Business & Real Estate

Year-over-year net sales decrease cuts into Pacific Ethanol’s bottom line

Sacramento-based Pacific Ethanol Inc. said Wednesday that it posted a modest profit of $700,000, or 3 cents a share, in this year’s second quarter.

That was down significantly from $15.3 million, or 68 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2014.

Net sales in the second quarter totaled $227.6 million, down nearly 30 percent from $321.1 million in the year-ago period. The company said the year-over-year decline was due to a decrease in the average sales price per gallon of ethanol, partially offset by an increase in total gallons sold.

PEI said it sold a record 140.7 million gallons in the quarter.

Just before the close of the second quarter on June 30, PEI regained full ownership of its four production plants, six years after placing them in bankruptcy. 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. The plants are located in the West, including plants in Stockton and Madera.

On July 1, PEI completed its $192 million acquisition of Aventine Energy Holdings Inc. of Pekin, Ill., which PEI said elevates it to the sixth-largest ethanol producer in the United States.

PEI also announced this week that it has begun commercial production of corn at its plant in Boardman, Ore. With the completion of that two-year initiative, all four of the PEI’s western plants are now producing corn oil.

Pacific Ethanol shares on Wednesday closed at $7.98, up 45 cents, or nearly 6 percent, on the Nasdaq market.