They came from near and far, but all 3,400-plus subscriptions in the recent Glacial Lakes Energy (GLE) ethanol offering came from South Dakota. GLE officially closed their equity offering on Aug. 29, raising $95 million during their three-day investment meeting run.
“It went incredibly well,” said Tom Branhan, CEO of GLE, of his cooperative’s success in raising the necessary capital to build two new South Dakota ethanol plants and expand the current Watertown, S.D.-based GLE to 100 million gallons per year (mgy). “We have over 3,400 investment subscriptions following our three-day equity drive. We took the risk that South Dakotans would support us and they came through.”
The minimum investment in South Dakota’s latest ethanol opportunity was $10,000 and with that minimum, participants are invested in the following:
· a new 100 mgy plant in Aberdeen;
· a new 50 mgy plant near Vermillion; and
· the expansion of GLE in Watertown to 100 mgy
Thousands showed up for the first equity meeting Aug. 22 in Watertown and the momentum continued through Friday. Branhan said that every qualified subscriber who had their application and money submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, was accepted.
“The fact that we set the minimum at $10,000, made it possible for nearly anyone who wanted to get in. We got investors that maybe would not have been able to invest at a higher level,” said Branhan. “Without knowing all the percentages, I would say the majority went with the minimum investment.”
Being a cooperative organization, GLE prides itself on maintaining a South Dakota-owned identity.
“We had the mentality of these being corn-grower invested, South Dakota-invested ethanol plants,” said Branhan. “We could have reached outside of South Dakota for investors or set the minimum higher but we saw this as a great opportunity for the 3,400 South Dakota investors who are now invested in these plants. We’re proud that we made that happen in South Dakota.”
Dirt work is set for this fall on the Aberdeen plant with Fagen, Inc. mobilizing for construction in early 2007. The plant is expected to be under construction for an estimated 14-18 months with start up in early-to-mid 2008. Dirt work is also scheduled to begin this fall on the Vermillion site with start up expected by early 2008. GLE, which is wholly owned by the Glacial Lakes Corn Processors (GLCP) cooperative, will be the owner and manager in the new plants.