GPRE adds Neb. grain elevator assets to agribusiness segment

By Holly Jessen | December 19, 2011

Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. has repeatedly stated its intent to continue to purchase assets to expand its ethanol and agribusiness segments. And, the company continues to follow through with that—most recently by executing an agreement to acquire grain elevator assets in Nebraska. "Acquiring facilities to increase our grain storage and merchandising capabilities is an important part of our diversification strategy going forward,” said Todd Becker, president and CEO. “Once this acquisition and expansion is completed, Green Plains will have 40 million bushels of grain storage capacity at 15 elevator locations in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee."

Green Plains Grain Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of GPRE, announced Dec. 19 that an agreement had been forged with KW Carter Company, doing business as JW Grain. The company has 1.9 million bushels of state-licensed grain storage located in St. Edward, Neb., about 40 miles from GPRE’s 100 MMgy Central City ethanol plant. The facilities are serviced by Nebraska Central Railroad and can load 25-car unit trains, the company said. GPRE expects to finalize the acquisition in 30 days and will then begin work on expanding the on-site grain storage capacity by up to one million bushels, in time for the 2012 harvest. "We continue to seek out opportunities to expand our agribusiness segment that can bring additional scale to our operations," Becker said.

Just a month ago, GPRE’s wholly-owned subsidiary BlendStar LLC added a tenth biofuels terminal location. The new terminal, located in Birmingham, Ala., has the ability to receive a full 96-car unit train of ethanol, which can be offloaded within 24 hours. 

GPRE finalized the purchase of its ninth ethanol plant in Fergus Falls, Minn., in early 2011. The year before it purchased the plants in Lakota, Iowa, and Riga, Mich. Between August 2007 and November 2008 the company started producing ethanol at four plants, which it built. Since that time the company has acquired a total of five ethanol plants out of bankruptcy.