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Originally published October 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Imperium Renewables fueled by $18 million

Imperium Renewables raised more than $18 million last month when existing backers bought more stock to help the company repay some of its debt and get back on its feet.

Seattle Times business reporter

Imperium Renewables raised more than $18 million last month when existing backers bought more stock to help the company repay some of its debt and get back on its feet.

The Seattle-based biodiesel maker announced the infusion early this month but didn't disclose the amount, which is contained in a document recently filed with federal regulators. The company has not disclosed its debts, but in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last September it said it had a $41 million term loan and a $60 million revolving credit facility with the French bank Société Générale.

The 13 investors participating in Imperium's latest offering put in $18.3 million; the recent filing indicated the total could reach $21.5 million.

Investors in Imperium include BlackRock Investment Management, Evans Renewable Holdings, Pacific Sequoia Holdings and the Seattle City Employees Retirement System.

Imperium, which operates one of the largest biodiesel facilities in the U.S., said in early October that most of the money would be used to repay some debt, and was seeking to restructure the remaining portion. Chief Executive John Plaza said in a statement that he hoped the recapitalization would help the firm "resume operations as soon as possible."

Like many biodiesel makers around the country, the company's finances have been squeezed by the skyrocketing cost of raw materials and a weak market for their product.

Imperium, which had raised $213 million in equity and debt, cancelled a planned $345 million initial public offering early this year and laid off many of its workers. For several months Imperium exported the majority of its biodiesel output to Europe, where demand was stronger.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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