Pacific Ethanol Closes Transactions to Improve Plant Debt Position and Increase Plant Ownership to 80%

Pacific Ethanol Closes Transactions to Improve Plant Debt Position and
Increase Plant Ownership to 80%

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacific Ethanol, Inc.
(Nasdaq:PEIX), the leading marketer and producer of low-carbon renewable fuels
in the Western United States, has closed agreements to increase its ownership
interest in the Pacific Ethanol plants and improve their debt position.

Under the terms of the agreements, the company purchased $21.54 million of
secured term debt of the Pacific Ethanol plants and extended the maturity date
of the purchased term debt from June 2013 to June 2016. The transactions also
extend the maturity of the Pacific Ethanol plants' $10.0 million secured
revolving credit facility from June 2013 to June 2015.

The company also purchased an additional 13% ownership interest in New PE
Holdco LLC, the entity that owns the Pacific Ethanol plants, for $1.3 million,
increasing the company's equity ownership to 80%. To fund these transactions,
the company issued $22.2 million of senior unsecured notes, and five-year
warrants to purchase an aggregate of 25.6 million shares of the company's
common stock.

Lazard Capital Markets LLC served as the sole placement agent in the current
transaction. Further details are available in the company's Form 8-K to be
filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About Pacific Ethanol, Inc.

Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (Nasdaq:PEIX) is the leading marketer and producer of
low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western United States. Pacific Ethanol also
sells co-products, including wet distillers grain ("WDG"), a nutritional
animal feed. Serving integrated oil companies and gasoline marketers who blend
ethanol into gasoline, Pacific Ethanol provides transportation, storage and
delivery of ethanol through third-party service providers in the Western
United States, primarily in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon,
Colorado, Idaho and Washington. Pacific Ethanol has an 80% ownership interest
in New PE Holdco LLC, the owner of four ethanol production facilities. Pacific
Ethanol operates and manages the four ethanol production facilities, which
have a combined annual production capacity of 200 million gallons. The
facilities in operation are located in Boardman, Oregon, Burley, Idaho and
Stockton, California, and one idled facility is located in Madera, California.
The facilities are near their respective fuel and feed customers, offering
significant timing, transportation cost and logistical advantages. Pacific
Ethanol's subsidiary, Kinergy Marketing LLC, markets ethanol from Pacific
Ethanol's managed plants and from other third-party production facilities, and
another subsidiary, Pacific Ag. Products, LLC, markets WDG. For more
information please visit www.pacificethanol.net.

The Pacific Ethanol, Inc. logo is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=5940

CONTACT: Company IR Contact:
         Pacific Ethanol, Inc.
         916-403-2755
         866-508-4969
         Investorrelations@pacificethanol.net
        
         IR Agency Contact:
         Becky Herrick
         LHA
         415-433-3777
        
         Media Contact:
         Paul Koehler
         Pacific Ethanol, Inc.
         503-235-8241
         paulk@pacificethanol.net

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