Alto reports progress with high-protein, corn oil initiatives

By Erin Voegele | November 11, 2021

Alto Ingredients Inc. CEO Mike Kandris discussed the recent sale of the company’s Stockton, California, ethanol plant and ongoing work to expand the company’s essential ingredients business during a third quarter earnings call, held Nov. 9.

According to Kandris, Alto Ingredients launched its first dry mill enhanced protein project in September with the installation of Harvesting Technology’s CoPromax system at the company’s ethanol plant in Magic Valley, Idaho. He said the Magic Valley facility was selected for installation of the technology due to its advantaged and proximate location to nearby cattle, poultry, pork and aquaculture markets. The Magic Valley plant is expected to resume production by year-end and commission the new protein system in the first half of 2022, Kandris said.

Upon completion, the CoPromax system at Magic Valley is expected to produce more than 33,000 tons of feed annually with protein content of greater than 50 percent. The system will also increase corn oil yields by 50 percent to nearly 9 million pounds annually.

Following the successful completion of the CoPromax system at Magic Valley, Kandris said the company expects to roll the technology out at its other three dry mills.

According to Kandris, Alto Ingredients also completed its yeast expansion project in the third quarter, with the additional yeast production fully contracted through next year. Feed dryer upgrades are expected to be complete by the end of the year, he added. In addition, the company has finished expanding the capacity of its corn oil production at the wet mill in Pekin, Illinois, and is working to extend the certifications obtained at the end of 2020 from its ICP distillery to the Pekin wet mill.

Regarding the company’s business in the sanitizer and disinfectant markets, Kandris said Alto Ingredients expects to see continued volatility in the foreseeable future. The company, however, also expects a more stable, new demand-supply equilibrium will be achieved as COVID-19 impacts dissipate. In addition, Kandris said he expects to see an increase in fixed-price contracted specialty alcohol sales and growing specially alcohol exports.

Kandris also briefly discussed the sale of the company’s Stockton, California, ethanol plant to Pelican Acquisition LLC for $24 million in cash. Alto Ingredients also sold its ethanol plant in Madera, California, earlier this year. That facility was sold to Seaboard Energy California LLC for $19.5 million in cash proceeds and an additional $8.8 million in assumption of liabilities. Kandris said the sales complete the realignment of Alto Ingredients’ fuel-grade ethanol production, which the company began nearly two years ago.

Alto Ingredients reported $305.6 million in net sales for the third quarter, up from $204.7 million reported for the same period of last year. Gross loss was $3.4 million, compared to a gross profit of $20.9 million. Operating loss was $8.9 million, compared to operating income of $26.3 million. Net loss available to common stockholder was $3.5 million, or 5 cents per share, for the third quarter, compared to net income of $14.9 million, or 24 center per diluted share, for the same period of last year. Adjusted EBITDA was $3 million, compared to $34.1 million.