Facing a tough market for its product, Pacific Ethanol Inc. reported a quarterly loss Wednesday, although revenue grew substantially and the loss was smaller than a year ago.
The Sacramento-based ethanol producer said it lost $3.5 million during the third quarter, compared with a $14.7 million loss a year earlier. Revenue jumped 10 percent to $417.8 million, as the company sold a record 243.7 million gallons of ethanol.
Pacific Ethanol has been struggling with comparatively low market prices for the past two years for the gasoline additive made out of corn. It sold the average gallon of ethanol for $1.62 in the third quarter; in early 2014, the price averaged $2.70.
Company officials said market conditions are improving, however.
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“We are now experiencing near the best production margins of the year from strong ethanol demand and low corn input costs,” said President and Chief Executive Neil Koehler in a prepared statement. “We are well positioned to profit from the positive market conditions in the fourth quarter.”
The latest results were announced after the stock market closed. Pacific Ethanol shares closed unchanged at $7.50 on the Nasdaq market.