NTR to Reduce Stake in Ethanol Maker Green Plains to 3.5 Percent

NTR Plc, an Irish developer of power and waste projects, plans to reduce its stake in U.S. ethanol producer Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. (GPRE) to 3.5 percent from 23 percent.

NTR, the largest shareholder in Green Plains, will sell 3.7 million shares back to the company at an undisclosed price, according to a statement today from the ethanol producer. The buyback is contingent on completion of a public offering by underwriter Jefferies & Co. Inc. of an additional 3 million of NTR’s Green Plains shares.

Green Plains, based in Omaha, Nebraska, fell 3.5 percent today to close at $11.35 in New York.

NTR would own 1 million Green Plains shares following the deal, if Jefferies also exercises its 30-day option to buy as many as 450,000 additional shares, reducing its stake to about 3.5 percent, according to the statement.

The deal follows a similar one in April, whereby NTR agreed to sell a third of its stake in Green Plains back to the company for $28 million, or $8 a share.

NTR in August wrote off its investments in solar thermal energy, incurring a 42.4 million euro ($56.5 million) charge for manufacturer Stirling Energy Systems and U.S.-based development arm Tessera Solar. It revived last month a plan to sell its Greenstar Ireland waste unit for as much as 150 million euros.

Green Plains will purchase 1 million of the shares from NTR with cash and issue a one-year, 5 percent note for the remaining 2.7 million shares, it said today in a filing. The buyback is expected to close three days after completion of the offering.

Upon completion of the deal, NTR Chief Executive Officer Michael McNicholas will resign from Green Plains’ board.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Herndon in San Francisco at aherndon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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