Nation’s Largest Ethanol Producer Poet In Talks to Buy Flint Hills’ Plants

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN • Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2021

The nation’s largest ethanol producer Poet, LLC, may become even larger if a deal is struck to buy all of the ethanol assets owned by Flint Hills Resources, the nation’s fifth-largest producer.

DTN confirmed with Poet on Thursday that the Sioux Falls, South Dakota,-based company is continuing talks with Flint Hills. Flint Hills owns six ethanol plants including five in Iowa and one in Nebraska, totaling about 800 million gallons of production capacity.

Jessica Sexe, director of public relations with Poet, said the two companies are in “exclusive discussions” about a possible sale of Flint Hills’ “biofuels business.”

“Poet’s post-acquisition potential annual production capacity would be approximately 3 billion gallons of bioethanol, 14 billion pounds of distillers grains and 975 million pounds of corn oil from 33 bioprocessing facilities,” she said in an email to DTN.

Wichita, Kansas,-based Flint Hills also operates three oil refineries with about 700,000 barrels of daily production capacity. The company also produces aromatics, asphalt and other chemicals.

Poet owns and operates 27 ethanol plants in Michigan, South Dakota, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota and Missouri, with a production capacity of about 2 billion gallons.

Poet also produces renewable food-grade carbon dioxide, purified alcohol, high-protein animal feed, asphalt additives and corn oil used for renewable diesel.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 economic shutdown last year,…, that it was idling ethanol plants in South Dakota and Iowa and delaying startup of a new plant in Indiana.

In 2019, Poet announced it was idling cellulosic-ethanol production at its plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa,…, after the EPA granted a number of small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Todd Neeley can be reached at