Ethanol plant formerly owned by Branson is sold

A renewable energy company that is building an ethanol plant in Bluffton has agreed to be sold to an Omaha, Neb., ethanol firm.

The acquisition of VBV LLC is valued at $383 million, the buyer, Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc., announced late yesterday.

VBV is a Delaware company owned by Ireland-based NTR plc and the Swiss investment group Wilon Holdings S.A. About a month ago, NTR and Wilon bought the stake in VBV owned by Richard Branson, the British billionaire who has attempted to fly around the world in a hot-air balloon.

In addition to the BioEnergy LLC plant in Bluffton, VBV is building an ethanol plant in Obion, Tenn. Both will have capacity to produce 110 million gallons a year when construction is completed this fall.

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