Going Public

Renewable Energy Group moves toward initial public offering
By Erin Voegele | August 16, 2011

Ames, Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group Inc. has become the latest renewable fuels company to pursue a proposed public offering. On July 18, the company filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission.

Although REG is now in a quiet period and unable to comment on the action, information released by the company notes that USB Securities LLC and Piper Jaffray & Co. will be acting as joint book-running managers for the offering, and Nicolaus & Co. Inc. and Canaccord Genuity Inc. will be acting as co-managers. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not been determined.

According to REG’s SEC filings, the company currently operates six biodiesel plants with a combined annual production capacity of 212 MMgy. Five of those facilities are wholly-owned and one is leased. In 2010, REG sold nearly 68 million gallons of biodiesel, representing approximately 22 percent of the biodiesel produced in the U.S. during that time.

While many U.S. biodiesel producers scaled down operations in recent years, REG has continued to grow. In fact, the company’s SEC filings state that four of the six facilities currently operated by REG have been acquired since February 2010.

Approximately one week before announcing plans to go public, REG completed the purchase of a 30 MMgy biodiesel plant in Albert Lea, Minn. The former SoyMor Biodiesel LLC facility, which originally began operations in April 2005, was built and operated by REG. Work is currently underway to bring the idle plant back online. “That form of work takes some time and there can be some variables, but we’re already communicating to our customers that quite soon we will have product available there," said REG President Daniel Oh, following the acquisition announcement.

During the announcement of the Albert Lea plant acquisition, Oh was unable to comment on whether REG would pursue the purchase of additional biodiesel assets. He did note, however, that REG believes the biodiesel industry is doing well and is looking for opportunities to grow. The proposed public offering seems to an obvious step in that direction.

—Erin Voegele

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