Valero restarts Indiana ethanol plant, citing improved margins

CHICAGO, March 22 Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:27pm EDT

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CHICAGO, March 22 (Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp said it has resumed production at an ethanol plant in Linden, Indiana, the last of several plants that the company idled in 2012 due to poor margins.

The company began the process of restarting the plant on Thursday, Valero spokesman Bill Day said in an e-mail.

"Improved margins have allowed the plant to be operated profitably, which led to the restart," Day said. All employees at the Linden facility kept their jobs during the shutdown, he added.

Spot corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade settled Friday at $7.26-1/4 per bushel, down 14 percent from an all-time high of $8.43-3/4 that was set last August amid the worst U.S. drought in half a century.

Corn is the primary feedstock for U.S. ethanol makers, and the setback in price has helped curb their costs.

Operations resumed at a Valero facility in Bloomingburg, Ohio, in early March and a plant in Albion, Nebraska, was restarted last month. With the restart of the Linden, Indiana, plant, all 10 of Valero's U.S. ethanol facilities are online.

Each of those three plants has an annual capacity of 110 million gallons of ethanol.

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