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Lower ethanol margins hurt Green Plains’ Q1 results

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May 8 (Renewables Now) - US ethanol producer and commodities company Green Plains Inc (NASDAQ:GPRE) saw its attributable net loss for the first quarter of 2018 expand to USD 24.1 million (EUR 20.2m), mainly due to the lower ethanol margins.

On announcing its results for January-March on Monday, Green Plains said that its financial performance was below expectations and its bottom line compares to a year-ago deficit of USD 3.6 million.

"Margins were weak in the first quarter, yet we expect demand for ethanol to improve domestically and internationally as we enter summer driving season," said Todd Becker, the company’s president and CEO. He added that domestic ethanol blending is seen to increase throughout 2018 on the back of rising demand for petrol and the favourable ethanol prices as compared to wholesale petrol.

Green Plains turned to an operating loss of USD 3.9 million, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) contracted to USD 23.1 million from USD 43.8 million a year before.

Revenues increased to USD 1.05 billion from USD 887.7 million in the first quarter of 2016, although ethanol production was down to 280.4 million gallons from 326.4 million gallons. The consolidated ethanol crush margin fell to USD 0.05 per gallon from USD 0.12 per gallon.

At the end of March, Green Plains had USD 265.2 million in total cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, while its outstanding debt totalled USD 1.37 billion.

"Future investments will be focused on protein production, streamlining our export supply chain to leverage our strong position and maximising our returns at our export facility in Beaumont, Texas," the CEO said, adding that assets that do not fit the strategy will be divested.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.839)

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Veselina Petrova is one of SeeNews Renewables most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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