The increase was attributable to increases in gallons sold from both production and third party sales, as well as a higher average ethanol sales price per gallon.
The company said, "our fourth quarter 2016 performance represents a strong close to a very productive year for Pacific Ethanol. We grew net sales by 17% and improved gross profit by $17.2 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. These results reflect the benefits of the acquisition and successful integration of our Midwest assets, and the incremental value we have generated through our efforts to optimize all of our plants. In addition, we successfully refinanced our term debt and improved liquidity during the fourth quarter, significantly lowering our cost of capital and accomplishing a major milestone for the company."
"The outlook for 2017 is encouraging. We expect ethanol demand to remain strong, supported by healthy exports and increasing gasoline demand. We also continue to evaluate growth opportunities such as plant investment initiatives that further optimize our production, lower our carbon score and produce high-value and near-term returns."
Pacific Ethanol is the leading producer and marketer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western United States. With the addition of four Midwestern ethanol plants in July 2015, we have expanded our operations and sales footprint, more than doubling our scale, entering new markets, and expanding our mission to become the industry leader in the production and marketing of low carbon renewable fuels.
Pacific Ethanol owns eight ethanol production facilities, four in the Western states of California, Oregon and Idaho, and four in the Midwestern states of Illinois and Nebraska. The plants have a combined production capacity of 515 million gallons per year, produce over 1 million tons per year of ethanol co-products such as wet and dry distiller grains, wet and dry corn gluten feed, condensed distillers solubles (CDS), corn gluten meal, corn germ, corn oil, distillers yeast and CO2.
The company is unique in operating ethanol plants in both the West and Midwest. The four Pacific Ethanol plants in the Western United States are located in close proximity to both feed and ethanol customers and thus enjoy unique advantages in efficiency, logistics and product pricing.
In 2016, between the low for the year hit in January and the high hit in December at $11/share, shares climbed 355%. Since that 2016 low in January, shares of PEIX are still up 275%. That's quite a run.