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Global Clean Energy Acquires Spanish Camelina Oil Company

Torrance-based renewable fuels company Global Clean Energy Holdings Inc. on Jan. 3 announced it had acquired Madrid-based camelina oil producer Camelina Co. España for $8.24 million.

Global Clean Energy Holdings is developing a renewable fuels production chain that uses soybean, corn, camelina, food and grease waste and other biomaterial as feedstocks that it plans to turn into biodiesel, biopropane and other renewable fuels.

The company is converting a large oil refinery in Bakersfield that the company purchased in May 2020 for about $40 million to run on these feedstocks and produce the biofuels. The retooling is expected to cost about $360 million and be completed by the middle of this year, according to Global Clean Energy Chief Financial Officer Ralph Goehring.

The acquisition of Camelina Co. España, in a mostly stock deal that closed Dec. 29, gives Global Clean Energy access to both camelina oil feedstocks and the Madrid-based company’s technology to grow higher-yield camelina crops.

Camelina Co. España was founded in 2010 and has since emerged as one of the largest camelina producers in Europe, with ownership of nine separate camelina varieties.

Camelina is a flax-like crop native to regions around the Mediterranean Sea. While it has been used for millennia for the oil in its seeds, in recent decades, it has been increasingly used as feedstock for biofuel refineries that provide alternatives to carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Global Clean Energy Holdings — through its Great Falls, Mont., subsidiary Sustainable Oils — has been growing camelina crops in Montana for several years and conducting research into improving crop yields.

“The addition of CCE to our family of companies and its synergy with SusOils further advances our goal of increasing the commercial value of camelina through improved agronomics and plant genetics. Together, CCE and SusOils will build on our combined decades of camelina research and development activities that are focused on improving yield, reducing growing time, modifying plant oil chemistry to enhance biorefinery efficiency, and improving livestock feed qualities of camelina meal,” Richard Palmer, Global Clean Energy Holdings chief executive, said in the announcement. “This acquisition demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing both domestically and internationally in the science, infrastructure and farmer education necessary to deliver high-quality camelina feedstocks to satisfy the growing worldwide demand for renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels while not displacing food crops or impacting food security.”

Besides gaining access to Camelina Co. España’s production and research facilities, Palmer said in the announcement that the acquisition will also serve as a launching pad for Global Clean Energy Holdings’ expansion into the European market.
The company’s share price climbed 7% Jan. 4, the first full trading day after the announcement, to close at $5.25.

Howard Fine
Howard Fine
Howard Fine is a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Business Journal. He covers stories pertaining to healthcare, biomedicine, energy, engineering, construction, and infrastructure. He has won several awards, including Best Body of Work for a single reporter from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers and Distinguished Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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