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Continued: Weak turnaround this year in Minnesota's ethanol industry

  • Article by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 23, 2013 - 7:22 PM

The company, based in Denver, has $170 million in debt, and has missed $12.9 million in debt payments from September through March. It reported a $4.6 million loss for the quarter. It was the fifth losing quarter in a row, but the smallest loss.

Company owes $74 million

Bloomington-based Advanced Bioenergy, which owns ethanol plants in Huron and Aberdeen, S.D., reported a $1.7 million net loss in the three months ending in March, its fourth consecutive quarterly loss. The company sold a Nebraska ethanol plant last year, but still carries $74 million in debt. The company missed a $1.1 million principal payment in the quarter and was discussing with lenders how to address the problem, according to a regulatory filing.

Yet another struggling ethanol plant, Heron Lake BioEnergy, with $37 million in debt, lost $998,140 in the three months ending in April, its seventh consecutive quarterly loss.

The company last week solicited its 1,100 investors, including many farmers, to raise at least $5 million and possibly up to $12 million in a convertible debt offering, said CFO Mike Mattison.

The plant, 20 miles northeast of Worthington, has continued to operate. Earlier this year its owners voted to sell it to a group of financially stronger producers for $55 million.

But the deal later fell apart, forcing the board to seek fresh capital. Board members already have put up $1.4 million, Mattison said.


Staff writer Patrick Kennedy contributed to this report.

David Shaffer • 612-673-7090

Twitter: @ShafferStrib


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  • Purified Renewable Energy, a Buffalo Lake, Minn., ethanol producer

  • Some Minnesota ethanol producers show a profit

    Three of the seven Minnesota-affiliated ethanol producers reported a profit, and most others had declining losses in the latest quarter ending in March or April. Most ethanol plants are privately owned and don’t disclose financial results.

    Quarterly Quarterly

    Company revenue earnings Minnesota affiliation

    Advanced BioEnergy $61.3M –$1.7M Bloomington (hq)*

    Blue Flint Ethanol $48.3M –$51,000 Maple Grove (owner)†

    Biofuel Energy Corp. $89.0M –$4.6.M Fairmont (plant)

    Granite Falls Energy $48.0M $3.0M Granite Falls (hq/plant)

    Green Plains Renewable Energy $765.0M $2.5M Fergus Falls (plant)**

    Heron Lake BioEnergy $35.5M –$998,140 Heron Lake (hq/plant)

    Highwater Ethanol $42.6M $770,082 Lamberton (hq/plant)

    *owns ethanol plants in Huron, S.D., and Aberdeen, S.D.

    †Blue Flint plant in Underwood, N.D., is wholly owned by Great River Energy, a Maple Grove-based electric cooperative that supplies Blue Flint with steam from its power plant adjacent to the ethanol facility. Steam sales are not reflected in figures.

    **also owned eight ethanol plants in other states; figures reflect all plants’ production.

    Source: Company filings with Securities and Exchange Commission.

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