Abengoa reports top year for biofuel business

By Anna Simet | February 24, 2015

Abengoa’s biofuels segment experienced the best year in its history in 2014, company CEO Manuel Sánchez Ortega reported during the company’s 2014 fiscal year results, attributing growth to very high margins and increased production and sales of ethanol.

Abengoa grew revenues by five percent in its biofuels segment in a strong Q4 2014, Ortega said. “But most importantly, our EBITA reached 271 million euros for 2014, growing 13 percent year-over-year with a margin of 12.7 percent.”

Ortega said the strong performance was due to expansion in the U.S., and extremely good performance of plants in Brazil. “The good performance was also due in part to the diversification we have, not only in different markets in U.S., Europe and Brazil, but also in products we have invested in the last year,” he said. “We have increased production of ethanol to reach more than [2.5 billion] liters, and also increased production of sugar, DDGS, electricity, and, most important, increased production of corn oil.”

Corn oil production marks an important step for the company, he said, as it gives Abengoa more resilience and diversification of products in its biofuels business. He added that corn oil production will occur at the company’s York, Nebraska, cellulosic ethanol pilot facility this year, and further growth in corn oil production through 2015 can be expected.

The company’s commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton, Kansas, is continuing the ramp-up process, according to Ortega. “At this moment, we are solving some mechanical problems we’re finding as we operate, and we expect to continue to increase production levels during the following weeks.”

Out of the company’s current €8.1 billion ($9.19 billion) worth of assets, €2.6 billion are in bioenergy.