Hedge fund manager David Einhorn has raised his stake in BioFuel Energy Corp. (NASDAQ: BIOF), a producer and seller of ethanol and its co-products.
In a regulatory filing made last week, Einhorn reported a 36.2% stake in BIOF. This is up from a stake of 25.5% reported by Einhorn at the end of the second quarter of 2012.
BIOF shares surged on Friday following the disclosure from Einhorn. However, BIOF has had a tough year so far. Year-to-date, the stock is down more than 67%.
Einhornâ€™s confidence in BIOF comes as a bit of a surprise, considering that ethanol producers are facing margin pressure due to lower supplies and higher prices for corn. Corn prices have surged due to the worst U.S. drought in half a century.
Last month, BioFuel Energy had reported a net loss of $12.4 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2012, up from a net loss of $8.3 million reported for the same period in the previous year. The company reported revenue of $122.8 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2012, compared to revenue of $168.5 million reported for the same period in the previous year. BIOFâ€™s operating loss for the second quarter of 2012 was $10.7 million.
Scott H. Pearce, President and CEO of BioFuel Energy, last month said that BIOF continued to face a challenging commodity margin environment, particularly the corn-ethanol crush spread. Pearce noted that the industry continued to overproduce well into the quarter, although the company has lately seen some meaningful pull back in production. Pearce said that BIOF again produced fewer gallons year over year as it pared back production to optimize the margin realized.
Commenting on the U.S. drought, Pearce said that he believes that the crops in the immediate vicinity of BIOFâ€™s locations are doing quite well in comparison to other regions in the corn belt and the company does not expect any material interruption of supply.