A US bankruptcy court gave the green light on 31 August for Spanish engineering and renewable energy producer Abengoa SA to sell five US ethanol plants for US$355.5M.

Abengoa started insolvency proceedings in November last year and is selling its non-core assets – including all its first-generation biofuel plants – as part of a restructuring to avoid bankruptcy, in order to focus on engineering and construction activities.

It held an auction on 22 August to sell five US ethanol facilities, with Green Plains Inc successfully bidding US$237M for three plants in Madison, Illinois; Mount Vernon, Indiana; and York, Nebraska, with a combined production capacity of 236M gallons/year.

Once its acquisitions are complete, Green Plains will own 17 dry mill ethanol facilities with combined production capacity of nearly 1.5bn gallons/year.

KAAPA Ethanol LLC will buy Abengoa’s ethanol facility in Ravenna, Nebraska for US$115M, while ICM Inc will purchase a plant in Colwich, Nebraska for US$3.15M.

On 16 August, Abengoa presented an updated restructuring plan including US$1.3bn in new loans and €307M of bonding lines to enable it to “reinitiate normalised operations”. Seventy-five percent of its creditors must approve the plan before 28 October if it is to avoid becoming Spain’s largest ever bankruptcy.

Abengoa has agreed to sell its largest European facility – a 577,000m3/year plant in Rotterdam – to Brussels-based ethanol production and trading company Alcogroup and its partners.

It still has two ethanol plants running in Spain in Cartagena and La Coruña and one in the Lacq region of France, according to Platts. Its 240,000m3/year ethanol plant in Spain’s Salamanca is currently closed.