Energy Business

Pacific Ethanol Torches Estimates on Higher Volume

Biofuel Cans
Source: Thinkstock
Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) reported fiscal fourth quarter and full-year 2014 earnings after markets closed on Wednesday afternoon. For the quarter, the ethanol fuel maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.41 on revenues of $256.15 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted diluted EPS of $0.79 on revenues of $215.29 million. Fourth-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.15 and $246.37 million in revenues.

For the full year Pacific Ethanol posted EPS of $2.64 on revenues of $1.11 billion compared with EPS of $0.16 and revenues of $908 million in 2013. Analysts were looking for $2.57 in EPS on revenues of $1.1 billion.

Quarterly net sales were up 19% which the company attributed to an increase in total gallons sold, slightly offset by a lower average selling price. Gross profit slipped from $21.6 million a year ago to $18.4 million which the company attributed to unusually high margins last year. Operating income fell from $17.2 million in the year ago quarter to $13.6 million. On a GAAP basis, quarterly EPS totaled $0.50.

The company did not offer guidance but consensus estimates for the first quarter call for EPS of $0.26 on revenues of $243.4 million. For the full-year analysts expect EPS of $1.59 on revenues of $1.18 billion.

Ethanol production gallons sold in the fourth quarter totaled 50.4 million, up from 40.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Third-party gallons sold totaled 84.2 million, up from 66.5 million a year ago. The bad news is that the sales price fell from $2.36 a gallon to $2.15 a gallon. The average price per gallon of ethanol for the year came to $2.48, down from last year’s average price of $2.59.

Pacific Ethanol expects to complete its acquisition of Aventine this year to become the country’s fifth largest ethanol producer and marketer.

Pacific Ethanol’s shares traded up more than 10% at $10.20 in after-hours trading, in a 52-week range of $7.51 to $23.97. The consensus price target for the shares was $18.88 before today’s report.

ALSO READ: Cities with the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment