A Ray of Hope for VeraSun

The ethanol outfit's fourth-quarter earnings beat the Street's gloomy forecast, and growing production volumes could boost profits further

There's a general expectation that ethanol producers will benefit from a fivefold increase in ethanol usage in the U.S. by 2022 mandated under the energy bill that President Bush signed into law in December, 2007. But concerns that supply will outstrip demand for the clean fuel additive in the more immediate future have recently weighed on the shares of companies such as VeraSun Energy (VSE).

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