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KiOR idles Lowndes Co. plant

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm •  Published: March 18, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Alternative-fuel manufacturer KiOR Inc. is idling its $225 million plant in Lowndes County while it tries to raise money for more research and plant improvements, but is warning that it could default on its debts and file for bankruptcy as early as April 1 if unsuccessful.

The disclosure came in the company's end-of-the-year financial filing Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In that filing, KiOR said a twin plant announced for Lowndes County will not occur until late 2015 — if at all.

KiOR, of Pasadena, Texas, said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed information Jan. 28 about the status of the Columbus plant and biofuel output projections as part of an investigation.

The state of Mississippi loaned KiOR $75 million to help its startup, one of a number of investments made by Gov. Haley Barbour's administration in alternative-energy companies. KiOR has been making scheduled payments on the loan, but still owes $69.4 million.

Jeff Rent, a spokesman for the Mississippi Development Authority, said the state is meeting with KiOR and watching the situation. If the company were to file bankruptcy or default, the state would be the first creditor in line, and could seize the company's plant.

It's not clear how much the facility would be worth, though. In the stock filing, KiOR wrote down the value of its Columbus facility by $185 million and the value of design costs for a planned Natchez refinery by $11.3 million. The company said the remaining value of its assets is $86 million.

As of Feb. 28, KiOR said its debts totaled $279.5 million, including $203.3 million owed to others.

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