Pacific Ethanol to change name to reflect pivot away from fuel ethanol

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pacific Ethanol Inc PEIX.O will change its name to reflect its focus on specialty alcohols used in alcoholic beverages and sanitizers rather than on fuel ethanol, the company said on Monday.

Pacific has increased production of specialty alcohol for consumer products over the past nine months, it said, as the coronavirus pandemic has boosted demand for hand sanitizer and other products that promote hand hygiene.

The pandemic, meanwhile, has weighed on fuel demand because of government-imposed travel restrictions and remote working.

“The decision to rename our company is part of our transition from a transportation fuels-focused business to a consumer products and ingredients-focused business and reflects the fact that specialty alcohols used in consumer products are now the largest contributor to our revenues,” Chief Executive Mike Kandris said in a statement.

The company did not disclose a new name in its announcement.

The rebranding follows decisions from other ethanol companies to make longer-term investments in hand sanitizer production.

Pacific will sell or repurpose idled facilities including its Magic Valley, Stockton and Madera fuel-grade ethanol distilleries.

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by David Goodman