Metro-East News

Abengoa Bioenergy files for bankruptcy

The company that operates a nearly-brand new ethanol plant at America’s Central Port in Madison filed for bankruptcy in federal court in Missouri Wednesday.

Abengoa Bioenergy, which is based in Spain but has U.S. Headquarters in Chesterfield, Mo., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday.

Court papers showed the biofuel maker owes money to between 200 and 999 creditors and has between $1 billion and $10 billion in estimated assets.

Abengoa owes the most money—more than $1.45 billion in a single claim—to a bank in Spain.

Representatives at the Madison plant were not available to comment on what affects, if any, the bankruptcy will have on its employees. A spokesman at the Chesterfield, Mo. headquarters also was unavailable.

The Madison plant employs 60 people, according to Abengoa’s website. The facility takes in 825,000 tons of grain each year to produce 90 million gallons of fuel annually.

Barry Frazier, president of Center Ethanol Company, LLC in Sauget, said Wednesday evening the announcement of Abengoa’s bankruptcy was “not a surprise.”

“They’ve had some difficulties. Their parent company has had some difficulties,” Frazier said. He added that he believed the Abengoa bankruptcy was “an isolated case” and that he isn’t worried about the fate of his own company despite the recent plunge in fuel prices.