$15 million Green Plains purchase will reopen idled ethanol plant

Source: By Emily Nohr, WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER • Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013

article photo

Green Plains Renewable Energy is paying $15 million in cash for a north-central Nebraska ethanol plant, storage and loading facility.

The Atkinson, Neb., plant has been idle since June 2012 and Green Plains said it will staff and re-start the plant within the next month. Green Plains plans to hire 40 to 45 people.

The Omaha-based ethanol producer has signed a purchase agreement to buy the membership interests of Choice Ethanol Holdings LLC, which owns the former NEDAK Ethanol LLC plant in Atkinson. A storage and loading facility located about 15 miles east of the plant were also part of the deal.

Green Plains said that the dry-mill ethanol plant about 200 miles northwest of Omaha will add about 50 million gallons of operating capacity to the company’s annual production capacity of 740 million gallons.

President and CEO Todd Becker said in a statement the acquisition expands the company’s ethanol production platform and aligns with its strategy of growing the business and enhancing long-term shareholder value.

Marketing and distributing about one billion gallons of ethanol each year, Green Plains is North America’s fourth largest ethanol producer.

“The plant meets our disciplined acquisition criteria and we have a deep understanding of this technology, size and geographic area,” Becker said. “We believe we can rapidly improve the overall performance of this plant.”

The company also plans to install corn oil extraction technology by the fourth quarter of 2013. The Atkinson plant uses Delta-T processing technology. Located on the BNSF rail line, the ethanol storage facility holds about 24,000 barrels of ethanol.

The company, which has ethanol plants in six states, already operates plants elsewhere in Nebraska: Ord and Central City. It also owns a grain storage facility in St. Edward.

Todd Sneller, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board, said he had been concerned the plant could be sold and relocated. Keeping it in Atkinson and run by a Nebraska-based company “is very good news not only for Atkinson, but the state” because it will employ people here, he said.