Valero To Purchase 8 Ethanol Plants from Bankrupt VeraSun

Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE: VLO) announced that its bid to buy ethanol plants from VeraSun Energy Corporation (OTC BB: VSUNQ) has been accepted by the bankruptcy court overseeing the assets’ auction.

In addition to the five plants and a sixth site under development in Valero’s original bid, the bankruptcy court approved Valero’s purchase of two additional ethanol plants from VeraSun.

Together, the plants have an annual production capacity of 780 million gallons. The aggregate purchase price of $477 million represented approximately 30% of the plants’ replacement cost. The purchase price excludes working capital and inventory currently estimated at approximately $75 million.

As one of North America’s largest petroleum refining and marketing companies, Valero is a leading buyer of ethanol for blending in its gasoline, and its purchase of the plants will give Valero a dedicated supply of ethanol.

The purchase of the plants in the original bid–in Charles City, Fort Dodge and Hartley, Iowa; Aurora, S.D.; Welcome, Minn.; and the site under development in Reynolds, Ind.–is expected to close on April 1. The purchase of the additional plants–in Albion, Neb. and Albert City, Iowa–is expected to close shortly afterward, subject to regulatory approval. Valero plans to operate all of the plants through its subsidiaries.

“These are high-quality, relatively new assets in good locations for buying feedstocks,” said Valero Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Klesse. “We expect increases in the Renewable Fuels Standard to continue. We are also pleased to have such quality people join Valero.”

This is Valero’s initial entry into ethanol production, but it has made investments in other alternative energy companies in recent months. Valero has also completed the first phase of a wind farm near its McKee Refinery in the Texas Panhandle that when complete will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

In 2008, Valero established an Alternative Energy and Project Development Group to explore opportunities in alternative and renewable energy sources.

Valero Energy Corporation is a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio, with approximately 22,000 employees and 2008 revenues of $119 billion. The company owns and operates 16 refineries throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3 million barrels per day, making it the largest refiner in North America.

Valero is also one of the nation’s largest retail operators with approximately 5,800 retail and branded wholesale outlets in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean under various brand names including Valero, Diamond Shamrock, Shamrock, Ultramar, and Beacon.

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