Business & Real Estate

Sacramento ethanol maker regains plant ownership

Pacific Ethanol CEO and founder Neil Koehler at the company’s plant in Stockton a year ago.
Pacific Ethanol CEO and founder Neil Koehler at the company’s plant in Stockton a year ago. mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

Pacific Ethanol Inc. said Wednesday it has regained full ownership of its four production plants, six years after placing them in bankruptcy.

The Sacramento ethanol producer said it paid $3.8 million to recoup the last 4 percent ownership stake in the plants.

When ethanol prices collapsed in 2009, Pacific Ethanol shut down production at three of its four plants and placed all four in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It lost controlling interest in the plants but earned money by operating the facilities under contract with creditors. The plants are located in the West, including plants in Stockton and Madera.

As the ethanol industry recovered, the company has been gradually buying back ownership. Pacific Ethanol is now strong enough that it’s on the verge of completing a $192 million stock takeover of Aventine Energy Holdings Inc. of Illinois. The deal, set to close by July 1, will extend Pacific Ethanol’s footprint to the Midwest and double its production capacity.

Pacific Ethanol shares closed at $10.58, down 27 cents, on the Nasdaq market.

  Comments