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Valero completes VeraSun takeover

By Staff | Apr 3, 2009

Valero formally completeD its takeover of the VeraSun plant west of Fort Dodge Wednesday.

A new name will not mean deviating from business as usual at an ethanol plant west of Fort Dodge.

Valero Renewable Energy will formally take possession of the former VeraSun plant today – as part of a $477 million, biofuel buyout approved March 18 in a Delaware bankruptcy court in which Valero purchased seven ethanol plants and a development site.

The San Antonio, Texas-based Valero operates petroleum refinery facilities on the Gulf, East Coast and West Coast, and is a large purchaser of ethanol. With the acquisition of the former VeraSun properties, Valero plans to produce its own ethanol supply, said Bill Day, Valero’s director of media relations.

“Our plans are to operate the plants at capacity,” said Day.

The Fort Dodge plant has the capacity to produce 110 million gallons of ethanol per year using 39 million bushels of corn.

Other than a new sign off Iowa Highway 7, the plant will see no noticeable changes, said Day.

The existing work force, which included 53 employees at the time of VeraSun’s bankruptcy, will operate the plant, Day said.

“We have been in Fort Dodge speaking with employees of the plant,” he said. “We want to keep operations running real smoothly.”

Yet to be determined is the procurement process for corn to be used in production, Day said..

“We’ve started talking with producers,” he said.

VeraSun declared bankruptcy on Oct. 31, 2008, after posting losses of more than $476 million in the wake of plummeting corn prices that left the company holding contracts for corn at above market prices.

For Valero, which operates thousands of gas stations in North America, the VeraSun plant acquisitions might be the first step toward entering the state’s retail fuel market, Day said.

Contact Jesse Helling at 9515) 573-2141 or jhelling@messengernews.net

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