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WestLB Closes USD 325 Million Senior Secured Credit Facility For Pacific Ethanol

A Pacific Ethanol processing plant.
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Mar 20, 2007
WestLB's Global Energy Group has successfully closed a USD 325 million senior secured credit facility for Pacific Ethanol, Inc., the largest West Coast-based marketer and producer of ethanol and a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ Global Market. WestLB acted as the sole book runner, lead arranger and administrative agent.

The facility is the first widely syndicated owner-construct financing in the ethanol industry and allows Pacific Ethanol to act as its own construction contractor, which is expected to provide lower construction costs and shorter time to market.

The financing is for the construction and operation of Pacific Ethanol's first five plants, all of which will be located in the Western United States.

The facility consists of a USD 300 million senior secured construction and term loan, and a USD 25 million working capital letter of credit facility to finance a portfolio of five ethanol plants.

"WestLB has successfully syndicated over USD 1.5 billion in ethanol financing in the past 18 months and is committed to delivering the best financial solutions in this sector," said Tom Murray, Global Head of Energy.

"WestLB is pleased to partner with high end companies like Pacific Ethanol that have intelligent and successful strategic growth plans in place within the ethanol sector."

Pacific Ethanol has an operational ethanol plant in Madera, California, two additional plants under construction in Boardman, Oregon, and Burley, Idaho, and owns a 42% interest in Front Range Energy, LLC, which owns an ethanol plant in Windsor, Colorado.

Central to its growth strategy is its destination business model, whereby each respective ethanol plant achieves lower process and transportation costs by servicing local markets for both fuel and feed.

In May 2006, Pacific Ethanol completed an equity funding of USD 138 million, which provided the Company with sufficient cash to both accelerate its stated goal of completing five ethanol production facilities totaling 220 million gallons of capacity per year by the middle of 2008 and expand its plans to complete additional ethanol production facilities, increasing total capacity to 420 million gallons per year by the end of 2010.

In addition, Pacific Ethanol is working to identify and develop other renewable fuel technologies such as cellulose-based ethanol production and bio-diesel.

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