Pacific Ethanol, VeraSun Expansions May Cause Glut, Hurt Profit

New York [Bloomberg] Mark Oberle, chief financial officer of ethanol maker Corn Plus LLP, is sitting out his industry’s biggest building boom in a quarter century, and Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates may wish he’d done the same. Within two years, planned expansion by ethanol producers will push U.S. supplies past demand, according to Standard & Poor’s. “The danger of a glut is very real,” said J. Stephan Dolezalek, a partner at San Bruno, California-based VantagePoint Venture Partners, a venture capital firm with stakes in three Midwest distilleries. Overproduction may make investments such as Gates’s $84 million stake in Pacific Ethanol Inc., which hasn’t produced fuel yet, go sour. The same may be true for shares of VeraSun Energy Corp., which this week raised $419.8 million, more than expected, in its initial public offering.
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