US GreenHunter to keep biodiesel refinery, for now - CEO

17 November 2009 21:40  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US biodiesel producer GreenHunter Energy will keep its Houston refinery after a major lender refrained from using its right to seize it, the company said on Tuesday.

The company reported to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 16 November that it was in danger of losing its 105m gal/year (397m litre/year) biodiesel refinery, if it had not paid its lender West LB a $37.9m (€25.4m) note by 15 November.

GreenHunter chief executive and president Jonathan Hoopes said that after his company filed the SEC report, the German investment bank alerted it that it would retain the right to seize the refinery - the largest in the US - but would refrain from doing so for now. 

“Nothing has been seized; we still have the keys to the plant,” Hoopes said. “We are still negotiating the loan.”

GreenHunter, based in Grapevine, Texas, posted a $3.4m net loss for the third quarter, compared with a net loss of $26.7m in the third quarter of 2008. The company reported $764,000 in cash on hand for the third quarter.

The company’s biodiesel sales were $238,640 for the quarter, down from $312,747 in the same period of the year before.

In the summer, GreenHunter hired Imperial Capital investment bank to search out a party to either buy or invest in the refinery.

Since the refinery’s June 2008 opening, the company has seen an international trade war cut off access to its major EU market and indifferent domestic demand for renewable fuels. The company idled the refinery in April due to scant sales.

Sales of the renewable fuel have plummeted during the year. US Energy Information Administration (EIA) statistics put production at 262m gal, down 40% from 436m gal in the same period of 2008.

($1 = €0.67)

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By: Ben Lefebvre
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