CropEnergies announces plans to idle UK ethanol plant

By Erin Voegele | October 22, 2018

On Oct. 22, European ethanol producer CropEnergies AG announced plans to idle production at its Wilton, U.K.-based ethanol plant at the end of November due to difficult market conditions.

In its statement, CropEnergies also said it is lowering its financial outlook for the current 2018-’19 financial year due to low ethanol prices. The company said both spot and forward prices have fallen the last few days, contrary to its expectations.

CropEnergies said it now expects to achieve operating results between €15 million ($17.2 million) and €25 million, down from a previous forecast of €25 million to €55 million.

Earlier this month, the company released financial results for the first half of its fiscal 2018-’19 year, reporting an operating profit of €9.6 million for the second quarter of the financial year, up €5 million from the first quarter, but down from €23.7 million during the same period of the previous year. For the first half of the 2018-’19 financial year, CropEnergies reported operating profit of €14.2 million, down from €47.3 million during the same period of the previous financial year.

Revenues for the second quarter reached €200.8 million, down from €228.7 million during the same period of last year, but up from €192.5 million during the first quarter. For the first half of the current financial year, the company reported revenues of €393.2 million, down from €459.7 million during the same period of the previous year.

CropEnergies attributed the changes in revenue to fluctuating ethanol prices. During the second quarter, the company produced 494,000 cubic meters of ethanol, down from 567,000 during the same period of last year.

The company currently operates four ethanol plants, including the 400,000-cubic-meter-per-year Wilton facility, a 400-cubic-meter-per-year plant in Zeitz, Germany, a 300,000-cubic-meter-per-year plant in Wanze, Belgium, and 100,000-cubic-meter-per-year plant in Loon-Plage, France.