Ravenna ethanol plant to have Nebraska owner

Source: By Lori Potter, Omaha World-Herald • Posted: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

MINDEN, Neb. — A wholly owned subsidiary of KAAPA Ethanol of Minden was the successful bidder, at $115 million, for the Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol plant in Ravenna, Nebraska, according to a notice from U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis.

KAAPA Ethanol Chief Executive Officer Chuck Woodside said Tuesday he hopes the closing on the KE Holdings purchase of the Ravenna plant can be completed by Sept. 30.

“We are anxious to get in and get started. Harvest is just around the corner,” he said, and work will be done soon to enhance ground storage facilities at Ravenna.

The KE Holdings bid is one of four successful bids worth more than $355 million for U.S. ethanol plants owned by Abengoa SA of Seville, Spain, and offered for sale in connection with the company’s global restructuring to resolve bankruptcy proceedings in Spain and U.S. courts.

Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. was the successful bidder for the three other U.S. plants, in York, Nebraska; Mount Vernon, Indiana; and Madison, Illinois.

The sales must be approved at a Bankruptcy Court hearing Monday in St. Louis.

Woodside confirmed that KE Holdings was the only bidder for the Ravenna plant, and the new ownership subsidiary will be KAPPA Ethanol Ravenna LLC.

The plant was shut down for several weeks early this year after its creditors filed lawsuits in February. It was reopened after Abengoa secured a $41 million bankruptcy loan in late March.

Woodside said the Ravenna plant is operating at its capacity of 90 million gallons per year, which requires 33 million bushels of corn. There are 51 employees.

“We’ve made a commitment that we will offer every one of those employees a job,” Woodside said.

Woodside said he’s had good feedback from Ravenna-area farmers and KAAPA Ethanol stockholders about the change from Abengoa Bioenergy to local ownership.

KE Holdings also owns plants at Janesville, Minnesota; Hankinson, North Dakota; and Lima, Ohio, with other partners.