Ethanol Plants Sold

Omaha Company to Acquire Abengoa Assets

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Green Plains Inc. is set to acquire three ethanol plants from Abengoa Bioenergy. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Abengoa Bioenergy sold three of its ethanol plants to Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. during a recent auction, according to a court notice filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Eastern Missouri in St. Louis.

Plains bid $237 million to purchase plants in Madison, Illinois, Mount Vernon, Indiana, and York, Nebraska. The plants have an annual combined production capacity of 236 million gallons.

KE Holdings LLC, was made a successful $115 million bid to buy the Abengoa plant in Ravenna, Nebraska, while Kansas-based ethanol plant builder ICM Inc. was the high bidder at $3.15 million for the Abengoa plant in Colwich, Kansas. ACE Ethanol, LLC, was the successful back-up bidder on the Kansas plant, with a bid of $3 million.

Abengoa's shuttered cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, and a first-generation ethanol plant in Portales, New Mexico, were not included in any of the successful bids, according to the court notice.

The court is scheduled to consider the final sale at a hearing Aug. 29. The acquisitions are expected to be complete no later than Sept. 30, according to a news release from Green Plains.

The purchase will solidify the company's position as one of the five largest ethanol producers in the United States based on production capacity. Once the sale is complete, Green Plains will own and operate 17 dry mill ethanol plants with combined production capacity of nearly 1.5 billion gallons per year.

"We continue to focus on making strategic investments in high -quality assets as we expand our production footprint," Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer at Green Plains, said in a news release.

"The Madison and Mount Vernon plants will give us access to the Mississippi River, supporting our new export terminal planned in Beaumont, Texas. In addition, we will broaden our product offering globally with industrial alcohol production at the York plant. These acquisitions further our commitment to deliver long-term value for both Green Plains Inc. and Green Plains Partners shareholders."

Green Plains is a diversified company with operations related to ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil production; grain handling and storage; a cattle feedlot; and commodity marketing and distribution services.

The company processes about 12 million tons of corn annually, producing more than 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol, 3.5 million tons of livestock feed and 290 million pounds of industrial-grade corn oil at full capacity.

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported Spain-based parent company Abengoa SA, which filed bankruptcy protection at the end of 2015, expects 75% of its creditors to approve a restructuring plan. Part of that plan was to exit the ethanol business.

A number of grain companies are listed as creditors to the ethanol plants in Nebraska, as part of Abengoa's ongoing bankruptcy proceedings in the United States.

By DTN's count, there are more than 225 agriculture businesses, farmers and ethanol companies listed as creditors by Abengoa in its Chapter 11 filing.

A number of farmer cooperatives and other grain producers who supply the company's ethanol plants in Nebraska attempted in March to force Abengoa into Chapter 7 liquidation after reporting $10 million in losses for unpaid grain delivered to the company's plants in York and Ravenna.

Creditors who were not paid for grain deliveries made to plants in York and Ravenna include Gavilon Grain LLC; Farmers Cooperative Association in Ravenna; Farmers Cooperative in Dorchester, Nebraska; The Andersons Inc. and Central Valley Ag Cooperative.

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Todd Neeley