Pacific Ethanol narrows Q1 loss, expects margin improvements

Madera, California biorefinery. Source: Pacific Ethanol Inc. License: All Rights Reserved.

May 11 (Renewables Now) - Pacific Ethanol Inc (NASDAQ:PEIX) this week posted narrower net loss for the first quarter of 2018 and said that market conditions are getting better.

Net loss available to common stockholders was USD 8.2 million (EUR 6.9m), compared to USD 12.9 million a year ago. The ethanol company made a gross profit of USD 3.4 million, versus a gross loss of USD 5.8 million last time and moved to positive adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of USD 5.7 million from negative USD 1.9 million.

Net sales rose to USD 400 million from USD 386.3 million as production gallons sold increased to 140.8 million from 115 million. Revenues were held back by a decline in third-party gallons sold and in the average ethanol sales price per gallon.

President and chief executive Neil Koehler said that industry margins have improved slightly in the first quarter from the final quarter of 2017 but remained tight. Ethanol inventories reached a record high in early March but the fundamentals have since improved on strong exports, higher fuel demand and moderating overall ethanol production, Koehler added. Ethanol inventories have shrunk over the last two months and are now 5% below the same time last year. "We are optimistic the improved supply and demand balance will result in margin improvements as we enter the peak demand season," Koehler said.

According to him, the long-term fundamentals in the company's markets for ethanol and high-protein feed products are getting stronger.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.836)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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