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VeraSun Energy Corp., one of the nation's largest ethanol producers, saw solid gains in production and sales last year and for the quarter.
"Fiscal year 2007 included significant milestones for the company as we recorded more than $848 million [in] revenues in our fifth year of operations," said Don Endres, chairman and CEO of the Brookings, S.D.-based company.
"We significantly increased our production capacity while improving operating efficiencies. Our operating performance and safety record have been exceptional."
In the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2007, VeraSun produced 142.1 million gallons and sold 134.4 million gallons of ethanol, its highest level of output to date, with an average production rate of more than 105 percent of nameplate capacity for the year.
"During 2007, we strategically positioned the company to be one of the largest, low-cost producers and we remain confident that a strong foundation has been laid for our continued leadership in the biofuels industry," Endres said.
Total revenues for the quarter, which include revenue from the sale of ethanol, distillers grains and VE85, increased by $165.9 million, or 113 percent, to $312.4 million for the three months.
The increase in total revenues was primarily the result of a 131-percent increase in ethanol volume sold, partially offset by a decrease in average ethanol prices of 30 cents per gallon, or 14 percent, compared to the quarter the year before.
Ethanol production increased by 82.5 million gallons, or 138 percent, as a result of the added capacity from bringing the Charles City, Iowa, facility on-line in April, the Linden, Ind., facility on-line in August and the Albion, Neb., facility on-line in October.
Net sales from ethanol increased $125.6 million, or 99 percent, to $251.5 million for the three months. The average price of ethanol sold was $1.87 per gallon for the quarter, compared to $2.17 per gallon for the comparable period last year.
Net sales of VE85, VeraSun's branded E85 product, increased $3 million, or 166 percent, to $4.8 million for the quarter, primarily due to a 17 percent increase in the number of retail outlets selling the product.