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Georgia firm to buy Sunoco LP’s Volney ethanol plant, add up to 100 jobs

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

VOLNEY, N.Y. — A Georgia firm has agreed to acquire and operate Sunoco LP’s (NYSE: SUN) corn ethanol plant and grain-malting operation at 376 Owens Road in the town of Volney.

Attis Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: ATIS) on Tuesday announced that it plans to pay $20 million in cash for the property. Its overall plan for the site includes adding up to 100 new jobs.

The plant, which produces 80 million gallons of ethanol annually, will become the “essential element” of Attis’ “expanding” technology portfolio as it develops the site into the “most comprehensive Green Tech campus for renewable fuels in the country,” the firm proclaimed in a news release.

Milton, Georgia–based Attis Industries describes itself as a “diversified innovation and technology holding company.” Attis’ management team has a “long-standing” relationship with Sunoco and the operational team in place at the Volney ethanol facility, per the release.

Attis Industries plan

Attis plans to spend $80 million to renovate the facility into a research and development campus for renewable fuels. As part of this plan, the company also expects to add up to 100 new high-paying, skilled jobs in the region.

The Volney plant currently has 75 employees and spans more than 90 acres, according to the plant’s page on the Sunoco ethanol website.

The deal also involves a 10-year agreement for Sunoco to purchase all ethanol produced at the facility, which Attis considers “the key to the success of this transaction.”

The improvements made at the facility over the next 24 months will transform the site into a renewable-energy campus.

The transaction is subject to regulatory clearances and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019. Attis expects to finance the transaction with “non-dilutive” financing.

For its part, Sunoco said in a separate news release that it expects to use the proceeds of the ethanol-plant sale to “repay indebtedness as it continues to maintain its targeted leverage ratio.”

“The acquisition of Sunoco’s Fulton ethanol plant is a significant step in Attis establishing a foothold in the renewable fuel space, while accessing the fourth largest gasoline market in the United States,” Jeff Cosman, CEO of Attis Industries, said in the release. “Attis’ familiarity with the facility as well as the progressive business environment in the state of New York provide us with a unique opportunity to transform an asset with incredible potential into an innovative campus for bio-based fuel that is consistent with our short and long-term growth strategy.”

Attis believes the demand for low-carbon energy sources will “continue to increase” in the coming years and Attis is “well positioned to be able to grow with that trend,” he added.

“The Fulton ethanol facility generates significant revenue for our growing company, it greatly changes the perspective of our investors in Attis and enables Attis to roll-out additional technology platforms under the innovations division to expand our revenue and cash flow projections over the next two years. Having an established asset like the Fulton, NY ethanol plant on the books allows us greater access to financing opportunities, as well as provides us with a shovel ready site to begin the development and commercialization of some of our previously announced technologies,” said Cosman.

1886 Malt House

Milton, Georgia–based Attis Industries Inc. (NASDAQ: ATIS) on Tuesday said it plans to pay $20 million to acquire the corn-ethanol plant and grain-malting operation from Sunoco LP (NYSE: SUN) at 376 Owens Road in Volney. The 1886 Malt House, which formally opened in the former Miller Brewing Company plant in Volney in November 2017, is part of the transaction, Attis said in a Tuesday news release. (2017 file photo provided by Empire State Development)

Included within the acquisition is the 1886 Malt House which is a direct beneficiary of incentives designed to promote the local farm to brewery industry.

The 1886 Malt House is located on the site of the Sunoco agri-business complex in Volney, per its website. Sunoco in 2015 announced the creation of the craft-malting facility co-located with the Sunoco ethanol plant, per the Sunoco ethanol website.

In 2013, New York created a farm-brewery law to provide licenses only to those farmers whose beer is made primarily from locally grown farm products, Attis said. Under this program, the Malt House will receive some tax-exempt status and contribute to the $4 billion per year craft-brewery business in the state of New York.

“The state of New York has continually demonstrated that it is a leader in green-business initiatives,” said Cosman. “Its continued focus on driving economic incentives for green projects while relentlessly focusing on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions make New York state an ideal location for Attis.”

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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