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Germany's biofuels producer Verbio posts record biodiesel production for 2017/18

London — German biofuels producer Verbio said Wednesday it posted record biodiesel production for the 2017/18 financial year.

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Biodiesel production amounted to 476,211 mt, surpassing the previous record year's production of 473,382 mt, set in 2016/17, the company said in its annual results published Wednesday. This came as production capacity utilization hit 101%.

Ethanol in comparison failed to post record levels, but still recorded strong results on the year, with 246,300 mt produced, down slightly from 248,755 mt a year ago.

In contrast, production of biomethane rose 8.8% year on year to 608 GWh.

"In addition to making further investment in the expansion of sterol production, Verbio concentrated on expanding and optimizing the existing biomethane plants - with a focus on the straw biomethane technology which is key for entering new markets in Asia and the USA," the company said.

The new biomethane plant, based in Pinnow, Germany, is currently close to completion, according to the report, with the aim previously established of bringing it online by the end of 2018.

Despite these strong production levels, there are concerns over the "uncertainty concerning possible competitive distortions resulting from imported biodiesel," it said.

These biodiesel imports in question have been flowing into Europe for just over a year, since antidumping duties on Argentinian biodiesel were initially scaled back in September 2017, opening the arbitrage for soy-based biodiesel to flow freely into Europe.

There were also removals of antidumping duties against Indonesia and Argentina in January which further facilitated biodiesel imports of both soy- and palm-based biodiesel into Europe, leaving prices bearish.

The European FAME 0 price fell over the course of the year to $868/mt FOB ARA Tuesday, from $920.50/mt FOB ARA a year ago, largely fueled by these increased imports, despite bullish gasoil as front-month ICE gasoil futures hit a near four-year high of $714.25/mt Tuesday, from $551.50/mt.

--George Griffiths, george.griffiths@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Fox, jonathan.fox@spglobal.com