Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2019
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Organization and Business

Organization and Business – The consolidated financial statements include, for all periods presented, the accounts of Pacific Ethanol, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Pacific Ethanol”), and its direct and indirect subsidiaries (collectively, the “Company”), including its subsidiaries, Kinergy Marketing LLC, an Oregon limited liability company (“Kinergy”), Pacific Ag. Products, LLC, a California limited liability company (“PAP”), PE Op Co., a Delaware corporation (“PE Op Co.”) and all nine of the Company’s ethanol production facilities.


The Company is a leading producer and marketer of low-carbon renewable fuels in the United States.


The Company’s four ethanol plants in the Western United States (together with their respective holding companies, the “Pacific Ethanol West Plants”) are located in close proximity to both feed and ethanol customers and thus enjoy unique advantages in efficiency, logistics and product pricing.


The Company’s five ethanol plants in the Midwest (together with their respective holding companies, the “Pacific Ethanol Central Plants”) are located in the heart of the Corn Belt, benefit from low-cost and abundant feedstock production and allow for access to many additional domestic markets. In addition, the Company’s ability to load unit trains from these facilities in the Midwest allows for greater access to international markets.


The Company has a combined production capacity of 605 million gallons per year, markets, on an annualized basis, nearly 1.0 billion gallons of ethanol and specialty alcohols, and produces, on an annualized basis, nearly 3.0 million tons of co-products on a dry matter basis, such as wet and dry distillers grains, wet and dry corn gluten feed, condensed distillers solubles, corn gluten meal, corn germ, dried yeast and CO2.


As of September 30, 2019, all but one of the Company’s production facilities, specifically, the Company’s Aurora East facility, were operating. As market conditions change, the Company may increase, decrease or idle production at one or more operating facilities or resume operations at any idled facility.

Basis of Presentation-Interim Financial Statements

Basis of PresentationInterim Financial Statements – The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements and related notes have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States for interim financial information and the instructions to Form 10-Q and Rule 10-01 of Regulation S-X. Results for interim periods should not be considered indicative of results for a full year. These interim consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes contained in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. The accounting policies used in preparing these consolidated financial statements are the same as those described in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, with the exception of new lease accounting, as discussed further below. In the opinion of management, all adjustments (consisting of normal recurring adjustments) considered necessary for a fair statement of the results for interim periods have been included. All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.


Liquidity – The accompanying consolidated financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. The Company and the ethanol industry as a whole experienced significant adverse conditions throughout most of 2018 and 2019 as a result of industry-wide record low ethanol prices due to reduced demand and high industry inventory levels. These factors resulted in prolonged negative operating margins, significantly lower cash flow from operations and substantial net losses. In response to the low-margin environment, the Company has pursued strategic initiatives focused on the potential sale of certain production assets, a reduction of its debt levels, a strengthening of its cash and liquidity position, and opportunities for strategic partnerships and capital raising activities, positioning the Company to optimize its business performance. The most significant challenges to the Company in meeting these objectives would be a sustained adverse margin environment and insufficient cash flows to make its scheduled debt payments.


In implementing these strategic initiatives, the Company, as of September 30, 2019, had the following available liquidity and capital resources to achieve its objectives:


Cash of $18.9 million and excess availability under Kinergy's line of credit of $2.2 million; and


Nine ethanol production facilities with an aggregate of 605 million gallons of annual production capacity, of which plant assets representing 355 million gallons of capacity are either unencumbered, or their entire sales proceeds would be used to repay the Company's senior secured notes. The Company has engaged a financial advisor to help market certain of these assets.


The Company will likely not have sufficient cash to make its short-term scheduled debt payments, and is working on extensions with its lenders. While the lenders are secured by certain plant assets, the Company believes it has other unencumbered assets that may be used to satisfy the lenders. The Company continues working on a comprehensive long-term solution with its lenders to increase liquidity and extend the maturity dates of its debt.


The Company believes that its strategic initiatives, if implemented timely and on suitable terms, will provide sufficient liquidity to meet its anticipated working capital, debt service and other liquidity needs through at least the next twelve months.

Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts – Trade accounts receivable are presented at face value, net of the allowance for doubtful accounts. The Company sells ethanol to gasoline refining and distribution companies, sells distillers grains and other feed co-products to dairy operators and animal feedlots and sells corn oil to poultry and biodiesel customers generally without requiring collateral.


The Company maintains an allowance for doubtful accounts for balances that appear to have specific collection issues. The collection process is based on the age of the invoice and requires attempted contacts with the customer at specified intervals. If, after a specified number of days, the Company has been unsuccessful in its collection efforts, a bad debt allowance is recorded for the balance in question. Delinquent accounts receivable are charged against the allowance for doubtful accounts once uncollectibility has been determined. The factors considered in reaching this determination are the apparent financial condition of the customer and the Company’s success in contacting and negotiating with the customer. If the financial condition of the Company’s customers were to deteriorate, resulting in an impairment of ability to make payments, additional allowances may be required.


Of the accounts receivable balance, approximately $61,743,000 and $54,820,000 at September 30, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively, were used as collateral under Kinergy’s operating line of credit. The allowance for doubtful accounts was $39,000 and $12,000 as of September 30, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively. The Company recorded a bad debt expense of $0 and a bad debt recovery of $1,000 for the three months ended September 30, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The Company recorded a bad debt expense of $27,000 and $44,000 for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Financial Instruments

Financial Instruments – The carrying values of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable, accrued liabilities, derivative assets and derivative liabilities are reasonable estimates of their fair values because of the short maturity of these items. The Company believes the carrying value of its long-term debt approximates fair value because the interest rates on these instruments are variable, and are considered Level 2 fair value measurements.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

Recent Accounting Pronouncements – In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued new guidance on accounting for leases under Accounting Standards Codification 842 (“ASC 842”). Under the new guidance, lessees are required to recognize the following for all leases (with the exception of short-term leases) at the commencement date: (1) a lease liability, which is a lessee’s obligation to make lease payments arising from a lease, measured on a discounted cash flow basis; and (2) a “right of use” asset, which is an asset that represents the lessee’s right to use the specified asset for the lease term. Under the new guidance, lessor accounting is largely unchanged, with some minor exceptions. Lease expense under the new guidance is substantially the same as prior to the adoption. See Note 5 for further information.

Estimates and Assumptions

Estimates and Assumptions – The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Significant estimates are required as part of determining the allowance for doubtful accounts, net realizable value of inventory, estimated lives of property and equipment, long-lived asset impairments, valuation allowances on deferred income taxes and the potential outcome of future tax consequences of events recognized in the Company’s financial statements or tax returns, and the valuation of assets acquired and liabilities assumed as a result of business combinations. Actual results and outcomes may materially differ from management’s estimates and assumptions.