Practice Areas & Industries: Husch Blackwell LLP


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Husch Blackwell has one of the leading biofuels practices in the country.  Members of our Biofuels team combine a broad array of energy, agribusiness, environmental, construction, project finance, tax and capital markets experiences to meet the specific needs and challenges of our biofuels clients.

We provide legal services to more than 30 biofuels projects, as well as a variety of investors, lenders, agricultural cooperatives, contractors, marketers and other industry participants.  Members of our Biofuels team advise grassroots biofuels developers on the full range of project planning, financing and operational needs, from planning to production and beyond.

Continuing our firm’s well-established history in the capital markets, we also provide a full range of SEC registration, Sarbanes-Oxley and listing compliance, and corporate governance services for public biofuels companies.

Our Practice

Our full array of services to our biofuels clients includes:

  • Development planning
  • Real estate
  • Environmental compliance, permitting and water rights
  • Construction contracts
  • Feedstock and offtake agreements
  • Rail and transportation logistics
  • Equity capital formation in private and public markets
  • SEC registration, compliance and corporate governance
  • Debt financing
  • Tax and tax structures
  • Tax credits and incentives
  • Joint ventures, acquisitions and dispositions

We are increasingly involved in evaluating emerging technological enhancements for the biofuels sector. Our ethanol clients are being presented with a wide array of energy saving, pollution reducing, co-product extension and efficiency-enhancing technologies. We are involved in all aspects of evaluating these technologies for our production and development clients. We also represent companies developing these technologies, as well as investors who are evaluating capital investment in this area.

Recent Experience

Our recent experience in the biofuels industry includes:

  • Representing a publicly traded, vertically integrated ethanol company that operates six ethanol plants capable of producing 480 million gallons per year (MGY) of ethanol and 1.5 million tons per year of distillers grains, as well as marketing an additional 360 MGY of ethanol third parties and blending/terminaling 495 MGY of fuels. Represent client with respect to SEC reporting, operations, and mergers and acquisitions.
  • Representing publicly traded, vertically integrated ethanol company in the bidding for multiple ethanol plants from Section 363 bankruptcy sales resulting in third quarter 2009 acquisition of two ethanol plants for $121 million (which had an original construction cost of over $300 million).
  • Representing a developer and operator of corn germ/oil-seed crush plant producing refined and processed corn oil for food processing and biodiesel projects. Representation includes negotiations with project lenders, vendors, service providers, feedstock providers and oil marketers.
  • Representing a public ethanol issuer with a 55 MGY ethanol plant in all aspects of finance and operations, including a $42.5 million Farm Credit System credit facility (lender selection, structuring closing, ongoing amendments), and provide representation on $9 million tax-increment financing. Provide ongoing representation on all environmental permitting matters related to plant construction and operations. Advised client in connection with final settlement of claims against construction contractor related to contracts in excess of $70 million for plant construction.
  • Representing a public ethanol issuer that operates a 100 MGY ethanol plant utilizing excess steam from adjacent coal-fired power generation plant with significant minority investment from international grain trading company. Represent client in all aspects of corporate governance, financing, SEC reporting, service providers, as well as environmental regulators regarding air and wastewater emissions, including amendments to $126 million credit facility and establishment of a $36 million bridge loan facility.
  • Representing an ethanol producer that includes a $20 million equity investment by an India-based company and a total of $110 million of long-term debt financing from a European banking group. Represent client in all negotiations with project lenders, vendors, service providers, feedstock providers and ethanol and distillers grain marketers, as well as environmental regulators regarding air and wastewater emissions and water use.
  • Structuring and managing the initial public offering of a renewable energy investment fund, anticipated to start with in excess of $100 million in capital.
  • Advising a developer of a cellulosic ethanol plant including financing, contracting with technology providers and licensing of specialty seed producers for production of cellulosic feedstocks.
  • Representing a national investment banking firm as that firm’s counsel in renewable fuels valuation/structuring assignments.
  • Representing a multi-plant ethanol company in the acquisition of grain elevators, a $50 million credit facility, and a merger with a large international biofuels investor.
  • Representing a large ethanol producer in evaluating and negotiating the acquisition of additional multi-plant ethanol producers.
  • Representing an early stage investment fund in negotiating second-round capital investment in advanced DDGS drying technology offering energy and pollution reduction and enhanced co-products.
  • Representing a borrower in connection with a $50 million credit facility from a Farm Credit System lender for a corn/milo ethanol project.
  • Participating in investment and real estate aspects of a joint venture to utilize an existing corn milling facility to house the development of a full-scale corn fractionization, ethanol production and biomass heat source system.
  • Representing one of the world’s major agriculture commodity companies with respect to multiple biodiesel and ethanol projects in numerous states, including construction, environmental and permit issues.
  • Representing a developer of multiple ethanol projects to include coal-fired energy and electric generation companion facilities.
  • Representing a public ethanol issuer in all aspects of finance and operations, including a $42.5 million Farm Credit System credit facility and $9 million tax-increment financing.
  • Representing a company formed to exploit micro-fine technology to enhance ethanol and co-product opportunities dramatically from multiple biomass feed stocks.
  • Representing a public ethanol issuer in all aspects of finance and operations, including a $125 million Farm Credit System credit facility and a $38 million bridge loan facility supported by letters of credit.
  • Representing an owner of a multiple ethanol facility project which will include a municipal waste bio-gas generation facility.
  • Advising a public company developing a closed-loop system processing animal waste to meet the power needs of a co-located ethanol plant and cheese plant.
  • Advising a developer of a multi-plant ethanol project in financial structuring including negotiations of a large investment by an Asian trading company.
  • Advising a developer of an alternative fuels plant utilizing animal fats and oils as a feedstock for biodiesel plants and an industrial fuel source.
  • Advising a farm group developing a bio-diesel plant utilizing animal fats as primary feedstock.
  • Representing a leading public ethanol company in contract and environmental matters.

Group Presentations
  Whose Data Is It Anyway? Metering and New Privacy Issues, February 17, 2011
The Law of Demand Response Conference, December 1, 2010