’s authority to act on this petition was based solely on marketplace conditions. As noted by the FDA, their action is not based on any finding or conclusion that packaging containing BPA is unsafe. Although the FDA’s determination will not have a direct impact on our business, it could eventually result in a determination by some of our customers to discontinue or decrease the use of our products made from BPA.

We are subject to certain risks related to litigation filed by or against us, and adverse results may harm our business.

We cannot predict with certainty the cost of defense, of prosecution or of the ultimate outcome of litigation and other proceedings filed by or against us, including penalties or other civil or criminal sanctions, or remedies or damage awards, and adverse results in any litigation and other proceedings may materially harm our business. Litigation and other proceedings may include, but are not limited to, actions relating to intellectual property, international trade, commercial arrangements, product liability, environmental, health and safety, joint venture agreements, labor and employment or other harms resulting from the actions of individuals or entities outside of our control. In the case of intellectual property litigation and proceedings, adverse outcomes could include the cancellation, invalidation or other loss of material intellectual property rights used in our business and injunctions prohibiting our use of business processes or technology that are subject to third-party patents or other third-party

 

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intellectual property rights. Litigation based on environmental matters or exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace or based upon the use of our products could result in significant liability for us, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and/or profitability.

Because we manufacture and use materials that are known to be hazardous, we are subject to, or affected by, certain product and manufacturing regulations, for which compliance can be costly and time consuming. In addition, we may be subject to personal injury or product liability claims as a result of human exposure to such hazardous materials.

We produce hazardous chemicals that require care in handling and use that are subject to regulation by many U.S. and non-U.S. national, supra-national, state and local governmental authorities. In some circumstances, these authorities must review and, in some cases approve, our products and/or manufacturing processes and facilities before we may manufacture and sell some of these chemicals. To be able to manufacture and sell certain new chemical products, we may be required, among other things, to demonstrate to the relevant authority that the product does not pose an unreasonable risk during its intended uses and/or that we are capable of manufacturing the product in compliance with current regulations. The process of seeking any necessary approvals can be costly, time consuming and subject to unanticipated and significant delays. Approvals may not be granted to us on a timely basis, or at all. Any delay in obtaining, or any failure to obtain or maintain, these approvals would adversely affect our ability to introduce new products and to generate revenue from those products. New laws and regulations may be introduced in the future that could result in additional compliance costs, bans on product sales or use, seizures, confiscation, recall or monetary fines, any of which could prevent or inhibit the development, distribution or sale of our products and could increase our customers’ efforts to find less hazardous substitutes for our products. We are subject to ongoing reviews of our products and manufacturing processes.

As discussed above, we manufacture and sell products containing formaldehyde, and certain governmental bodies have stated that there is a causal link between formaldehyde exposure and certain types of cancer, including myeloid leukemia and NPC. These conclusions could also become the basis of product liability litigation.

Other products we have made or used have been and could be the focus of legal claims based upon allegations of harm to human health. While we cannot predict the outcome of pending suits and claims, we believe that we maintain adequate reserves, in accordance with our policy, to address currently pending litigation and are adequately insured to cover currently pending and foreseeable future claims. However, an unfavorable outcome in these litigation matters could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and/or profitability and cause our reputation to decline.

We are subject to claims from our customers and their employees, environmental action groups and neighbors living near our production facilities.

We produce and use hazardous chemicals that require appropriate procedures and care to be used in handling them or in using them to manufacture other products. As a result of the hazardous nature of some of the products we produce and use, we may face claims relating to incidents that involve our customers’ improper handling, storage and use of our products. We have historically faced lawsuits, including class action lawsuits that claim liability for death, injury or property damage caused by products that we manufacture or that contain our components. Additionally, we may face lawsuits alleging personal injury or property damage by neighbors living near our production facilities. These lawsuits, and any future lawsuits, could result in substantial damage awards against us, which in turn could encourage additional lawsuits and could cause us to incur significant legal fees to defend such lawsuits, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and/or profitability. In addition, the activities of environmental action groups could result in litigation or damage to our reputation.

 

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As a global business, we are subject to numerous risks associated with our international operations that could have a material adverse effect on our business.

We have significant manufacturing and other operations outside the United States. Some of these operations are in jurisdictions with unstable political or economic conditions. There are numerous inherent risks in international operations, including, but not limited to:

 

    exchange controls and currency restrictions;

 

    currency fluctuations and devaluations;

 

    tariffs and trade barriers;

 

    export duties and quotas;

 

    changes in local economic conditions;

 

    changes in laws and regulations;

 

    exposure to possible expropriation or other government actions;

 

    acts by national or regional banks, including the European Central Bank, to increase or restrict the availability of credit;

 

    hostility from local populations;

 

    diminished ability to legally enforce our contractual rights in non-U.S. countries;

 

    restrictions on our ability to repatriate dividends from our subsidiaries; and

 

    unsettled political conditions and possible terrorist attacks against U.S. interests.

Our international operations expose us to different local political and business risks and challenges. For example, we may face potential difficulties in staffing and managing local operations, and we may have to design local solutions to manage credit risks of local customers and distributors. In addition, some of our operations are located in regions that may be politically unstable, having particular exposure to riots, civil commotion or civil unrests, acts of war (declared or undeclared) or armed hostilities or other national or international calamity. In some of these regions, our status as a U.S. company also exposes us to increased risk of sabotage, terrorist attacks, interference by civil or military authorities or to greater impact from the national and global military, diplomatic and financial response to any future attacks or other threats.

In addition, intellectual property rights may be more difficult to enforce in non-U.S. or non-Western European countries.

If global economic and market conditions, or economic conditions in Europe, China, Brazil, the United States or other key markets remain uncertain or deteriorate further, the value of associated foreign currencies and the global credit markets may weaken. Additionally, general financial instability in countries where we do not transact a significant amount of business could have a contagion effect and contribute to the general instability and uncertainty within a particular region or globally. If this were to occur, it could adversely affect our customers and suppliers and in turn have a materially adverse effect on our international business and results of operations.

Our overall success as a global business depends, in part, upon our ability to succeed under different economic, social and political conditions. We may fail to develop and implement policies and strategies that are effective in each location where we do business, and failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business is subject to foreign currency risk.

In 2016, approximately 60% of our net sales originated outside the United States. In our consolidated financial statements, we translate our local currency financial results into U.S. dollars based on average exchange

 

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rates prevailing during a reporting period or the exchange rate at the end of that period. During times of a strengthening U.S. dollar, at a constant level of business, our reported international revenues and earnings would be reduced because the local currency would translate into fewer U.S. dollars.

In addition to currency translation risks, we incur a currency transaction risk whenever we enter into a purchase or a sales transaction or indebtedness transaction using a different currency from the currency in which we record revenues. Given the recent volatility of exchange rates, we may not manage our currency transaction and/or translation risks effectively, and volatility in currency exchange rates may materially adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations, including our tax obligations. Since the vast majority of our indebtedness is denominated in U.S. dollars, a strengthening of the U.S. dollar could make it more difficult for us to repay our indebtedness.

We have entered and expect to continue to enter into various hedging and other programs in an effort to protect against adverse changes in the non-U.S. exchange markets and attempt to minimize potential material adverse effects. These hedging and other programs may be unsuccessful in protecting against these risks. Our results of operations could be materially adversely affected if the U.S. dollar strengthens against non-U.S. currencies and our protective strategies are not successful. Likewise, a strengthening U.S. dollar provides opportunities to source raw materials more cheaply from foreign countries.

Fluctuations in energy costs could have an adverse impact on our profitability and negatively affect our financial condition.

Oil and natural gas prices have fluctuated greatly over the past several years and we anticipate that they will continue to do so. Natural gas and electricity are essential to our manufacturing processes, which are energy-intensive. Our energy costs represented approximately 4% of our total cost of sales for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Our operating expenses will increase if our energy prices increase. Increased energy prices may also result in greater raw materials costs. If we cannot pass these costs through to our customers, our profitability may decline. Increased energy costs may also negatively affect our customers and the demand for our products. In addition, as oil and natural gas prices fall, while having a positive effect on our overall costs, such falling prices can have a negative impact on our oil field business, as the number of oil and natural gas wells drilled declines in response to market conditions.

If energy prices decrease, we expect benefits in the short-run with decreased operating expenses and increased operating income, but may face increased pricing pressure from competitors that are similarly impacted by energy prices. As a result, profitability may decrease over an extended period of time of lower energy prices. Moreover, any future increases in energy prices after a period of lower energy prices may have an adverse impact on our profitability for the reasons described above.

We face increased competition from other companies and from substitute products, which could force us to lower our prices, which would adversely affect our profitability and financial condition.

Several of the markets that we operate in are highly competitive, and this competition could harm our results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. Our competitors include major international producers as well as smaller regional competitors. We believe that the most significant competitive factor that impacts demand for certain of our products is selling price. We may be forced to lower our selling price based on our competitors’ pricing decisions, which would reduce our profitability. Certain markets that we serve have become commoditized in recent years and have given rise to several industry participants, resulting in fierce price competition in these markets. This has been further magnified by the impact of the recent global economic downturn, as companies have focused more on price to retain business and market share. In addition, we face competition from a number of products that are potential substitutes for our products. Growth in substitute products could adversely affect our market share, net sales and profit margins.

 

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Additional trends include current and anticipated consolidation among our competitors and customers which may cause us to lose market share as well as put downward pressure on pricing. There is also a trend in our industries toward relocating manufacturing facilities to lower cost regions, such as Asia, which may permit some of our competitors to lower their costs and improve their competitive position. Furthermore, there has been an increase in new competitors based in these regions.

Some of our competitors are larger, have greater financial resources, have a lower cost structure, and/or have less debt than we do. As a result, those competitors may be better able to withstand a change in conditions within our industry and in the economy as a whole. If we do not compete successfully, our operating margins, financial condition, cash flows and profitability could be adversely affected. Furthermore, if we do not have adequate capital to invest in technology, including expenditures for research and development, our technology could be rendered uneconomical or obsolete, negatively affecting our ability to remain competitive.

We have achieved significant cost savings as a result of the Shared Services Agreement with MPM. If the Shared Services Agreement is terminated or further amended, if we have material disputes with MPM regarding its implementation or if we are unable to implement new initiatives under the amended agreement, it could have a material adverse effect on our business operations, results of operations, and financial condition.

In October 2010, we entered into the Shared Services Agreement with MPM (which, from October 1, 2010 through October 24, 2014, was a subsidiary of Hexion Holdings) (the “Shared Services Agreement”) . The Shared Services Agreement was amended in October 2014. Under this agreement, we provide to MPM, and MPM provides to us, certain services, including, but not limited to, executive and senior management, administrative support, human resources, information technology support, accounting, finance, legal and procurement services. We have realized significant cost savings under the Shared Services Agreement, including savings related to shared services and logistics optimization, best-of-source contractual terms, procurement savings, regional site rationalization, administrative and overhead savings. The Shared Services Agreement is subject to termination by MPM (or us), without cause, on not less than thirty days prior written notice, but provides for a 12-14 month transition period, and expires in October 2017 (subject to one-year renewals every year thereafter, absent contrary notice from either party).

Each year, the parties review and adjust the level and extent of services provided to meet the current needs of both companies. If the Shared Services Agreement is terminated, or if the parties to the amended agreement have material disagreements with its implementation, it could have a material adverse effect on our business operations, results of operations and financial condition, as we would need to replace the services no longer being provided by MPM, and would lose a portion of the benefits being generated under the agreement at the time.

We expect additional cost savings from our other strategic initiatives, and if we are unable to achieve these cost savings, or sustain our current cost structure, it could have a material adverse effect on our business operations, results of operations and financial condition.

We have not yet realized all of the cost savings and synergies we expect to achieve from our other strategic initiatives. A variety of risks could cause us not to realize the expected cost savings and synergies, including but not limited to, higher than expected severance costs related to staff reductions; higher than expected retention costs for employees that will be retained; higher than expected stand-alone overhead expenses; delays in the anticipated timing of activities related to our cost-saving plan; and other unexpected costs associated with operating our business.

If we are unable to achieve these cost savings or synergies, it could adversely affect our profitability and financial condition. In addition, while we have been successful in reducing costs and generating savings, factors may arise that may not allow us to sustain our current cost structure. As market and economic conditions change, we may also make changes to our operating cost structure.

 

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Our success depends in part on our ability to protect our intellectual property rights, and our inability to enforce these rights could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position.

We rely on the patent, trademark, copyright and trade-secret laws of the United States and the countries where we do business to protect our intellectual property rights. We may be unable to prevent third parties from using our intellectual property without our authorization. The unauthorized use of our intellectual property could reduce any competitive advantage we have developed, reduce our market share or otherwise harm our business. In the event of unauthorized use of our intellectual property, litigation to protect or enforce our rights could be costly, and we may not prevail.

Many of our technologies are not covered by any patent or patent application, and our issued and pending U.S. and non-U.S. patents may not provide us with any competitive advantage and could be challenged by third parties. Our inability to secure issuance of our pending patent applications may limit our ability to protect the intellectual property rights these pending patent applications were intended to cover. Our competitors may attempt to design around our patents to avoid liability for infringement and, if successful, our competitors could adversely affect our market share. Furthermore, the expiration of our patents may lead to increased competition.

Our pending trademark applications may not be approved by the responsible governmental authorities and, even if these trademark applications are granted, third parties may seek to oppose or otherwise challenge these trademark applications. A failure to obtain trademark registrations in the United States and in other countries could limit our ability to protect our products and their associated trademarks and impede our marketing efforts in those jurisdictions.

In addition, effective patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection may be unavailable or limited in some foreign countries. In some countries we do not apply for patent, trademark or copyright protection. We also rely on unpatented proprietary manufacturing expertise, continuing technological innovation and other trade secrets to develop and maintain our competitive position. While we generally enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees and third parties to protect our intellectual property, these confidentiality agreements are limited in duration and could be breached, and may not provide meaningful protection of our trade secrets or proprietary manufacturing expertise. Adequate remedies may not be available if there is an unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets and manufacturing expertise. In addition, others may obtain knowledge about our trade secrets through independent development or by legal means. The failure to protect our processes, apparatuses, technology, trade secrets and proprietary manufacturing expertise, methods and compounds could have a material adverse effect on our business by jeopardizing critical intellectual property.

Where a product formulation or process is kept as a trade secret, third parties may independently develop or invent and patent products or processes identical to our trade-secret products or processes. This could have an adverse impact on our ability to make and sell products or use such processes and could potentially result in costly litigation in which we might not prevail.

We could face intellectual property infringement claims that could result in significant legal costs and damages and impede our ability to produce key products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our production processes and products are specialized; however, we could face intellectual property infringement claims from our competitors or others alleging that our processes or products infringe on their proprietary technology. If we were subject to an infringement suit, we may be required to change our processes or products, or stop using certain technologies or producing the infringing product entirely. Even if we ultimately prevail in an infringement suit, the existence of the suit could cause our customers to seek other products that are not subject to infringement suits. Any infringement suit could result in significant legal costs and damages and impede our ability to produce key products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We depend on certain of our key executives and our ability to attract and retain qualified employees.

Our ability to operate our business and implement our strategies depends, in part, on the skills, experience and efforts of key members of our leadership team. We do not maintain any key-man insurance on any of these individuals. In addition, our success will depend on, among other factors, our ability to attract and retain other managerial, scientific and technical qualified personnel, particularly research scientists, technical sales professionals, and engineers who have specialized skills required by our business and focused on the industries in which we compete. Competition for qualified employees in the chemicals industry is intense and the loss of the services of any of our key employees or the failure to attract or retain other qualified personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business or business prospects. Further, if any of these executives or employees joins a competitor, we could lose customers and suppliers and incur additional expenses to recruit and train personnel, who require time to become productive and to learn our business.

Our majority shareholder’s interest may conflict with or differ from our interests.

Apollo controls our ultimate parent company, Hexion Holdings, which indirectly owns 100% of our common equity. In addition, Apollo has significant representation on Hexion Holdings’ board of managers. As a result, Apollo can significantly influence our ability to enter into significant corporate transactions such as mergers, tender offers and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets. The interests of Apollo and its affiliates could conflict with or differ from our interests. For example, the concentration of ownership held by Apollo could delay, defer or prevent a change of control of our company or impede a merger, takeover or other business combination which may otherwise be favorable for us.

Additionally, Apollo is in the business of making investments in companies and may, from time to time, acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete, directly or indirectly with us. Apollo may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. Additionally, even if Apollo invests in competing businesses through Hexion Holdings, such investments may be made through a newly-formed subsidiary of Hexion Holdings. Any such investment may increase the potential for the conflicts of interest discussed in this risk factor.

So long as Apollo continues to indirectly own a significant amount of the equity of Hexion Holdings, even if such amount is less than 50%, it will continue to be able to substantially influence or effectively control our ability to enter into any corporate transactions.

Because our equity securities are not registered under the securities laws of the United States or in any other jurisdiction and are not listed on any U.S. securities exchange, we are not subject to certain of the corporate governance requirements of U.S. securities authorities or to any corporate governance requirements of any U.S. securities exchanges.

If we fail to extend or renegotiate our collective bargaining agreements with our works councils and labor unions as they expire from time to time, if disputes with our works councils or unions arise, or if our unionized or represented employees were to engage in a strike or other work stoppage, our business and operating results could be materially adversely affected.

As of December 31, 2016, approximately 37% of our employees were unionized or represented by works councils that were covered by collective bargaining agreements. In addition, some of our employees reside in countries in which employment laws provide greater bargaining or other employee rights than the laws of the United States. These rights may require us to expend more time and money altering or amending employees’ terms of employment or making staff reductions. For example, most of our employees in Europe are represented by works councils, which generally must approve changes in conditions of employment, including restructuring initiatives and changes in salaries and benefits. A significant dispute could divert our management’s attention and otherwise hinder our ability to conduct our business or to achieve planned cost savings.

 

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We may be unable to timely extend or renegotiate our collective bargaining agreements as they expire. We have collective bargaining agreements which will expire during the next two years. We also may be subject to strikes or work stoppages by, or disputes with, our labor unions. If we fail to extend or renegotiate our collective bargaining agreements, if disputes with our works councils or unions arise or if our unionized or represented workers engage in a strike or other work stoppage, we could incur higher labor costs or experience a significant disruption of operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.

Our pension plans are unfunded or under-funded and our required cash contributions could be higher than we expect, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and liquidity.

We sponsor various pension and similar benefit plans worldwide.

Our U.S. and non-U.S. defined benefit pension plans were under-funded in the aggregate by $35 million and $199 million, respectively, as of December 31, 2016. We are legally required to make contributions to our pension plans in the future, and those contributions could be material.

During 2016, we contributed approximately $2 million and $20 million to our U.S. and non-U.S. defined benefit pension plans, respectively, which we believe is sufficient to meet the minimum funding requirements as set forth in employee benefit and tax laws.

Our future funding obligations for our employee benefit plans depend upon the levels of benefits provided for by the plans, the future performance of assets set aside for these plans, the rates of interest used to determine funding levels, the impact of potential business dispositions, actuarial data and experience, and any changes in government laws and regulations. In addition, our employee benefit plans hold a significant amount of equity securities. If the market values of these securities decline, our pension expense and funding requirements would increase and, as a result, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Any decrease in interest rates and asset returns, if and to the extent not offset by contributions, could increase our obligations under these plans. If the performance of assets in the funded plans does not meet our expectations, our cash contributions for these plans could be higher than we expect, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and liquidity.

Natural or other disasters have, and could in the future, disrupt our business and result in loss of revenue or higher expenses.

Any serious disruption at any of our facilities or our suppliers’ facilities due to hurricane, fire, earthquake, flood, terrorist attack or any other natural or man-made disaster could impair our ability to use our facilities and have a material adverse impact on our revenues and increase our costs and expenses. If there is a natural disaster or other serious disruption at any of our facilities or our suppliers’ facilities, it could impair our ability to adequately supply our customers and negatively impact our operating results. For example, our manufacturing facilities in the U.S. Gulf Coast region were also impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. In addition, many of our current and potential customers are concentrated in specific geographic areas. A disaster in one of these regions could have a material adverse impact on our operations, operating results and financial condition. Our business interruption insurance may not be sufficient to cover all of our losses from a disaster, in which case our unreimbursed losses could be substantial. Some of our operations are located in regions with particular exposure to natural disasters such as storms, floods, fires and earthquakes. It would be difficult or impossible for us to relocate these operations and, as a result, any of the aforementioned occurrences could materially adversely affect our business.

 

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Security breaches and other disruptions to our information technology infrastructure could interfere with our operations, and could compromise our information and the information of our customers and suppliers, exposing us to liability which would cause our business and reputation to suffer.

In the ordinary course of business, we rely upon information technology networks and systems, some of which are managed by third parties, to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business processes and activities, including supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, invoicing, and collection of payments from customers. We use information technology systems to record, process and summarize financial information and results of operations for internal reporting purposes and to comply with regulatory financial reporting, legal and tax requirements. Additionally, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, proprietary business information, the propriety business information of our customers and suppliers, as well as personally identifiable information of our customers and employees, in data centers and on information technology networks. The secure operation of these information technology networks, and the processing and maintenance of this information is critical to our business operations and strategy. Despite security measures and business continuity plans, our information technology networks and infrastructure may be vulnerable to damage, disruptions or shutdowns due to attacks by hackers or breaches due to employee error or malfeasance, or other disruptions during the process of upgrading or replacing computer software or hardware, power outages, computer viruses, telecommunication or utility failures or natural disasters or other catastrophic events. The occurrence of any of these events could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability or regulatory penalties under laws protecting the privacy of personal information, disrupt operations, and damage our reputation, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Acquisitions and joint ventures that we pursue may present unforeseen integration obstacles and costs, increase our leverage and negatively impact our performance. Divestitures that we pursue also may present unforeseen obstacles and costs and alter the synergies we expect to continue to achieve from the Shared Services Agreement with MPM.

We have made acquisitions of related businesses, and entered into joint ventures in the past and intend to selectively pursue acquisitions of, and joint ventures with, related businesses as one element of our growth strategy. Acquisitions may require us to assume or incur additional debt financing, resulting in additional leverage and complex debt structures. If such acquisitions are consummated, the risk factors we describe above and below, and for our business generally, may be intensified.

Our ability to implement our growth strategy could be limited by covenants in our ABL Facility, indentures and other indebtedness, our financial resources, including available cash and borrowing capacity, and our ability to integrate or identify appropriate acquisition and joint venture candidates.

The expense incurred in consummating acquisitions of related businesses, or our failure to integrate such businesses successfully into our existing businesses, could result in our incurring unanticipated expenses and losses. Furthermore, we may not be able to realize any anticipated benefits from acquisitions or joint ventures. The process of integrating acquired operations into our existing operations may result in unforeseen operating difficulties and may require significant financial resources that would otherwise be available for the ongoing development or expansion of existing operations. Some of the risks associated with our acquisition and joint venture strategy include:

 

    potential disruptions of our ongoing business and distraction of management;

 

    unexpected loss of key employees or customers of the acquired company;

 

    conforming the acquired company’s standards, processes, procedures and controls with our operations;

 

    coordinating new product and process development;

 

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    hiring additional management and other critical personnel; and

 

    increasing the scope, geographic diversity and complexity of our operations.

In addition, we may encounter unforeseen obstacles or costs in the integration of acquired businesses. For example, if we were to acquire an international business, the preparation of the U.S. GAAP financial statements could require significant management resources. Also, the presence of one or more material liabilities of an acquired company that are unknown to us at the time of acquisition may have a material adverse effect on our business. Our acquisition and joint venture strategy may not be successfully received by customers, and we may not realize any anticipated benefits from acquisitions or joint ventures.

In addition, we have selectively made, and may in the future, pursue divestitures of certain of our businesses as one element of our portfolio optimization strategy. Divestitures may require us to separate integrated assets and personnel from our retained businesses and devote our resources to transitioning assets and services to purchasers, resulting in disruptions to our ongoing business and distraction of management. Divestitures may alter synergies we expect to continue to achieve from the Shared Services Agreement.

We could face additional income tax obligations based on tax reform proposals.

As a result of the 2016 U.S. election and ongoing activity in the U.S. Congress on tax reform proposals, there is a heightened possibility of significant changes to U.S. federal income tax laws. From time to time, legislative proposals have been introduced that, if enacted, could have a material and adverse effect on our business. Of particular interest to our business are potential changes that would impact at least some of our significant tax attributes. Those attributes include our U.S. Net Operating Losses, unremitted foreign earnings and net interest expense, all of which would be adversely impacted if unfavorable tax legislation were to be enacted. We are unable to predict when or if such legislation will be introduced, whether or not such legislation will be enacted, what specific provisions will be included or what the effective date will be, and as a result the ultimate impact on us of such legislation is uncertain.

If we fail to establish and maintain an effective internal control environment, our ability to both timely and accurately report our financial results could be adversely affected.

Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires companies to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of their internal control over financial reporting. To comply with this statute, each year we are required to document and test our internal control over financial reporting and our management is required to assess and issue a report concerning our internal control over financial reporting.

The existence of one or more material weaknesses has resulted in, and could continue to result in, errors in our financial statements, and substantial costs and resources may be required to rectify these errors or other internal control deficiencies and may cause us to incur other costs, including potential legal expenses. If we cannot produce reliable financial reports, investors could lose confidence in our reported financial information, and we may be unable to obtain additional financing to operate and expand our business and our business and financial condition could be harmed.

Although we believe we have remediated the control deficiencies we identified and are taking appropriate actions to strengthen our internal control over financial reporting, we cannot assure you that the measures we have taken to date, or any measures we may take in the future, will be sufficient to avoid potential future material weaknesses.

 

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