What I Sold: Pacific Ethanol (NASD:PEIX)

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This entry continues a series on companies I sold as part of a portfolio cleanup prompted by the mess on Wall Street.  In the first entry I describe what I plan to do with the cash, and the second was about Carmanah Technologies.   UQM Technologies was one I didn’t sell.

In May of last year, I took a look at competitive forces in the corn ethanol industry.  While I was rather negative on the industry at the time, when ethanol stocks fell in the summer and fall of 2007, I called the bottom much too soon, and decided to dabble in the industry.  I thought that Pacific Ethanol’s (PEIX) strategy of arbitraging the costs of transporting corn vs. the costs of transporting ethanol and distillers dried grains would lend them some protection from industry overcapacity.  Whatever protection they might have had was not enough.  With current liabilities exceeding current assets, and operating cash flow from the last 6 months exceeding cash on hand, PEIX will probably need to raise new capital to stay afloat, something I doubt they can do on favorable terms in today’s climate.

DISCLOSURE: No position.

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