Green Plains adds Tennessee grain elevators

By Holly Jessen | April 15, 2010
Posted April 22, 2010

Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. has completed the acquisition process of five grain elevators located in west Tennessee—increasing its grain storage capacity by 63 percent. Green Plains is the fourth largest ethanol producer in the U.S., operating six ethanol plants with a combined capacity of 480 MMgy.

The five elevators in Tennessee add 11.7 million bushels of grain storage, as well as adding grain and fertilizer inventories, and other agribusiness assets, the company said. One 110 MMgy Green Plains ethanol plant is located in Obion, Tenn.

Before this acquisition, Green Plains already owned eight grain elevators with almost 19 million bushels of storage, said Jim Stark, vice president of investor and media relations for the company. These elevators are located in northwestern Iowa and southern Minnesota, in the vicinity of the company's two 55 MMgy ethanol plants in Shenandoah, Iowa, and Superior, Iowa. The company wants to continue expanding, not only in the ethanol world, but through grain handling and storage opportunities. "We believe that diversification helps us not only from a revenue and incomes standpoint," he told EPM, "but from an information gathering standpoint about our main input, corn."

Green Plains Grain Company and Green Plains Grain Company TN, known collectively as Green Plains Grain, now have an amended and restated secured credit facility for a total of $85 million. That will, among other things, partially fund the purchase of the west Tennessee elevators and provide working capital. "We believe these acquisitions and the expanded credit facility will allow us to continue to grow our business and provide solid returns to our shareholders," said Todd Becker, president and CEO.

The company's remaining three ethanol plants are located in Ord, Neb., Bluffton, Ind., and Central City, Neb. In addition to producing ethanol and grain handling, Green Plains also markets and distributes ethanol for four third-party ethanol producers and owns 51 percent of Blendstar, LLC, a biofuel terminal operator.