Pacific Ethanol Signs Agreements to Raise Up to $14.0 Million to Reduce Plant Debt and Acquire Additional Plant Ownership

Pacific Ethanol Signs Agreements to Raise Up to $14.0 Million to Reduce Plant
Debt and Acquire Additional Plant Ownership Interest

  *Enters into agreements to issue up to $14.0 million in subordinated
    convertible notes and acquire an additional 3% Plant interest, increasing
    ownership to 83%
  *$6.0 million of the financing to close within two business days subject to
    satisfaction of closing conditions and $8.0 million of the financing to
    close in June 2013 subject to satisfaction of closing conditions and
    stockholder approval
  *Net proceeds to be used to:

    *Purchase $6.6 million of Plant debt maturing in June 2013
    *Acquire an additional 3% Plant ownership interest
    *Purchase and retire $3.5 million of Plant debt maturing in 2016
    *Provide $2.0 million in cash reserves to Pacific Ethanol
    *Prepay a portion of senior unsecured notes
    *Increase plant liquidity and reduce interest expense

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacific Ethanol, Inc.
(Nasdaq:PEIX), the leading marketer and producer of low-carbon renewable fuels
in the Western United States, has entered into agreements to raise up to $14.0
million in two installments by issuing $6.0 million in subordinated
convertible Series A notes, together with Series A Warrants and Series B
Warrants ("Tranche A") and, subject to stockholder approval, an additional
$8.0 million in subordinated convertible Series B notes ("Tranche B"). The
company has also entered into agreements to, among other things, purchase
certain outstanding debt currently due in June 2013 ("June Debt"), retire debt
due in June 2016 ("2016 Debt") and prepay a portion of its senior unsecured
notes ("Senior Notes"), while lowering overall debt costs and improving cash
available to Pacific Ethanol.

Both the Tranche A and B notes (together, the "Notes") will mature one year
from the issuance of the Tranche A notes and will accrue interest at 5.00% per
annum from their respective dates of issuance. The Notes may be repaid, at the
company's election, in either cash or, subject to certain conditions, shares
of the company's common stock. The Notes are also convertible from time to
time, at the election of the holders, into shares of the company's common
stock at a conversion price of $1.00 per share. Warrants to purchase an
aggregate of 27,594,000 shares of the company's common stock will be issued
with the Notes and will have an initial exercise price of $0.52 per share,
representing a 50% premium to the closing bid price of the company's common
stock on March 27, 2013. The Series A Warrants will have a term of two years
from issuance and will be exercisable beginning one year from issuance. The
Series B Warrants to purchase 15,768,000 shares of Common Stock are subject to
stockholder approval of the Tranche B Notes, will have a term of two years
from such stockholder approval and will be exercisable beginning one year from
such stockholder approval. If such approval is not obtained, such warrants
will not be exercisable and will expire. The Notes and the Supplemental
Indentures relating to the Notes will include certain covenants, including,
among other, the punctual payment of principal and interest, certain
limitations on the incurrence of indebtedness, restrictions on the redemption
of outstanding securities, restrictions on the transfer of assets and
restrictions on the existence of liens on the company's assets.

Estimated net proceeds, after deducting placement agent fees, of $5.6 million
from the issuance and sale of the Tranche A notes and related Warrants are
expected to be used to (1) purchase approximately $2.6 million of June Debt
and an aggregate 3% additional ownership interest in the Pacific Ethanol
Plants from existing Plant lenders, for a total purchase price of $2.1
million; and (2) purchase and retire approximately $3.5 million of 2016 Debt
from existing Plant lenders at par. The company will also amend the purchased
June Debt to extend the debt's maturity date from June 25, 2013 to June 30,
2016.

Estimated net proceeds, after deducting placement agent fees and other
expenses in connection with the sale of the Notes, of $6.5 million from the
issuance and sale of the Tranche B notes and related Warrants, if approved by
the company's stockholders, are expected to be used to (1) purchase the
remaining $4.0 million of June Debt from existing Plant lenders at a price to
be negotiated; (2) fund $2.0 million in reserves at the parent; and (3) repay
a portion of the Senior Notes.

Upon the Tranche A closing, the Pacific Ethanol Plants will also obtain $5.0
million in further availability under an existing credit facility to provide
additional liquidity for operations.

The Tranche A and related transactions are subject to the satisfaction of
numerous closing conditions and are expected to close within two business
days. The Tranche B and related transactions are subject to the satisfaction
of numerous closing conditions, including stockholder approval, and are
expected to close in June 2013; however, there can be no assurance that the
closing conditions will be satisfied and the transactions will close. Lazard
Capital Markets LLC served as the sole placement agent for the Tranche A and
Tranche B transactions. Additional details are available in the company's Form
8-K, which is scheduled to be filed today with the Securities and Exchange
Commission ("SEC").

This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of
an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sales of these securities in any state
or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful
prior to registration or qualification under the securities law of any such
state or jurisdiction.A shelf registration statement relating to the notes
and warrants issued in the offering has been filed with and declared effective
by the SEC. A prospectus supplement relating to the offering will be filed
with the SEC. Copies of the prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus
may be obtained from the SEC's website at www.sec.gov.

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 nutritious 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.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995

With the exception of historical information, the matters discussed in this
press release including, without limitation, the ability of Pacific Ethanol to
continue as the leading marketer and producer of low-carbon renewable fuels in
the Western United States; the ability of Pacific Ethanol to timely close its
Tranche A and B note offerings and related transactions, which are subject to
numerous closing conditions, including, in the case of the Tranche B note
offering transaction, stockholder approval, on the proposed terms and
conditions; and the effects of the Tranche A and B note offerings and related
transactions are forward-looking statements and considerations that involve a
number of risks and uncertainties. The actual future results of Pacific
Ethanol could differ from those statements. Factors that could cause or
contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, adverse
economic and market conditions; changes in governmental regulations and
policies; and other events, factors and risks previously and from time to time
disclosed in Pacific Ethanol's filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission including, specifically, those factors set forth in the "Risk
Factors" section contained in Pacific Ethanol's Form 10-K filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on March 8, 2012 and Form 10-Q filed with
the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 14, 2012, as well as the
risk factors contained in the prospectus supplement relating to the above
described financing.

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.
         916-403-2790
         paulk@pacificethanol.net

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