Green Plains shuts down ethanol plant, completes sale of 3 others

Ethanol plant in the US. Featured Image: Jim Parkin/Shutterstock.com

November 16 (Renewables Now) - Green Plains Inc (NASDAQ:GPRE) on Thursday announced the completion of a previously announced sale of three ethanol plants in the US and said it is permanently closing a facility in Virginia.

The US ethanol producer and commodities company is shutting down its Hopewell ethanol plant, which has an annual production capacity of 60 million gallons. The move will result in 31 job cuts, with just a handful of employees remaining to oversee the decommissioning of the facility, seen to take up to a year and a half.

Green Plains said that a significant portion of the plant will be dismantled during the decommissioning process and that most of the equipment will be transferred to other company-owned sites. It remains to be decided what will happen with the rest of the equipment and the land.

Separately, Green Plains announced it has finalised the sale of three ethanol plants to Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC for USD 319 million (EUR 281m) in cash, including net working capital and other adjustments. The transaction involved the facilities in Lakota, Iowa; Bluffton, Indiana; and Riga, Michigan, which account for about 20% of the company’s reported ethanol production capacity. When unveiling the deal last month, the seller said it will use the proceeds to pay down term debt, which is an objective set for this year.

Last week Green Plains reported a nine-month net loss of USD 37.6 million versus a profit of USD 14.4 million a year earlier. Todd Becker, president and CEO said the current environment remains challenging but the expected approval of E15 for year-round use and strong demand "should start to clear the way for a fundamental improvement in the business going forward."

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.882)

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