Yet More Trouble In The US Ethanol Sector

It seems like hardly a month goes by without one or more US ethanol producer getting into trouble these days.

Hot favourites to be next through the door to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection are Aventine Renewable Energy. Aventine reportedly has a $15 million interest payment due on 1st April to its engineering and construction contractor, Kiewit Energy. The company says at the moment it doesn't have the capital to make the payment.

Unless and eleventh hour rabbit comes out of the hat via a refinancing package the company may be forced into chapter 11 protection.

“There is substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern,” the company said in its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We need additional financing or capital which may be unavailable or costly.”

And Aventine isn't the only alternative energy company in trouble. An auditor for cellulosic ethanol maker Verenium said in a filing Monday that the biofuels company may have to “curtail or cease operations” if it cannot raise additional capital.

With US companies dropping like flies, I wonder if there are any parallels to be drawn within our own European renewable fuels sector?