Southern Minn. ethanol plant may be sold

An ethanol company says it may sell a plant it owns in Fairmont, in southern Minnesota. It's the latest indication of the ethanol industry's financial troubles.

Denver-based BioFuel Energy shut down the plant last September when high corn prices made the facility unprofitable. The drought last year caused corn costs to spike, and made it too expensive to produce ethanol.

"When those corn prices rise that takes a big chunk out of the profitability for the plants," said Paula Emberland with the Willmar-based consulting firm Christianson and Associates. "That's about 85-90 percent of the plant's overall expense."

BioFuel Energy also owns an ethanol plant in Nebraska. The company says it's exploring selling one or both facilities.

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