Abengoa files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US

Source: By Holly Jessen , Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Friday, February 26, 2016

Abengoa Bioenergy U.S. Holding LLC and five of its U.S. bioenergy subsidiaries filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. court on Feb. 24. The filings do not include Abengoa’s corn ethanol plants in Mt. Vernon, Indiana, and Madison, Illinois, the cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, or certain other subsidiaries of Abengoa Bioenergy.

“Abengoa Bioenergy believes that this action is in the best interests of the company, the plant employees, and the creditors of each of the affected companies,” Antonio Vallespir, President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy, said in a company press release. “Filing and consolidating the cases in St. Louis will provide for a more efficient and less costly administration of these cases in one location, and gives our companies the potential to resume operations and generate revenues at the more profitable of these facilities. It also provides the opportunity for a coordinated and supervised reorganization or sale process, while still allowing each involved debtor company substantial control over its own costs, debts and assets.”

The six subsidiaries filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy include Abengoa Bioenergy of Nebraska, Abengoa Bioenergy Co. LLC, Abengoa Bioenergy Trading U.S. LLC, Abengoa Bioenergy Engineering & Construction LLC and Abengoa Bioenergy Outsourcing LLC. The subsidiaries have moved for joint administration of the cases under the Chapter 11 case of Abengoa Bioenergy U.S. Holding.

Abengoa Bioenergy is a subsidiary of Abengoa S.A., a holding company headquartered in Seville, Spain. The company filed for preliminary creditor protection in Spain before the end of 2015.

“Abengoa S.A. is currently in the process of negotiating a viability plan for the global organization of the company and aims to maintain business activity in all areas,” Vallespir said. “Under Spanish law, Abengoa is in the process of restructuring its debt through a process that protects the company from claims from creditors. These changes are expected to streamline operations and maximize resources.”

Earlier this month two separate involuntary bankruptcy proceedings were filed in Nebraska and Kansas concerning Abengoa’s ethanol plants in Ravenna and York, Nebraska, Colwich, Kansas, and Portales, New Mexico. Motions have been filed to transfer those filings to the U.S. Eastern District of Missouri Bankruptcy Court, for consolidated administration with the voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases filed by Abengoa Bioenergy U.S. Holding.

Abengoa’s Feb. 24 press release said Abengoa’s subsidiaries not part of the bankruptcy filing would continue to operate “in the ordinary course of business.” However, in early December, an Abengoa employee told Ethanol Producer Magazine that staff at the company’s cellulosic ethanol plant and other facilities and offices worldwide had been laid off. Neal Gillespie, economic development director of the Stevens County Economic Development Board, recently confirmed only five or six employees were at work at the Hugoton plant, performing maintenance tasks. In late January the company announced it planned to sell its non-core assets, including its first-generation biofuel plants.