News Column

FutureFuel cites EPA renewable fuel delay for falling profits

August 7, 2014

By Jacob Barker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Aug. 07--Delayed federal guidelines on the amount of renewable fuel the nation must use again crimped Clayton-based FutureFuel Corp.'s earnings, the company said Thursday.

The biofuel and specialty chemical manufacturer said second-quarter net income fell 71 percent to $5.3 million, or 12 cents a share. That compared unfavorably to profit of $18.2 million, or 42 cents, in the year-earlier period.

Revenue fell 36 percent to $66.9 million.

"The lingering absence of the 2014 final rule from the (Environmental Protection Agency) regarding the Renewable Fuel mandate and the expiration of the $1 per gallon blenders' credit have severely harmed the biodiesel industry," said Lee Mikles, FutureFuel president. "While we trust a decision soon will be made to enable the industry to perform as it was designed, until these regulatory provisions change or market dynamics have reason for improvement, we anticipate continued depressed conditions for our biofuels segment."

The segment reported a quarterly loss of $553,000 for the second quarter, compared to $12.8 million in profit a year ago. But its chemicals segment, too, fell to $7.1 million in profit compared to $14.8 million last year.

The EPA is supposed to issue updates to the renewable fuel standard, or RFS, each year, which tells the motor fuel industry how much ethanol and other types of alternative fuels must be used or blended with gasoline. The 2014 standards were due in November, but EPA has yet to issue them, and experts say biodiesel and advanced biofuels have been hit especially hard.

Jacob Barker is a business reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @jacobbarker and the Business section @postdispatchbiz.


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Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

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