Sept. 02--Pacific Ethanol Inc. said Tuesday it's purchased another 5 percent interest in its production plants, raising the stake to 96 percent.
The Sacramento-based ethanol producer spent $6 million in the transaction. Company officials said it makes sense to increase ownership in the plants at a time of high profits in the ethanol industry.
"Increasing our ownership delivers an immediate earnings benefit to our shareholders at current production margins," said President and Chief Executive Neil Koehler in a prepared statement.
Running low on cash during an industry-wide slump in 2009, Pacific Ethanol placed its four plants in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and wound up surrendering control of the plants to its lenders. Since then, as prices and profits have roared back, the Sacramento company has been gradually buying back the ownership in the facilities.
The plants operate in Stockton; Madera; Boardman, Ore.; and Burley, Idaho.
Pacific Ethanol's shares rose 31 cents, to $23.42, in morning Nasdaq trading.
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