Subiaco-based Natural Fuel Ltd lost its chairman, former Liberal leader John Hewson, and two directors today, less than one week after releasing an annual report showing a net loss of $47.8 million.
Dr Hewson, and fellow non-executive board members Jerome Rowley and Roger Stroud resigned effective immediately this morning, with another non-executive director, Barry Eu, declining to re-nominate for his position at the annual general meeting.
The company has met with many challenges this year, with a rise in feedstock prices, start-up issues in Darwin and construction challenges in Singapore.
According to the company's quarterly update, released today, the last six months have seen the price of palm oil, the company's primary feedstock, rise from $400 per tonne to $800 per tonne, resulting in what it termed "a serious downturn in market sentiment."
Natural Fuel will, it said, work towards reducing fixed costs on an operational and corporate level and fast tracking access to lower cost alternative feedstocks.
The company also aims to commence production of pharmaceutical grade glycerine for use in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications in future.
It was forced to reassess the commercial viability of its proposed Houston plant earlier in the year, after the Texas government decided not to renew its biofuels incentive program, which would have contributed US20 cents per gallon (or 3.7 litres) for up to 18 million gallons (or about 68 million litres) per year.
Shares in the company closed 13.5 per cent down at 22.5 cents.
The full text of a company announcement is pasted below
Natural Fuel Limited (ASX: NFL) wishes to announce that following a Board Meeting held yesterday, Mr John Hewson, Mr Jerome Rowley and Mr Roger Stroud have resigned as non-executive chairman and non-executive directors respectively, effective immediately.
In addition, as announced in NFL's Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM) and in accordance with the requirement for Board members to retire by rotation, Mr Barry Eu will not offer himself for re-election at the AGM.
The Board of Natural Fuel wishes to thank each director for his contribution.
The Board's Nomination Committee is currently considering a range of candidates for appointment as non-executive directors of the Company. The Committee is focused on selecting candidates who can demonstrate the key skills and experience that are required to add value to NFL's forward strategy.
NFL will provide shareholders with due notice of any additional candidates that may be up for election at least seven days prior to the AGM as per the Constitutional requirements.