Shares of GreenHunter Energy, the Grapevine, Texas-based owner of the world’s largest biodiesel refinery, debuted on the AMEX this week to a warm reception from investors, who pushed the company’s stock up from its $12 opening level to $15.10.
What started as a wind farm company, GreenHunter began a restructuring and acquisition spree in April of 2007 with the purchase of Channel Refining, which it renamed GreenHunter Biofuels. The company immediately began construction of a 105 million-gallon biodiesel plant near Houston, Texas, on former Channel land. Shortly thereafter, GreenHunter acquired an 18.5-megawatt biomass power plant in Imperial, Calif.
Then in June At the end of May, GreenHunter it bought said it would buy Orion Ethanol in a $150 million stock-for-stock deal, though the two subsequently agreed to terminate the deal the following month.
The sum total of all these moves is that the company has built a diverse portfolio of renewable energy interests ranging from biofuels to wind to biomass grid power generation, although they expect their biofuels business to be their “prime source” of revenue. Or at least that’s how they’ve drawn it up on paper, as few of GreenHunter’s projects are generating product yet.
GreenHunter first filed a prospectus (amended) back in August, despite 2007 revenues of about half a million dollars. They’re working with $83 million obtained in a credit agreement with the German bank, WestLB.
Investors seem to be betting that the company’s portfolio will come online over the next few years and create a formidable renewable energy enterprise. The challenge, obviously, will be actually hitting construction targets and getting their biodiesel, biomass, and wind plants online.
GreenHunter CEO Gary Evans has a long history in the energy business, having served for 20 years as the top man at Magnum Hunter Resources, a fossil fuels drilling and exploration company that was acquired by Cimarex through a $2.1 billion deal in 2005.