Alto reports improved Q4, discusses plant improvement projects

By Erin Voegele | March 14, 2022

Alto Ingredients Inc. released fourth quarter financial results on March 10, reporting a significant increase in net sales and gross profit. The company confirmed its biorefinery in Idaho is once again operational and discussed progress on high-protein initiatives.

Alto currently operates three biorefinery campuses with one wet mill and four dry mills located in Pekin, Illinois; Burley, Idaho; and Boardman, Oregon. Together those plants are able to produce approximately 350 million gallons of alcohol annually.

During a fourth quarter earnings call, Alto Ingredients CEO Mike Kandris reported that the company’s Magic Valley ethanol plant in Idaho resumed operations in November 2021. The facility was idled in 2020 due to low renewable fuel margins. The Magic Valley plant is located in a market that is experiencing significant growth in cattle, poultry, pork and aquaculture, Kandris explained. Given those opportunities, he said Alto has begun upgrading the Magic Valley dry mill plant to produced concentrated protein feed and food ingredients by installing Harvesting Technology LLC’s CoProMax system.

Once complete, that system will allow the plant to produce more than 33,000 tons annual of feed with a protein content of greater than 50 percent, according to Kandris. The technology will also boost corn oil yields by approximately 50 percent. The Magic Valley plant is expected to commence the expanded production of corn oil in mid-2022 and expects high-protein feed production to be fully operational by year-end.

Moving into 2023, Alto plans to add the CoProMax technology to its other three dry mills. Kandris said the company aims to have those systems fully operational no later than year-end 2024. He also that Alto plans to expand corn storage at its Pekin campus and discussed the company’s move into specialty alcohol production, including the new certifications earned by its Pekin campus in February.

According to Kandris, Alto is also evaluating other opportunities to improve its plants, including the possibly of investing in a natural gas bypass at the Pekin campus. The bypass would reduce the price of natural gas at Pekin and create the opportunity to sell renewable natural gas (RNG) produced at the plant into the pipeline in the future. The company is also considering options for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

Alto reported net sales of $385.5 million for the fourth quarter, up from $168.8 million reported for the same period of 2020. Gross profit was $42.1 million, up from $13.6 million. Net income available to common stockholders was $35.4 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $20.5 million, or 30 cents per share.