10-Q 1 cardinal10-qfqe3x31x18.htm CARDINAL ETHANOL 10-Q FQE 3-31-2018 Document

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-Q
 
x
Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
 
 
 
For the quarterly period ended March 31, 2018.
 
 
 
OR
 
 
o
Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
 
 
For the transition period from               to               .
 
 
COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 000-53036
 
CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Indiana
 
20-2327916
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
1554 N. County Road 600 E., Union City, IN 47390
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(765) 964-3137
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
x Yes     o No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
x Yes     o No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer" and "smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
Large Accelerated Filer o
Accelerated Filer  o
Non-Accelerated Filer x
Smaller Reporting Company o
 
Emerging Growth Company o
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
o Yes     x No

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer's classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date: 

As of May 8, 2018, there were 14,606 membership units outstanding.

1


INDEX



2


PART I        FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Item 1. Financial Statements

CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Condensed Balance Sheets
 ASSETS
March 31, 2018
 
September 30, 2017

 (Unaudited)
 

Current Assets

 

Cash
$
297,191

 
$
18,995,755

Restricted cash
1,517,714

 
401,406

Trade accounts receivable
13,914,867

 
15,006,093

Miscellaneous receivables
193,909

 
384,508

Inventories
30,289,718

 
14,604,975

Prepaid and other current assets
401,267

 
253,791

Commodity derivative instruments
317,209

 
492,842

Total current assets
46,931,875

 
50,139,370



 

Property, plant, and equipment, net
102,572,995

 
107,936,389



 

Other Assets

 

Investment
1,295,192

 
1,096,237

Total other assets
1,295,192

 
1,096,237



 

Total Assets
$
150,800,062

 
$
159,171,996

LIABILITIES AND MEMBERS' EQUITY
 
 
 

 
 

Current Liabilities

 

Checks written in excess of bank balances
$
2,920,987

 
$

Advances from Customers
891,427

 

Accounts payable
2,137,379

 
3,983,923

Accounts payable-grain
2,463,043

 
8,378,095

Accrued expenses
1,355,994

 
1,381,734

Commodity derivative instruments
383,158

 
513,829

Current maturities of long-term debt
4,404,752

 
3,749,826

Total current liabilities
14,556,740

 
18,007,407



 

Long-Term Debt, net of current maturities
15,570,715

 
14,581,758



 

Commitments and Contingencies

 



 

Members’ Equity

 

Members' contributions, net of cost of raising capital, 14,606 units authorized, issued and outstanding
70,912,213

 
70,912,213

Retained earnings
49,760,394

 
55,670,618

Total members' equity
120,672,607

 
126,582,831



 

Total Liabilities and Members’ Equity
$
150,800,062

 
$
159,171,996


Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements are an integral part of this Statement.

3



CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Condensed Statements of Operations (Unaudited)


Three Months Ended
 
Six Months Ended

March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
 
March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
 

 

 

 

Revenues
$
65,712,336

 
$
59,473,502

 
$
121,567,824

 
$
117,528,266



 

 
 
 
 
Cost of Goods Sold
62,569,584

 
55,018,000

 
115,023,721

 
104,468,176



 

 
 
 
 
Gross Profit
3,142,752

 
4,455,502

 
6,544,103

 
13,060,090



 

 
 
 
 
Operating Expenses
1,687,267

 
1,434,866

 
3,326,016

 
2,621,623



 

 
 
 
 
Operating Income
1,455,485

 
3,020,636

 
3,218,087

 
10,438,467



 

 
 
 
 
Other Income (Expense)

 

 
 
 
 
Interest expense
(236,627
)
 
(134,427
)
 
(425,493
)
 
(270,467
)
Miscellaneous income
30,011

 
15,089

 
60,782

 
31,335

Total
(206,616
)
 
(119,338
)
 
(364,711
)
 
(239,132
)


 

 
 
 
 
Net Income
$
1,248,869

 
$
2,901,298

 
$
2,853,376

 
$
10,199,335

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weight Average Units Outstanding - basic and diluted
14,606

 
14,606

 
14,606

 
14,606



 

 
 
 
 
Net Income Per Unit - basic and diluted
$
86

 
$
199

 
$
195

 
$
698

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Distributions Per Unit
$
200

 
$
200

 
$
600

 
$
800

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements are an integral part of this Statement.





4


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Condensed Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

Six Months Ended
 
Six Months Ended

March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
 

 

Cash Flows from Operating Activities
 
 
 
Net income
$
2,853,376

 
$
10,199,335

Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by (used in) operations:

 

Depreciation
5,799,420

 
5,142,156

Change in fair value of commodity derivative instruments
347,710

 
(2,034,778
)
Gain on sale of equipment
(9,561
)
 

Non-cash dividend income
(198,955
)
 
(157,986
)
Change in operating assets and liabilities:

 

Trade accounts receivables
1,091,226

 
(297,745
)
Miscellaneous receivable
190,599

 
(5,743
)
Inventories
(15,684,743
)
 
(8,021,612
)
Prepaid and other current assets
(147,476
)
 
(168,721
)
Commodity derivative instruments
(302,748
)
 
1,825,091

Advances from customers
891,427

 

Accounts payable
(1,846,544
)
 
1,132,791

Accounts payable-grain
(5,915,052
)
 
603,451

Accrued expenses
1,376,374

 
(733,262
)
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
(11,554,947
)
 
7,482,977



 

Cash Flows from Investing Activities

 

Capital expenditures
(1,749,054
)
 
(1,155,175
)
Payments for construction in progress
(89,525
)
 
(3,744,854
)
Proceeds from sale of equipment
10,000

 

   Net cash used for investing activities
(1,828,579
)
 
(4,900,029
)


 

Cash Flows from Financing Activities

 

Checks written in excess of bank balances
2,920,987

 

Distributions paid
(8,763,600
)
 
(11,684,799
)
Proceeds from long-term debt
12,020,863

 

Payments on long-term debt
(10,376,980
)
 
(1,428,519
)
Net cash used for financing activities
(4,198,730
)
 
(13,113,318
)


 

Net Decrease in Cash and Restricted Cash
(17,582,256
)
 
(10,530,370
)


 

Cash and Restricted Cash – Beginning of Period
19,397,161

 
24,462,911



 

Cash and Restricted Cash – End of Period
$
1,814,905

 
$
13,932,541


Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements are an integral part of this Statement.


5



CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Condensed Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

Six Months Ended
 
Six Months Ended

March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
Reconciliation of Cash and Restricted Cash
 
 
 
Cash - Balance Sheet
$
297,191

 
$
13,101,228

Restricted Cash - Balance Sheet
1,517,714

 
831,313

Cash and Restricted Cash
1,814,905


13,932,541

 
 
 
 
Supplemental Cash Flow Information

 

Interest paid
$
402,246

 
$
178,361



 

Supplemental Disclosure of Non-cash Investing and Financing Activities

 



 

     Construction in process included in accrued expenses and accounts payable
$
59,168

 
$
1,270,578


Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements are an integral part of this Statement.


6


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


1. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

The accompanying unaudited condensed financial statements have been prepared pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Certain information and footnote disclosures normally included in annual financial statements prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America have been condensed or omitted as permitted by such rules and regulations. These financial statements and related notes should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes thereto included in the Company's audited financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2017, contained in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K.

In the opinion of management, the interim condensed financial statements reflect all adjustments considered necessary for fair presentation.

Nature of Business

Cardinal Ethanol, LLC, (the “Company”) is an Indiana limited liability company currently producing fuel-grade ethanol, distillers grains, corn oil and carbon dioxide near Union City, Indiana and sells these products throughout the continental United States. During the quarters ended March 31, 2018 and 2017, the Company produced approximately 64,816,000 and 63,428,000 gallons of ethanol, respectively.

The company began procuring, holding, transporting and selling agricultural grain commodities during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2017.

Reportable Segments

Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 280, “Segment Reporting,” establishes the standards for reporting information about segments in financial statements. Operating segments are defined as components of an enterprise for which separate financial information is available that are evaluated regularly by the chief operating decision maker in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance.   Based on the related business nature and expected financial results criteria set forth in ASC 280, the Company has two reportable operating segments for financial reporting purposes.

Ethanol Production Division. Based on the nature of the products and production process and the expected financial results, the Company’s operations at its ethanol plant, including the production and sale of ethanol and its co-products, are aggregated into one financial reporting segment.

Trading Division. During 2017, the Company constructed a grain loading facility within our single site to buy, hold and sell inventories of agricultural grains, primarily soybeans. We perform no additional processing of these grains, unlike the corn inventory we hold and use in ethanol production. The activities of buying, selling and holding of grains other than for ethanol and co-product production comprise this financial reporting segment.

Accounting Estimates

Management uses estimates and assumptions in preparing these financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Those estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities, and the reported revenues and expenses. The Company uses estimates and assumptions in accounting for the following significant matters, among others; the useful lives of fixed assets, the valuation of basis and delay price contracts on corn purchases, derivatives, inventory, patronage dividends, long-lived assets and inventory purchase commitments. Actual results may differ from previously estimated amounts, and such differences may be material to the financial statements. The Company periodically reviews estimates and assumptions, and the effects of revisions are reflected in the period in which the revision is made.

Restricted Cash

As a part of its commodities hedging activities, the Company is required to maintain cash balances with our commodities trading companies for initial and maintenance margins on a per futures contract basis. Changes in the market value of contracts may increase these requirements. As the futures contracts expire, the margin requirements also expire. Accordingly, we record the

7


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


cash maintained with the traders in the margin accounts as restricted cash. Since this cash is immediately available to us upon request when there is a margin excess, we consider this restricted cash to be a current asset.

Trade Accounts Receivable

Credit terms are extended to customers in the normal course of business. The Company performs ongoing credit evaluations of
its customers' financial condition and, generally, requires no collateral. Accounts receivable are recorded at their estimated net
realizable value. Accounts are considered past due if payment is not made on a timely basis in accordance with the Company's
credit terms. Amounts considered uncollectible are written off. The Company's estimate of the allowance for doubtful accounts
is based on historical experience, its evaluation of the current status of receivables, and unusual circumstances, if any. At March 31, 2018 and September 30, 2017, the Company determined that an allowance for doubtful accounts was not necessary.

Inventories

Ethanol production division (see Reportable Segments) inventories consist of raw materials, work in process, finished goods and parts. Corn is the primary raw material. Finished goods consist of ethanol, dried distiller grains and corn oil. Inventories are stated at the lower of weighted average cost or net realizable value. Net realizable value is the estimated selling prices in the normal course of business, less reasonably predictable selling costs.

Trading division (see Reportable Segments) inventories consist of grain. Soybeans were the only grains held and traded at March 31, 2018. These inventories are stated at market value , which may include reductions for quality.

Property, Plant and Equipment

Property, plant, and equipment are stated at cost. Depreciation is provided over estimated useful lives by use of the straight line depreciation method. Maintenance and repairs are expensed as incurred; major improvements and betterments are capitalized. Construction in progress expenditures will be depreciated using the straight-line method over their estimated useful lives once the assets are placed into service.

Long-Lived Assets

The Company reviews its long-lived assets, such as property, plant and equipment and financing costs, subject to depreciation and amortization, for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. If circumstances require a long-lived asset be tested for possible impairment, the Company first compares undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated by an asset to the carrying value of the asset. If the carrying value of the long-lived asset is not recoverable on an undiscounted cash flow basis, impairment is recognized to the extent that the carrying value exceeds its fair value. Fair value is determined through various valuation techniques including discounted cash flow models, quoted market values and third-party independent appraisals, as considered necessary.

Investments

Investments consist of the capital stock and patron equities of the Company's distillers grains marketer. The investments are stated at the lower of cost or fair value and adjusted for non cash patronage equities received. Patronage dividends are recognized when received and included within revenue in the condensed statements of operations.

Revenue Recognition

The Ethanol Division generally sells ethanol and related products pursuant to marketing agreements. Revenues from the production of ethanol and the related products are recorded when the customer has taken title and assumed the risks and rewards of ownership, prices are fixed or determinable and collectability is reasonably assured. The Company believes that there are no ethanol sales, during any given month, which should be considered contingent and recorded as deferred revenue. The Company's products are sold Free on Board (FOB) shipping point.

In accordance with the Company's agreements for the marketing and sale of ethanol and related products, marketing fees, commissions and freight due to the marketers are deducted from the gross sales price at the time incurred. Revenue is recorded

8


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


net of these commissions and freight as they do not provide an identifiable benefit that is sufficiently separable from the sale of ethanol and related products.

The Trading Division buys, holds and sells inventories of agricultural grains, primarily soybeans, under contracts with other grain dealers or processors. Revenue is recognized when transportation and delivery has occurred under the terms of the sales agreement, the final price for the contract is fixed or determinable and collectability is reasonably assured.

Derivative Instruments

From time to time the Company enters into derivative transactions to hedge its exposures to commodity price fluctuations. The Company is required to record these derivatives in the balance sheet at fair value.

In order for a derivative to qualify as a hedge, specific criteria must be met and appropriate documentation maintained. Gains and losses from derivatives that do not qualify as hedges, or are undesignated, must be recognized immediately in earnings. If the derivative does qualify as a hedge, depending on the nature of the hedge, changes in the fair value of the derivative will be either offset against the change in fair value of the hedged assets, liabilities, or firm commitments through earnings or recognized in other comprehensive income until the hedged item is recognized in earnings. Changes in the fair value of undesignated derivatives are recorded in the statement of operations, depending on the item being hedged.

Additionally, the Company is required to evaluate its contracts to determine whether the contracts are derivatives. Certain contracts that literally meet the definition of a derivative may be exempted as “normal purchases or normal sales”. Normal purchases and normal sales are contracts that provide for the purchase or sale of something other than a financial instrument or derivative instrument that will be delivered in quantities expected to be used or sold over a reasonable period in the normal course of business. Contracts that meet the requirements of normal purchases or sales are documented as normal and exempted from accounting and reporting requirements, and therefore, are not marked to market in our financial statements.

The Company has elected for its Ethanol Division to apply the normal purchase normal sale exemption to all forward commodity contracts. For the Trading Division, the Company has elected not to apply the normal purchase normal sale exemption to its forward purchase and sales contracts and therefore marks these derivative instruments to market.

Net Income per Unit

Basic net income per unit is computed by dividing net income by the weighted average number of members' units outstanding during the period. Diluted net income per unit is computed by dividing net income by the weighted average number of members' units and members' unit equivalents outstanding during the period. There were no member unit equivalents outstanding during the periods presented; accordingly, the Company's basic and diluted net income per unit are the same.

Recently Issued or Adopted Accounting Pronouncements

Accounting for Leases (Evaluating)

In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which provides guidance for accounting for leases. The new guidance requires companies to recognize the assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by leased assets,initially measured at the present value of the lease payments. The accounting guidance for lessors is largely unchanged. The ASU is effective for the Company beginning in October 2019. It is to be adopted using a modified retrospective approach. The Company is currently evaluating the impact that the adoption of this guidance will have on the Company’s financial statements and anticipates the new guidance will significantly impact its financial statements given the Company has leased a significant number of rail cars for transporting Dried Distillers' Grains with Solubles (DDGS) to its ultimate customers.


9


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


Revenue Recognition (Evaluated)

In May 2014, and amended in August 2015, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09 which amended the Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) of the Accounting Standards
Codification. The core principle of the new guidance is that an entity should recognize revenue to reflect the transfer of goods and
services to customers in an amount equal to the consideration the entity receives or expects to receive. The guidance will be effective for the Company beginning in October 2018. We have evaluated the impact of the standard on the financial statements
and believe there will be no material effect except for additional disclosure.

2. CONCENTRATIONS

Two major customers accounted for approximately 93% of the outstanding accounts receivable balance at March 31, 2018 and 95% at September 30, 2017. These same two customers accounted for approximately 81% of revenue for the three and six month periods ended March 31, 2018 and 96% of revenue for the three and six month period ended March 31, 2017.

3.  INVENTORIES

Inventories consist of the following as of:

 
March 31, 2018 (Unaudited)
 
September 30, 2017
Ethanol Division:
 
 
 
 Raw materials
$
8,886,223

 
$
5,754,084

 Work in progress
1,216,272

 
1,354,346

 Finished goods
4,315,757

 
2,722,869

 Spare parts
2,980,988

 
2,633,371

Ethanol Division Subtotal
$
17,399,240

 
$
12,464,670

Trading Division:
 
 
 
Grain inventory
$
12,890,478

 
$
2,140,305

Trading Division Subtotal
$
12,890,478

 
$
2,140,305

Total Inventories
$
30,289,718

 
$
14,604,975


In the ordinary course of business, the Company enters into forward purchase contracts for its commodity purchases and sales. Certain contracts that literally meet the definition of a derivative may be exempted from derivative accounting as normal purchases or normal sales. At March 31, 2018, the Company had forward corn purchase contracts at various fixed prices for various delivery periods through December 2019 for approximately 6.2% of expected production needs for the next 16 months. Approximately 5.3% of the forward corn purchases were with related parties. Given the uncertainty of future ethanol and corn prices, the Company could incur a loss on the outstanding corn purchase contracts in future periods. Management has evaluated these forward contracts using a methodology similar to that used in the lower of cost or net realizable value evaluation with respect to inventory valuation, and has determined that no impairment existed at March 31, 2018 or September 30, 2017. The Company has elected not to apply the normal purchase and sale exemption to its forward soybean contracts and therefore treats them as derivative instruments.

At March 31, 2018, the Ethanol Division had forward dried distiller grains sales contracts for approximately 6.1% of expected production for the next 3 month at various fixed prices for delivery periods through June 2018. At March 31, 2018, the Company had forward corn oil contracts at various prices for delivery through April 2018, which approximates just part of that month's production. Also, at March 31, 2018, the Company had forward natural gas contracts for approximately 38.2% of expected purchases for the next 19 months at various prices for various delivery periods through October 2019. Additionally, at March 31, 2018, the Trading Division had forward soybean purchase contracts for various delivery periods through July 2018 (See Note 4). Approximately 11.9% of the forward soybean purchases were with related parties.


10


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


4. DERIVATIVE INSTRUMENTS

The Company enters into corn, ethanol, natural gas and soybean derivative instruments, which are required to be recorded as either assets or liabilities at fair value in the balance sheet. Derivatives qualify for treatment as hedges when there is a high correlation between the change in fair value of the derivative instrument and the related change in value of the underlying hedged item. The Company must designate the hedging instruments based upon the exposure being hedged as a fair value hedge, a cash flow hedge or a hedge against foreign currency exposure. The Company formally documents, designates, and assesses the effectiveness of transactions that receive hedge accounting initially and on an on-going basis.

Commodity Contracts

The Company enters into commodity-based derivatives, for corn, ethanol, natural gas and soybeans in order to protect cash flows from fluctuations caused by volatility in commodity prices. This is also done to protect gross profit margins from potentially adverse effects of market and price volatility on commodity based purchase commitments where the prices are set at a future date. These derivatives are not designated as effective hedges for accounting purposes. For derivative instruments that are not accounted for as hedges, or for the ineffective portions of qualifying hedges, the change in fair value is recorded through earnings in the period of change. The changes in the fair market value of ethanol derivative instruments are included as a component of revenue.  The changes in the fair market value of corn, natural gas, and soybean derivative instruments are included as a component of cost of goods sold.

At March 31, 2018, the Ethanol Division had a net short (selling) position of 2,860,000 bushels of corn under derivative contracts used to hedge its forward corn contracts, corn inventory and ethanol sales. These corn derivatives are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade as of March 31, 2018 and are forecasted to settle for various delivery periods through December 2019. At March 31, 2018, the Company had a net long (buying) position of 420,000 gallons of ethanol under derivative contracts used to hedge its future ethanol sales. These ethanol derivatives are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange and are forecasted to settle for various delivery periods through May 2018. At March 31, 2018, the Trading Division also had a net short (selling) position of 2,565,000 bushels of soybeans under derivative contracts used to hedge its forward soybean contract purchases. These soybean derivatives are traded on the Chicago Board of Trade and are, as of March 31, 2018, forecasted to settle for various delivery periods through July 2019. These derivatives have not been designated as effective hedges for accounting purposes.

The following table provides balance sheet details regarding the Company's derivative financial instruments at March 31, 2018:

Instrument
Balance Sheet Location
 
Assets
 
Liabilities
Ethanol futures and options contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$
23,100

 
$

Corn futures and options contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$

 
$
308,584

Soybean futures and options contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$
58,552

 
$

Soybean forward purchase contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$
235,557

 
$
74,574

Totals
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$
317,209

 
$
383,158


As of March 31, 2018, the Company had approximately $1,518,000 cash collateral (restricted cash) related to ethanol, corn, natural gas and soybean derivatives held by three brokers.

The following table provides balance sheet details regarding the Company's futures and options derivative financial instruments at September 30, 2017:

11


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


Instrument
Balance Sheet Location
 
Assets
 
Liabilities
Ethanol futures and options contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$

 
$
89,019

Corn futures and options contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$
489,531

 
$

Soybean futures and options contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$

 
$
175,338

Soybean forward purchase contracts
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$
3,311

 
$
249,475

Totals
Commodity Derivative Instruments - Current
 
$
492,842

 
$
513,832


As of September 30, 2017, the Company had approximately $401,000 of cash collateral (restricted cash) related to ethanol and corn derivatives held by three brokers.

The following table provides details regarding the gains and (losses) from the Company's derivative instruments in the statements of operations, none of which are designated as hedging instruments for the three months and six months ended March 31, 2017 and March 31, 2018:
Instrument
Statement of Operations Location
 Three Months 3/31/2017
 
Six Months 3/31/2017
 
Three Months 3/31/2018
 
Six Months 3/31/2018
Corn Futures and Options Contracts
Cost of Goods Sold
$
162,724

 
$
556,596

 
$
(437,723
)
 
$
(181,388
)
Ethanol Futures and Options
Revenues
1,384,770

 
1,346,560

 
(252,292
)
 
(325,076
)
Natural Gas Futures and Options Contracts
Cost of Goods Sold
62,845

 
133,830

 
36,584

 
157,013

Soybean Futures and Options Contracts
Cost of Good Sold
(2,208
)
 
(2,208
)
 
(753,160
)
 
(929,987
)
Soybean Forward Purchase Contracts
Cost of Goods Sold

 

 
804,575

 
931,728

Totals
 
$
1,608,131

 
$
2,034,778

 
$
(602,016
)
 
$
(347,710
)



5. FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS
 
The following table provides information on those assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis as of March 31, 2018:

Instruments
Carrying Amount
Fair Value
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Corn Futures and Options Contracts
$
(308,584
)
$
(308,584
)
$
(308,584
)
$

$

Ethanol Futures and Options Contracts
$
23,100

$
23,100

$
23,100

$

$

Soybean Futures and Options Contracts
$
58,552

$
58,552

$
58,552

$

$

Soybean Forward Purchase Asset
$
235,557

$
235,557

$

$
235,557

$

Soybean Forward Purchase Liability
$
(74,574
)
$
(74,574
)
$

$
(74,574
)
$

Soybean Inventory
$
12,890,478

$
12,890,478

$

$
12,890,478

$


The following table provides information on those assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis as of September 30, 2017:


12


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


Instruments

Carrying Amount
Fair Value
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Corn Futures and Options Contracts
$
489,351

$
489,351

$
489,351

$

$

Ethanol Futures and Options Contracts
$
(89,019
)
$
(89,019
)
$
(89,019
)
$

$

Soybean Futures and Options Contracts
$
(175,338
)
$
(175,338
)
$
(175,338
)
$

$

Soybean Forward Purchase
$
(246,162
)
$
(246,162
)
$

$
(246,162
)
$

Soybean Inventory
$
2,140,305

$
2,140,305

$

$
2,140,305

$


We determine the fair value of commodity futures derivative instruments utilizing Level 1 inputs by obtaining fair value measurements from an independent pricing service. The fair value measurements consider observable data that may include dealer quotes and live trading levels from the Chicago Board of Trade market and New York Mercantile Exchange. Soybean forward purchase contracts are reported at fair value utilizing Level 2 inputs from current contract prices that are being issued by the Company. Estimated fair values for inventories carried at market are based on exchange-quoted prices, adjusted for differences in local markets and quality.

6.  BANK FINANCING

The Company has a loan agreement consisting of four loans, the Term Loan, Declining Revolving Loan (Declining Loan), the Revolving Credit Loan and the Grain Loadout Facility Loan (formerly the Construction Loan) in exchange for liens on all property (real and personal, tangible and intangible) which include, among other things, a mortgage on the property, a security interest on commodity trading accounts and assignment of material contracts. The loan agreement assigns an interest rate of LIBOR plus 290 basis points (2.9%) to each of the individual loans. The Revolving Credit Loan is assigned the one month LIBOR rate which changes on the first day of every month. The Term Loan, the Revolving Loan and the Grain Loadout Facility Loan each have interest charged based on the ninety day (three month) LIBOR rate. The interest rate is assigned at the beginning of the ninety day period and not all of the loans have the same interest rate beginning and ending dates.
The loan agreement provides for a minimum fixed charge coverage ratio of no less than 1.15:1.0 measured quarterly on a rolling four quarter average basis if our working capital is less than $25,000,000 for any reporting period and a debt service charge coverage ratio of no less than 1.25:1.0 measured quarterly on a rolling four quarter average basis, in lieu of the fixed charge coverage ratio, if working capital is equal to or more that $25,000,000. There is also a minimum $15,000,000 working capital requirement and the capital expenditures covenant limits those expenditures to $5,000,000.

On February 28, 2018, the Company executed a Thirteenth Amendment of First Amended and Restated Construction Loan Agreement (the "Thirteenth Amendment") extending the termination date of the Revolving Credit Loan from February 28, 2018 to February 28, 2019 and modifying the definition of "Borrowing Base" to include soybean inventory.

Term Loan

The interest rate on the Term Loan is based on the 3-month LIBOR plus two hundred ninety basis points. The interest rate on the Term Loan at March 31, 2018 was 4.60% and at September 30, 2017 was 4.20%. There were borrowings in the amount of approximately $10,272,000 outstanding on the Term Loan at March 31, 2018 and approximately $11,856,000 outstanding at September 30, 2017. The Term Loan requires monthly installment payments of principal and interest of approximately $282,700, with a final maturity date of February 28, 2021.

Declining Note

The maximum availability of the Declining Loan is $5,000,000 with such amount to be available for working capital purposes. The interest rate on the Declining Loan is 3-month LIBOR plus two hundred ninety basis points. The interest rate on the Declining Loan at March 31, 2018 was 4.60% and at September 30, 2017 was 4.20%. There were no borrowings outstanding on the Declining Loan at March 31, 2018 or at September 30, 2017.

Revolving Credit Loan

13


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018



The Revolving Credit Loan has a limit of $15,000,000 supported by a borrowing base made up of the Company's corn, ethanol, dried distillers grain corn oil and soybean inventories reduced by accounts payable associated with those inventories having a priority. It is also supported by the eligible accounts receivable and commodity trading account excess margin funds. The interest rate on the Revolving Credit Loan is based on the 1-month LIBOR plus two hundred ninety basis points. The interest rate at March 31, 2018 was 4.57% and at September 30, 2017 was 4.14%. There were no borrowings outstanding on the Revolving Credit Loan at March 31, 2018 or at September 30, 2017.

Grain Loadout Facility Loan

The Grain Loadout Facility Loan (formerly Construction Loan) had a limit of $10,000,000. The interest rate on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan is based on the 3-month LIBOR plus two hundred ninety basis points and at March 31, 2018 was 4.91% and at September 30, 2017 was 4.22%. There were borrowings in the amount of approximately $9,703,000 and $6,476,000 outstanding on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan at March 31, 2018 and September 30, 2017, respectively. The principal balance on the Construction Loan of $10,000,000 was converted to term debt effective December 31, 2017. The Grain Loadout Facility Loan requires monthly installment payments of principal of approximately $119,000 plus interest accrued in arrears from the date of the last payment, such payments to commence on February 1, 2018, with a final maturity date of February 28, 2023.

Long-term debt, as discussed above, consists of the following at March 31, 2018:
Term note
$
10,272,265

Grain Loadout facility loan
9,703,202

Less amounts due within one year
(4,404,752
)
       Net long-term debt
$
15,570,715


The estimated maturities of long-term debt at March 31, 2018 are as follows:
April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019
$
4,404,752

April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
4,545,995

April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021
5,607,232

April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022
1,428,571

April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023
3,988,917

Total long-term debt
$
19,975,467


7. LEASES

At March 31, 2018, the Company had the following operating lease minimum commitments for payments of rentals under leases which at inception had a non-cancellable term of more than one year:
 
Total
April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019
$
1,085,788

April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
918,000

April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021
918,000

April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022
612,000

Total minimum lease commitments
$
3,533,788


8. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES

Legal Proceedings

Patent Infringement


14


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


In February 2010, a lawsuit against the Company was filed by an unrelated party claiming the Company's operation of the oil separation system in a patent infringement. In connection with the lawsuit, in February 2010, the agreement for the construction and installation of the tricanter oil separation system was amended. In this amendment the manufacturer and installer of the tricanter oil separation system indemnifies the Company against all claims of infringement of patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights from the Company's purchase and use of the tricanter oil system and agrees to defend the Company in the lawsuit filed at no expense to the Company. On October 23, 2014, the court granted summary judgment finding that all of the patents claimed were invalid and that the Company had not infringed. In addition, on September 15, 2016, the United States District Court granted summary judgment finding that the patents were invalid due to inequitable conduct before the US Patent and Trademark Office by the inventors and their attorneys. The Company has since settled with the attorneys for the inventors. A motion to reconsider the decision regarding inequitable conduct is pending. In addition, an appeal regarding the current ruling on inequitable conduct has been filed. The manufacturer has, and the Company expects it will continue, to vigorously defend itself and the Company in these lawsuits and in any appeal filed.

If the ruling was to be successfully appealed, the Company estimates that damages sought in this litigation if awarded would be
based on a reasonable royalty to, or lost profits of, the plaintiff. If the court deems the case exceptional, attorney's fees may be awarded and are likely to be $1,000,000 or more. The manufacturer has also agreed to indemnify the Company for these fees. However, in the event that damages are awarded, if the manufacturer is unable to fully indemnify the Company for any reason, the Company could be liable. In addition, the Company may need to cease use of its current oil separation process and seek out a replacement or cease oil production altogether.

Air Permit

On January 4, 2018, the Company received a letter from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Office of Air Quality (“IDEM”) alleging violations of the Company's air permit.  While the Company believes it has certain defenses to these allegations, it is currently unable to determine with any certainty the outcome of this matter including the extent of any potential monetary sanctions that may result.

9. UNCERTAINTIES IMPACTING THE ETHANOL INDUSTRY AND OUR FUTURE OPERATIONS

The Company has certain risks and uncertainties that it experiences during volatile market conditions, which can have a severe impact on operations. The Company's revenues are derived from the sale and distribution of ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil to customers primarily located in the U.S. Corn for the production process is supplied to the plant primarily from local agricultural producers and from purchases on the open market. Ethanol sales average approximately 65% of total revenues and corn costs average 66% of total cost of goods sold.

The Company's operating and financial performance is largely driven by prices at which the Company sells ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil, and the related cost of corn. The price of ethanol is influenced by factors such as supply and demand, weather, government policies and programs, and the unleaded gasoline and the petroleum markets, although, since 2005, the prices of ethanol and gasoline began a divergence with ethanol selling for less than gasoline at the wholesale level. Excess ethanol supply in the market, in particular, puts downward pressure on the price of ethanol. The Company's largest cost of production is corn. The cost of corn is generally impacted by factors such as supply and demand, weather, government policies and programs. The Company's risk management program is used to protect against the price volatility of these commodities.

10. BUSINESS SEGMENTS

Based on the growth of the Company's Trading Division during the first quarter of fiscal 2018 and operations in the second quarter of fiscal 2018, the Company has determined it now has two reportable operating segments. Segment reporting is intended to give financial statement users a better view of how the Company manages and evaluates its businesses. The accounting policies for each segment are the same as those described in the summary of significant accounting policies. Segment income or loss does not include any allocation of shared-service costs.  Segment assets are those that are directly used in or identified with segment operations. Inter-segment balances and transactions have been eliminated.
 
The following tables summarize financial information by segment and provide a reconciliation of segment revenue, gross profit, grain inventories, operating income, and total assets:
 

15


CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements
March 31, 2018


 
Three Months Ended
 
Six Months Ended
 
March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
 
March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
Revenue:
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
Ethanol production
$
55,705,899

 
$
59,473,502

 
$
106,424,886

 
$
117,528,266

Grain trading
$
10,006,437

 
$

 
$
15,142,938

 
$

Total Revenue
$
65,712,336

 
$
59,473,502

 
$
121,567,824

 
$
117,528,266

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Three Months Ended
 
Six Months Ended
 
March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
 
March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
Gross Profit (Loss):
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
Ethanol production
$
3,167,673

 
$
4,455,502

 
$
6,219,334

 
$
13,060,090

Grain trading
$
(24,921
)
 
$

 
$
324,769

 
$

Total Gross Profit
$
3,142,752

 
$
4,455,502

 
$
6,544,103

 
$
13,060,090

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Three Months Ended
 
Six Months Ended
 
March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
 
March 31, 2018
 
March 31, 2017
Operating Income (Loss):
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
 
(unaudited)
Ethanol production
$
1,676,267

 
$
3,020,636

 
$
3,273,745

 
$
10,438,467

Grain trading
$
(220,782
)
 
$

 
$
(55,658
)
 
$

Total Operating Income
$
1,455,485

 
$
3,020,636

 
$
3,218,087

 
$
10,438,467

 
March 31, 2018
 
September 30, 2017
Grain Inventories:
(unaudited)
 

Ethanol production
$
8,886,223

 
$
5,754,084

Grain trading
$
12,890,478

 
$
2,140,305

Total Grain Inventories
$
21,776,701

 
$
7,894,389

 
 
 
 
 
March 31, 2018
 
September 30, 2017
Total Assets:
(unaudited)
 

Ethanol production
$
129,721,466

 
$
156,548,789

Grain trading
$
21,078,596

 
$
2,623,207

Total Assets
$
150,800,062

 
$
159,171,996




16


Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

We prepared the following discussion and analysis to help you better understand our financial condition, changes in our financial condition, and results of operations for the three month period ended March 31, 2018, compared to the same period of the prior fiscal year. This discussion should be read in conjunction with the condensed financial statements and notes and the information contained in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017.

Forward Looking Statements

This report contains forward-looking statements that involve future events, our future performance and our expected future operations and actions.  In some cases you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "may," "will," "should," "anticipate," "believe," "expect," "plan," "future," "intend," "could," "estimate," "predict," "hope," "potential," "continue," or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions.  These forward-looking statements are only our predictions and involve numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to those listed below and those business risks and factors described elsewhere in this report and our other Securities and Exchange Commission filings. 

Reduction, delay, or elimination of the Renewable Fuel Standard;
Changes in the availability and price of corn, natural gas and other grains;
Our inability to secure credit or obtain additional equity financing we may require in the future to continue our operations;
Decreases in the price we receive for our ethanol, distiller grains,corn oil and other grains;
Our ability to satisfy the financial covenants contained in our credit agreements with our senior lender;
Our ability to profitably operate the ethanol plant and maintain a positive spread between the selling price of our products and our raw material costs;
Negative impacts that our hedging activities may have on our operations;
Ethanol and distiller grains supply exceeding demand and corresponding price reductions;
Our ability to generate free cash flow to invest in our business and service our debt;
Changes in the environmental regulations that apply to our plant operations;
Changes in our business strategy, capital improvements or development plans;
Changes in plant production capacity or technical difficulties in operating the plant;
Changes in general economic conditions or the occurrence of certain events causing an economic impact in the agriculture, oil or automobile industries;
Lack of transport, storage and blending infrastructure preventing our products from reaching high demand markets;
Changes in federal and/or state laws;
Changes and advances in ethanol production technology;
Competition from alternative fuel additives;
Changes in interest rates or the lack of credit availability;
Changes in legislation benefiting renewable fuels;
Our ability to retain key employees and maintain labor relations;
Volatile commodity and financial markets;
Limitations and restrictions contained in the instruments and agreements governing our indebtedness; and
Decreases in export demand due to the imposition of tariffs by foreign governments on ethanol and distillers grains produced in the United States.

The cautionary statements referred to in this section also should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that may be issued by us or persons acting on our behalf. We undertake no duty to update these forward-looking statements even though our situation may change in the future.  We cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements.  We caution you not to put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report.  You should read this report and the documents that we reference in this report and have filed as exhibits, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we currently expect.  We qualify all of our forward-looking statements with these cautionary statements.

Overview

Cardinal Ethanol, LLC is an Indiana limited liability company operating an ethanol plant in east central Indiana near Union City, Indiana. We began producing ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil at the plant in November 2008. In addition, we recently added a facility to allow us to procure, transport and sell grain commodities through our new grain operations (the "Trading Division").


17


On February 20, 2018, the board of directors declared a cash distribution. The dates and amounts are listed in the table below:
Date Declared
 
Distribution Declared Per Unit
 
Total Distribution Amount
 
Month Distribution Paid
February 20, 2018
 
$
200

 
$
2,921,200

 
March 2018

We executed a Thirteenth Amendment of First Amended and Restated Construction Loan Agreement with our primary lender, First National Bank of Omaha, effective as of February 28, 2018, which amends the First Amended and Restated Construction Loan Agreement dated June 10, 2013 (the "Construction Loan Agreement") (the "Thirteenth Amendment"). The primary purposes of the Thirteenth Amendment were to extend the termination date of the Revolving Credit Loan from February 28, 2018 to February 28, 2019 and to modify the definition of "Borrowing Base" to include soybean inventory.

We expect to fund our operations during the next 12 months using cash flow from our continuing operations and our current credit facilities as amended. However, should we experience unfavorable operating conditions, we may need to seek additional funding.

Reportable Operating Segments
 
Operating segments are defined as components of an enterprise for which separate financial information is available that are evaluated regularly by the chief operating decision maker in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. Based on the nature of the products, services and operations and the expected financial results, we review our operations within the following two separate operating segments: (1) ethanol production through our Ethanol Division; and (2) trading of agricultural grains through our Trading Division. We currently do not have or anticipate we will have any other lines of business or other significant sources of revenue other than the sale of ethanol, distillers’ grains, corn oil and and the trading of agricultural grains.  Refer to Note 10, “Business Segments”, of the notes to the condensed unaudited financial statements for financial information about our financial reporting segments.

Ethanol Division

In August 2010, we obtained a new Title V air permit allowing us to increase our annual ethanol production to 140 million gallons compared to 110 million gallons under our previous permit. Our annual ethanol production for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017 increased to approximately 125 million gallons. We expect ethanol production for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 to increase to approximately 135 million gallons due to the completion of certain projects which added storage capacity, improved process efficiencies, and added an additional cooling tower cell and a beer-degasser.

Our revenues are primarily derived from the sale of our ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil. We market and sell ethanol and its co-products (distillers grains and corn oil) primarily in the continental United States using third party marketers. Murex, LLC markets all of our ethanol. Our distillers grains are marketed by CHS, Inc. We market and distribute all of the corn oil we produce directly to end users and third party brokers.    
    
Trading Division

We procure, transport and sell grain commodities through our grain operations. We have and expect to continue to buy primarily soybeans and corn from producers relying principally on forward purchase contracts to ensure an adequate supply of grain. However, we may also purchase grain the day of delivery. Grain prices will typically be comprised of futures prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ("CME") and local basis adjustments. We intend to manage the futures price risk of changing commodity prices by entering into exchange traded futures contracts with the CME. Grain shipments will be made by rail and truck. We anticipate that sales will be made to grain processors and export markets in the southeastern United States and will generally be made by contract for delivery in a future period. Income is expected to be earned on grain bought and sold, the appreciation or depreciation in the basis value of the grain held and the appreciation or depreciation between the futures contract months. The Trading Division began operations at the end of our fourth fiscal quarter of 2017.

To provide funding for the construction of the grain loadout facility, we obtained a construction loan in the amount of $10,000,000 which converted to term debt effective December 31, 2017 (the "Grain Loadout Facility Loan"). Please refer to Item 1- Financial Statements, Note 6 - Bank Financing for additional details.


18


Results of Operations for the Three Months Ended March 31, 2018 and 2017

The following table shows the results of our operations and the percentage of revenues, cost of goods sold, operating expenses and other items to total revenues in our statement of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:

 
2018
 
2017
Statement of Operations Data
Amount
 
%
 
Amount
 
%
Revenue
$
65,712,336

 
100.0

 
$
59,473,502

 
100.0

Cost of Goods Sold
62,569,584

 
95.2

 
55,018,000

 
92.5

Gross Profit
3,142,752

 
4.8

 
4,455,502

 
7.5

Operating Expenses
1,687,267

 
2.6

 
1,434,866

 
2.4

Operating Income
1,455,485

 
2.2

 
3,020,636

 
5.1

Other Expense, Net
(206,616
)
 
(0.3
)
 
(119,338
)
 
(0.2
)
Net Income
$
1,248,869

 
1.9

 
$
2,901,298

 
4.9


Revenues

We have two reportable segments-the Ethanol Division and the Trading Division. Our revenues from operations from our Ethanol Division come from three primary sources: sales of fuel ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil. Revenues from operations of our Trading Division are derived from procuring, transporting and selling grain commodities. Revenues in each division also include net gains or losses from derivatives related to products sold.

The following table shows the sources of our total revenue from the two segments and the approximate percentage of revenues to total revenues in our unaudited condensed consolidated statements of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:
 
2018
 
2017
Revenue:
Amount
% of Total Revenues
 
Amount
% of Total Revenues
Ethanol production
$
55,705,899

84.8
%
 
59,473,502

100.0
%
Grain trading
$
10,006,437

15.2

 
$


Total Revenue
$
65,712,336

100.0
%
 
$
59,473,502

100.0
%

Ethanol Division

The following table shows the sources of our revenues from our Ethanol Division for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:

 
2018
 
2017
Revenue Source
Amount
% of Revenues
 
Amount
% of Revenues
Ethanol Sales
$
42,657,305

76.6
%
 
$
49,525,748

83.3
%
Distillers Grains Sales
10,889,653

19.5

 
7,675,673

12.9

Corn Oil Sales
1,805,210

3.2

 
1,949,748

3.3

Carbon Dioxide Sales
123,375

0.3

 
123,377

0.2

Other Revenue
230,356

0.4

 
198,956

0.3

Total Revenues
$
55,705,899

100.0
%
 
$
59,473,502

100.0
%

Ethanol
    
Our revenues from ethanol decreased in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared the to the same period in 2017.

The average price per gallon of ethanol sold for the three months ended March 31, 2018 was approximately 13.2% lower than our average price per gallon of ethanol sold for the same period in 2017. This decrease in average market price for the three

19


months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2017 is due to increased industry-wide production which was in excess of demand.

Management anticipates that ethanol prices will continue to change in relation to changes in corn and energy prices. If corn, crude oil and gasoline prices decrease, that could have a significant negative impact on the market price of ethanol and our profitability, particularly should ethanol stocks remain high due to increased production in the industry. Recent trade disputes and the announcement by China of tariffs on products produced in the United States have created additional uncertainty as to future export demand from China. A decline in ethanol exports due to tariffs imposed on ethanol produced in the United States or other factors would also likely contribute to higher ethanol stocks unless additional demand could be created domestically through the used of higher blends. Finally, an increase in imports by the United States would have a negative effect on ethanol prices.

We experienced a decrease in ethanol gallons sold of approximately 0.2% for the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 resulting primarily from timing of shipments. We are currently operating at approximately 31% above our nameplate capacity. Management anticipates that the gallons of ethanol sold by our plant will increase for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 due to completion of various projects which are expected to increase our production capacity to approximately 135 million gallons.
    
Distillers Grains

Our revenues from distillers grains increased in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. This increased in revenues is the result of an increase in the average market price per ton of distillers grains sold for the period ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017.

The average price per ton of distillers grains sold for the three months ended March 31, 2018 was approximately 63.3% higher than the average price per ton of distillers grains sold for the same period in 2017. This increase in the market price of distillers grains is due to higher export demand during the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017, which has resulted in an increase in the price of distillers grains as a percentage of corn values. Vietnam recently resumed imports of distillers grains from the United States after a nine-month ban and demand from other foreign markets improved for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

China has been a significant consumer of exported distillers grains. However, an anti-dumping investigation beginning in January of 2016 into distillers grains produced in the United States led to the imposition by China of preliminary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of ethanol produced in the United States in the fall of 2016 and a final ruling imposing even higher duties in January 2017. The investigation and imposition of these duties resulted in a decline in demand from China. Recent trade disputes and the announcement by China of tariffs on products produced in the United States have created additional uncertainty as to future export demand from China. If export demand suffers, this could lead to lower distillers grains prices unless additional demand can be sustained from domestic or other foreign markets.

Domestic demand for distillers grains may be negatively affected by a seasonal decline during the summer months. In addition, lower corn prices and growing conditions in a particular season’s harvest resulting in poor corn quality could lead to lower distillers grains prices. 
   
We sold approximately 13.1% less tons of distillers grains in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 due primarily to yield improvement in our ethanol production which reduces the output of distillers grains. Management anticipates that the gallons of ethanol sold by our plant will increase for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 due to completion of various projects which are expected to increase our ethanol production capacity to approximately 135 million gallons which would also increase our distillers grains production.

Corn Oil

Our revenues from corn oil sales decreased in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 which was mainly the result of lower corn oil prices. The average price per pound of corn oil was approximately 18% lower for the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 due primarily to uncertainty of biodiesel demand. We sold approximately 14.0% more tons of corn oil in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 due to increased yield per bushel and higher production rates correlating to higher ethanol production rates.
    
Management expects corn oil prices will remain relatively steady in the near term. However, corn oil prices may be negatively affected if the renewable volume obligations for biodiesel are reduced by the EPA or if the biodiesel tax credit which was retroactively extended for 2017 is not further extended by Congress. Corn oil prices may also decrease if biodiesel plants

20


switch to lower priced alternatives such as soybean oil. In addition, recent trade disputes and the announcement by China of a tariff on products produced in the United States have created additional uncertainty which could have a negative affect on corn oil prices. Management expects corn oil production will increase for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 due to completion of various projects which are expected to increase our ethanol production capacity to approximately 135 million gallons which would also increase our corn oil production.

Trading Division

The following table shows the sources of our revenues from our Trading Division for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:
 
2018
 
2017
Revenue Source
Amount
% of Revenues
 
Amount
% of Revenues
Soybean Sales
$
10,006,437

100.0
%
 
$

%
Total Revenues
$
10,006,437

100.0
%
 
$

%

Soybeans

We began operating the Trading Division in late September 2017. During the three months ended March 31, 2018 our revenues were derived primarily from transporting and selling soybeans.

Cost of Goods Sold

Ethanol Division

Our cost of goods sold as a percentage of revenues was approximately 94.3% for the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to approximately 92.5% for the same period in 2017. This increase in cost of goods sold as a percentage of revenues was the result of the narrowing of the margin between ethanol prices relative to the cost of corn for the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. Our two largest costs of production are corn and natural gas. Cost of goods sold also includes net gains or losses from derivatives related to our commodities purchases.

Corn

Our largest cost associated with the production of ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil is corn cost. During the three months ended March 31, 2018, we used approximately 2.9% less bushels of corn to produce our ethanol, distillers grain and corn oil as compared to the same period in 2017 because of improved ethanol yield per bushel of corn. During the three months ended March 31, 2018, our average price paid per bushel of corn was approximately 5.2% lower as compared to the same period in 2017. Corn prices have trended lower due to the plentiful 2017 harvest. Corn supplies have been sufficient locally and we have had no difficulty sourcing corn during our first fiscal quarter.
 
Weather, world supply and demand, current and anticipated stocks, agricultural policy and other factors can contribute to volatility in corn prices. If corn prices rise, it will have a negative effect on our operating margins unless the price of ethanol and distillers grains out paces rising corn prices. Volatility in the price of corn could significantly impact our cost of goods sold.

Natural Gas

Our natural gas cost after hedging was lower during the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2017. This decrease in cost of natural gas for the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 was primarily the result of a decrease of approximately 2.2% in the average price per MMBTU of natural gas due to increased natural gas stocks. We also used approximately 0.6% less natural gas for the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017, mostly because of improved ethanol yield which results in fewer tons of distillers grains that the production facility must dry.

Natural gas prices are expected to increase in the future due to producers shutting down wells resulting in lower natural gas production and to the conversion of power plants across the U.S. from coal to natural gas. Natural gas prices will also be dependent upon the severity of the coming winter weather. If the nation were to experience a catastrophic weather event causing problems related to the supply of natural gas, this could result in higher natural gas prices.


21


Trading Division

The following table shows the costs incurred to procure various agricultural commodities for our Trading Division for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:
 
2018
 
2017
 
Amount
% of Revenues
 
Amount
% of Revenues
Soybeans
$
10,031,358

100.0
%
 
$

%
Total Cost of Goods Sold
$
10,031,358

100.0
%
 
$

%

We began operating the Trading Division in late September 2017. During the three months ended March 31, 2018 our cost was primarily the procurement of soybeans for sale.

Derivatives

We enter into hedging instruments to minimize price fluctuations in the prices of our finished products and inputs. As the current market price of our hedge positions changes, the realized or unrealized gains and losses are immediately recognized in our revenues and our cost of goods sold. These commodity-based derivatives are not designated as effective hedges for accounting purposes. Please refer to Item 3 - Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk-Commodity Price Risk for information on our derivatives.

Operating Expense

Our operating expenses as a percentage of revenues were approximately 2.6% for the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to operating expenses of approximately 2.4% of revenues for the same period in 2017. Operating expenses include salaries and benefits of administrative employees, insurance, taxes, professional fees and other general administrative costs. Our efforts to optimize efficiencies and maximize production may result in a decrease in our operating expenses on a per gallon basis. However, because these expenses generally do not vary with the level of production at the plant, we expect our operating expenses to remain steady into and throughout our 2018 fiscal year.

Operating Income

Our income from operations for the three months ended March 31, 2018 was approximately 2.2% of our revenues as compared to operating income of approximately 5.1% of revenues for the same period in 2017. The decrease in operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2018 was primarily the result of decreased ethanol prices relative to the price of corn.

Other Expense

Our other expense for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and for the same period in 2017 was minimal. Our other expense for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and March 31, 2017 consisted primarily of interest expense.

Results of Operations for the Six Months Ended March 31, 2018 and 2017

The following table shows the results of our operations and the percentage of revenues, cost of goods sold, operating expenses and other items to total revenues in our statement of operations for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:

 
2018
 
2017
Statement of Operations Data
Amount
 
%
 
Amount
 
%
Revenue
$
121,567,824

 
100.0

 
$
117,528,266

 
100.0

Cost of Goods Sold
115,023,721

 
94.6

 
104,468,176

 
88.9

Gross Profit
6,544,103

 
5.4

 
13,060,090

 
11.1

Operating Expenses
3,326,016

 
2.7

 
2,621,623

 
2.2

Operating Income
3,218,087

 
2.6

 
10,438,467

 
8.9

Other Expense, Net
(364,711
)
 
(0.3
)
 
(239,132
)
 
(0.2
)
Net Income
$
2,853,376

 
2.3

 
$
10,199,335

 
8.7


22


Revenues

We have two reportable segments---the Ethanol Division and the Trading Division. Our revenues from operations from our Ethanol Division come from three primary sources: sales of fuel ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil. Revenues from operations of our Trading Division are derived from procuring, transporting and selling grain commodities. Revenues in each division also include net gains or losses from derivatives related to products sold.

The following table shows the sources of our total revenue from the two segments and the approximate percentage of revenues to total revenues in our unaudited condensed consolidated statements of operations for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017.
 
2018
 
2017
Revenue:
Amount
% of Total Revenues
 
Amount
% of Total Revenues
Ethanol production
$
106,424,886

87.5
%
 
$
117,528,266

100.0
%
Grain trading
$
15,142,938

12.5

 
$


Total Revenue
$
121,567,824

100.0
%
 
$
117,528,266

100.00
%

Ethanol Division

The following table shows the sources of our revenues from our Ethanol Division for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:

 
2018
 
2017
Revenue Source
Amount
% of Revenues
 
Amount
% of Revenues
Ethanol Sales
$
82,506,875

77.5
%
 
$
97,805,477

83.2
%
Distillers Grains Sales
19,384,679

18.2

 
15,193,586

12.9

Corn Oil Sales
4,056,549

3.8

 
4,056,484

3.5

Carbon Dioxide Sales
246,750

0.3

 
235,150

0.2

Other Revenue
230,033

0.2

 
237,569

0.2

Total Revenues
$
106,424,886

100.0
%
 
$
117,528,266

100.0
%

Ethanol
    
Our revenues from ethanol decreased in the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared the to the same period in 2017.

The average price per gallon of ethanol sold for the six months ended March 31, 2018 was approximately 15.0% lower than our average price per gallon of ethanol sold for the same period in 2017. This decrease in average market price for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the six months ended March 31, 2017 is due to increased industry-wide production which was in excess of demand.

We experienced a decrease in ethanol gallons sold of approximately 0.7% for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 resulting primarily from normal fluctuations in when our customers order and when those orders are filled by shipments. We are currently operating at approximately 31% above our nameplate capacity. Management anticipates that the gallons of ethanol sold by our plant will increase for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 due to completion of various projects which are expected to increase our production capacity to approximately 135 million gallons.
    
Distillers Grains

Our revenues from distillers grains increased in the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. This increased in revenues is the result of an increase in the average market price per ton of distillers grains sold for the period ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017.

The average price per ton of distillers grains sold for the six months ended March 31, 2018 was approximately 34.3% higher than the average price per ton of distillers grains sold for the same period in 2017. This increase in the market price of distillers grains is due to higher export demand during the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in

23


2017, which has resulted in an increase in the price of distillers grains as a percentage of corn values. Vietnam recently resumed imports of distillers grains from the United States after a nine-month ban and demand from other foreign markets improved for the six months ended March 31, 2018.

We sold approximately 5.0% less tons of distillers grains in the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 due primarily to lower production resulting from improved ethanol yield per bushel of corn. Management anticipates that the gallons of ethanol sold by our plant will increase for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 due to completion of various projects which are expected to increase our ethanol production capacity to approximately 135 million gallons which would also increase our distillers grains production.

Corn Oil

Our revenues from corn oil sales increased in the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 which was mainly the result of higher corn oil production. We sold approximately 10.3% more tons of corn oil in the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 due to increased yield per bushel. The average price per pound of corn oil was consistent for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017.
    
Trading Division

The following table shows the sources of our revenues from our Trading Division for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:
 
2018
 
2017
Revenue Source
Amount
% of Revenues
 
Amount
% of Revenues
Soybean Sales
$
15,142,938

100.0
%
 
$

%
Total Revenues
$
15,142,938

100.0
%
 
$

%

Soybeans

We began operating the Trading Division in late September 2017. During the six months ended March 31, 2018 our revenues were derived primarily from transporting and selling soybeans.

Cost of Goods Sold

Ethanol Division

Our cost of goods sold as a percentage of revenues was approximately 94.2% for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to approximately 88.9% for the same period in 2017. This increase in cost of goods sold as a percentage of revenues was the result of the narrowing of the margin between ethanol prices relative to the cost of corn for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. Our two largest costs of production are corn and natural gas. Cost of goods sold also includes net gains or losses from derivatives related to our commodities purchases.

Corn

Our largest cost associated with the production of ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil is corn cost. During the six months ended March 31, 2018, we used approximately 0.2% more bushels of corn to produce our ethanol, distillers grain and corn oil as compared to the same period in 2017 because we produced 2.2% more gallons of denatured ethanol, yet improved yield per bushel by 2%. During the six months ended March 31, 2018, our average price paid per bushel of corn was approximately 5.6% lower as compared to the same period in 2017. Corn prices have trended lower due to the plentiful 2017 harvest. Corn supplies have been sufficient locally and we have had no difficulty sourcing corn during our first fiscal quarter.
 
Natural Gas

Our natural gas cost after hedging was higher during the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the six months ended March 31, 2017. This increase in cost of natural gas for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 was primarily the result of an increase of approximately 0.3% in the average price per MMBTU of natural gas due to increased natural gas stocks. We also used approximately 0.9% more natural gas for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017 because of higher ethanol production levels for the period.

24


Trading Division

The following table shows the costs incurred to procure various agricultural commodities for our Trading Division for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:
 
2018
 
2017
 
Amount
% of Revenues
 
Amount
% of Revenues
Soybeans
$
14,818,169

100.00
%
 
$

%
Total Cost of Goods Sold
$
14,818,169

100.00
%
 
$

%

We began operating the Trading Division in late September 2017. During the six months ended March 31, 2018 our cost was primarily the procurement of soybeans for sale.

Derivatives

We enter into hedging instruments to minimize price fluctuations in the prices of our finished products and inputs. As the current market price of our hedge positions changes, the realized or unrealized gains and losses are immediately recognized in our revenues and our cost of goods sold. These commodity-based derivatives are not designated as effective hedges for accounting purposes. Please refer to Item 3 - Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk-Commodity Price Risk for information on our derivatives.

Operating Expense

Our operating expenses as a percentage of revenues were approximately 2.7% for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to operating expenses of approximately 2.2% of revenues for the same period in 2017. Operating expenses include salaries and benefits of administrative employees, insurance, taxes, professional fees and other general administrative costs. Our efforts to optimize efficiencies and maximize production may result in a decrease in our operating expenses on a per gallon basis. However, because these expenses generally do not vary with the level of production at the plant, we expect our operating expenses to remain steady into and throughout our 2018 fiscal year.

Operating Income

Our income from operations for the six months ended March 31, 2018 was approximately 2.6% of our revenues as compared to operating income of approximately 8.9% of revenues for the same period in 2017. The decrease in operating income for the six months ended March 31, 2018 was primarily the result of decreased ethanol prices relative to the price of corn.

Other Expense

Our other expense for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and for the same period in 2017 was minimal. Our other expense for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and March 31, 2017 consisted primarily of interest expense.

Changes in Financial Condition for the Six Months Ended March 31, 2018

The following table highlights the changes in our financial condition:

 
March 31, 2018
(Unaudited)
 
September 30, 2017
Current Assets
$
46,931,875

 
$
50,139,370

Current Liabilities
$
14,556,740

 
$
18,007,407

Long-Term Liabilities
$
15,570,715

 
$
14,581,758

Member's Equity
$
120,672,607

 
$
126,582,831


We experienced a decrease in our current assets at March 31, 2018 as compared to September 30, 2017. This decrease was primarily driven by a decrease in our cash at March 31, 2018 as compared to September 30, 2017 due mostly to cash expended to pay down our liability for grain received, but for which payment had been previously deferred. The payment occurred in early January 2018. We also experienced a decrease in our commodity derivative instruments due to relatively stable grain prices during

25


the period. The value of our derivative instruments are most affected by movements in market prices. We also experienced a decrease in our trade accounts receivable due to the normal ebbs and flows of our operating cycle. These decreases were partially offset by an increase in our grain inventories at March 31, 2018 compared to September 30, 2017 due to operations of our Trading Division. We experienced an increase in our restricted cash due primarily to fluctuations in commodities prices affecting margins on our hedges.

We experienced a decrease in our total current liabilities at March 31, 2018 as compared to September 30, 2017. This decrease was primarily due to a decrease in grain accounts payable due to the deferred payments for grain as explained above and a decrease in trade accounts payable due to payments made for any residual liabilities on our construction contracts and the normal fluctuation in our operating cycle. These decreases were partially offset by an increase in current maturities of long term debt due to recording monthly payments due on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan over the next twelve months as a current liability. The loan converted to a term loan in December 2017.

We experienced an increase in our long-term liabilities as of March 31, 2018 as compared to September 30, 2017. At March 31, 2018, we had $15,570,715 of outstanding borrowings due in greater than one year from the balance sheet date as compared to $14,581,758 at September 30, 2017 because of the additional debt incurred in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 for construction of the grain receiving and loading facility for our Trading Division.

Liquidity and Capital Resources
    
Based on financial forecasts performed by our management, we anticipate that we will have sufficient cash from our current credit facilities and cash from our operations to continue to operate the ethanol plant for the next 12 months. We do not anticipate seeking additional equity financing during our 2018 fiscal year. However, should we experience unfavorable operating conditions in the ethanol industry that prevent us from profitably operating the ethanol plant, we could have difficulty maintaining our liquidity and may need to rely on our revolving lines of credit for operations.
        
The following table shows cash flows for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:
 
 
2018
 
2017
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
 
$
(11,554,947
)
 
$
7,482,977

Net cash used for investing activities
 
$
(1,828,579
)
 
$
(4,900,029
)
Net cash used for financing activities
 
$
(4,198,730
)
 
$
(13,113,318
)
Net decrease in Cash and Restricted cash
 
$
(17,582,256
)
 
$
(10,530,370
)
Cash and Restricted cash, beginning of period
 
$
19,397,161

 
$
24,462,911

Cash and Restricted cash, end of period
 
$
1,814,905

 
$
13,932,541


Cash Flow from and used in Operations

We experienced a decrease in our cash flow from operations for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. This was primarily the result of decreased net income as a result of decreased ethanol prices relative to the cost of corn and cash used on inventory and other working capital components for the six months ended March 31, 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.

Cash Flow used for Investing Activities

We used less cash in investing activities for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. Cash used in investing activities was used for payments for construction in progress and capital expenditures due to our capital projects which were substantially completed and paid by December 31, 2017.
    
Cash Flow used for Financing Activities

We used less cash in financing activities for the six months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to the same period in 2017. This decrease was the result of receiving proceeds on our long term debt offset by cash paid for distributions, and payments on long term debt during the six months ended March 31, 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.

Our liquidity, results of operations and financial performance will be impacted by many variables, including the market price for commodities such as, but not limited to, corn, ethanol and other energy commodities, as well as the market price for any co-products generated by the facility and the cost of labor and other operating costs.  Assuming future relative price levels for

26


corn, ethanol and distillers grains remain consistent with the relative price levels as of March 31, 2018, we expect operations to generate adequate cash flows to maintain operations.
Short and Long Term Debt Sources

We have a loan agreement consisting of four loans, the Term Loan, the Declining Revolving Loan ("Declining Loan"), the Revolving Credit Loan and a Grain Loadout Facility Loan (formerly the Construction Loan). In exchange for these loans, we granted liens on all property (real and personal, tangible and intangible) which include, among other things, a mortgage on the property, a security interest on commodity trading accounts, and assignment of material contracts. Please refer to Item 1 - Financial Statements, Note 6 - Bank Financing for additional details.
Term Loan
    
The interest rate on the Term Loan is based on the 3-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") plus two hundred ninety basis points. The interest rate at March 31, 2018 was 4.60%. The Term Loan requires monthly installment payments of approximately $282,700 commencing on September 1, 2016, with a final maturity date of February 28, 2021. There was approximately $10,272,265 outstanding on the Term Loan at March 31, 2018 and approximately $11,856,000 outstanding on the Term Loan at September 30, 2017.

Declining Loan

The maximum availability of the Declining Loan is $5,000,000 with such amount to be available for working capital purposes. The interest rate on the Declining Loan is based on the 3-month LIBOR plus two hundred ninety basis points. The interest rate at March 31, 2018 was 4.60%. There was no balance outstanding on the Declining Loan at March 31, 2018 or September 30, 2017.
    
Revolving Credit Loan

The Revolving Credit Loan has a limit of $15,000,000 supported by a borrowing base made up of our corn, ethanol, dried distillers grain and corn oil inventories reduced by accounts payable associated with those inventories having a priority. It is also supported by the eligible accounts receivable and commodity trading account excess margin funds. The interest rate on the Revolving Credit Loan is based on the 1-month LIBOR plus two hundred ninety basis points. The interest rate at March 31, 2018 was 4.57%. There were no borrowings outstanding on the Revolving Credit Note at March 31, 2018 or September 30, 2017.
    
Grain Loadout Facility Loan

The Grain Loadout Facility Loan (formerly construction loan) has a limit of $10,000,000. The interest rate on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan is based on the 3-month LIBOR plus two hundred ninety basis points and at March 31, 2018 was 4.91%. There were borrowings in the amount of approximately $9,703,000 outstanding on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan at March 31, 2018. There were borrowings of $6,476,000 on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan at September 30, 2017. The principal balance on the Construction Loan of $10,000,000 was converted to term debt effective December 31, 2017. The Grain Loadout Facility Loan requires monthly installment payments of principal of approximately $119,000 plus interest accrued in arrears from the date of the last payment, such payments commenced on February 1, 2018, with a final maturity date of February 28, 2023.
    
Covenants

During the term of the loans, we will be subject to certain financial covenants. Our minimum working capital is $15,000,000, which is calculated as our current assets plus the amount available for drawing under our long term revolving note, less current liabilities. Our minimum fixed charge coverage ratio is no less than 1.15:1.0 measured on a rolling four quarter average basis. However, for any reporting period, if our working capital is equal to or more than $25,000,000, we will be subject to maintaining a debt service charge coverage ratio of no less than 1.25:1.0 in lieu of the fixed charge coverage ratio.

Our loan agreement also requires us to obtain prior approval from our lender before making, or committing to make, capital expenditures exceeding an aggregate amount of $5,000,000.

We are meeting our liquidity needs and complying with our financial covenants and the other terms of our loan agreements at March 31, 2018. Based on current management projections, we anticipate that future operations will be sufficient to generate enough cash flow to maintain operations, service any new debt and comply with our financial covenants and other terms of our loan agreements through March 31, 2019. Should market conditions deteriorate in the future, circumstances may develop which

27


could result in us violating the financial covenants or other terms of our loan agreements. Should we violate the terms or covenants of our loan or fail to obtain a waiver of any such term or covenant, our primary lender could deem us in default of our loans and require us to immediately repay a significant portion or possibly the entire outstanding balance of our loans if we have a balance outstanding. In that event, our lender could also elect to proceed with a foreclosure action on our plant.
Development Agreement

In September 2007, the Company entered into a development agreement with Randolph County Redevelopment Commission (“the Commission”) to promote economic development in the area. Under the terms of this agreement, beginning in January 2008 through December 2028, the money the Company pays toward property tax expense is allocated to an expense and an acquisition account. The funds in the acquisition account can be used by the Commission to purchase equipment, at the Company's direction, for the plant. The Company does not have title to or control over the funds in the acquisition account, no amounts have been recorded in the balance sheet relating to this account.

Tax Abatement

In October 2006, the real estate that our plant was constructed on was determined to be an economic revitalization area, which qualified us for tax abatement. The abatement period is for a ten year term, with an effective date beginning calendar year end 2009 for the property taxes payable in calendar year 2010. The program allows for 100% abatement of property taxes beginning in year 1, and then decreases on a ratable scale so that in year 11 the full amount of property taxes are due and payable. We must apply annually and meet specified criteria to qualify for the abatement program.

Critical Accounting Estimates

Management uses various estimates and assumptions in preparing our financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. These estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities, and the reported revenues and expenses. Our most critical accounting estimates, which require the greatest use of judgment by management, are designated as critical accounting estimates and include policies related to the useful lives of fixed assets; allowance for doubtful accounts; the valuation of basis and delay price contracts on corn purchases; derivatives; inventory; patronage dividends, long-lived assets and inventory purchase commitments.  An in-depth description of these can be found in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017.  Management has not changed the method of calculating and using estimates and assumptions in preparing our condensed financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.  There have been no changes in the policies for our accounting estimates for the six months ended March 31, 2018.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements.

Item 3.    Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.

We are exposed to the impact of market fluctuations associated with interest rates and commodity prices as discussed below. We have no exposure to foreign currency risk as all of our business is conducted in U.S. Dollars. We use derivative financial instruments as part of an overall strategy to manage market risk. We use cash, futures and option contracts to hedge changes to the commodity prices of corn and natural gas. We do not enter into these derivative financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes, nor do we designate these contracts as hedges for accounting purposes.

Interest Rate Risk

We are exposed to market risk from changes in interest rates. Exposure to interest rate risk results primarily from our Term Loan, Declining Loan, Revolving Credit Loan and Grain Loadout Facility Loan (formerly Construction Loan) which bear variable interest rates.  The interest rate for the Term Loan is the 3-month LIBOR rate plus 290 basis points with no minimum. There were borrowings in the amount of approximately $10,272,000 outstanding on the Term Loan and the applicable interest rate was 4.60% at March 31, 2018. The interest rate on the Declining Loan is the 3-month LIBOR plus 290 basis points with no minimum. There were no borrowings outstanding on the Declining Loan and the applicable interest rate was 4.60% at March 31, 2018. The interest rate for the Revolving Credit Note is the 1-month LIBOR rate plus 290 basis points with no minimum. There were no outstanding balances on the Revolving Credit Note at March 31, 2018 and the applicable interest rate was 4.57%. The interest rate on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan is the 3-month LIBOR plus 290 basis points with no minimum. There were borrowings in the amount of approximately $9,703,000 outstanding on the Grain Loadout Facility Loan and the applicable interest

28


rate was 4.91% at March 31, 2018. The specifics of the Term Loan, Declining Loan, the Revolving Credit Loan and the Grain Loadout Facility Loan are discussed in greater detail above. If we were to experience a 10% adverse change in LIBOR, the annual effect such change would have on our statement of operations, based on the amount we had outstanding on our variable interest rate loans at March 31, 2018, would be approximately $95,000.

Commodity Price Risk

We expect to be exposed to market risk from changes in commodity prices.  Exposure to commodity price risk results from our dependence on corn in the ethanol production process and the sale of ethanol.

We seek to minimize the risks from fluctuations in the prices of raw material inputs, such as corn and natural gas, and finished products, such as ethanol and distiller's grains, through the use of hedging instruments. In practice, as markets move, we actively manage our risk and adjust hedging strategies as appropriate. Although we believe our hedge positions accomplish an economic hedge against our future purchases and sales, management has chosen not to use hedge accounting, which would match the gain or loss on our hedge positions to the specific commodity purchase being hedged. We are using fair value accounting for our hedge positions, which means as the current market price of our hedge positions changes, the realized or unrealized gains and losses are immediately recognized in our cost of goods sold or as an offset to revenues. The immediate recognition of hedging gains and losses can cause net income to be volatile from quarter to quarter due to the timing of the change in value of the derivative instruments relative to the cost and use of the commodity being hedged.

We enter into forward contracts for our commodity purchases and sales on a regular basis.  It is our intent that, as we enter in to these contracts, we will use various hedging instruments to maintain a near even market position.  For example, if we have 1 million bushels of corn under fixed price contracts we would generally expect to enter into a short hedge position to offset our price risk relative to those bushels we have under fixed price contracts.  Because our ethanol marketing company is selling substantially all of the gallons it markets on a spot basis we also include the corn bushel equivalent of the ethanol we have produced that is inventory but not yet priced as bushels that need to be hedged.

The following table provides details regarding the gains and (losses) from our derivative instruments in the statements of operations, none of which are designated as hedging instruments, for the three and six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017:
 
Three Months Ended
Three Months Ended
Six Months Ended
Six Months Ended
 
March 31, 2018
March 31, 2017
March 31, 2018
March 31, 2017
Corn Futures and Options Contracts
$
(437,723
)
$
162,724

$
(181,388
)
$
556,596

Ethanol Futures and Options Contracts
(252,292
)
1,384,770

(325,076
)
1,346,560

Natural Gas Futures and Options Contracts
36,584

62,845

157,013

133,830

Soybean Futures and Options Contracts
(753,160
)
(2,208
)
(929,987
)
(2,208
)
Soybean Forward Contracts
804,575


931,728


Totals
$
(602,016
)
$
1,608,131

$
(347,710
)
$
2,034,778


These soybean contracts will be marked to market as the contract periods expire. This means that any gains or losses realized will be recognized in our gross margin at each month end until they are delivered upon.  Due to the volatility and risk involved in the commodities market, we cannot be certain that these gains or losses will be realized. 

As corn prices move in reaction to market trends and information, our income statement will be affected depending on the impact such market movements have on the value of our derivative instruments. Depending on market movements, crop prospects and weather, these price protection positions may cause immediate adverse effects, but are expected to produce long-term positive growth for us.

A sensitivity analysis has been prepared to estimate our exposure to ethanol, distillers grains, corn oil, corn and natural gas price risk. Market risk related to these factors is estimated as the potential change in income resulting from a hypothetical 10% adverse change in the average cost of our corn and natural gas and average ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil prices as of March 31, 2018 net of the forward and future contracts used to hedge our market risk. The volumes are based on our expected use and sale of these commodities for a one year period from March 31, 2018. The results of this analysis, which may differ from actual results, are approximately as follows:


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Estimated Volume Requirements for the next 12 months (net of forward and futures contracts)
Unit of Measure
Hypothetical Adverse Change in Price as of March 31, 2018
Approximate Adverse Change to Income
Natural Gas
3,382,800

MMBTU
10
%

$
400,590

Ethanol
129,632,400

Gallons
10
%

$
19,185,595

Corn
43,497,600

Bushels
10
%

$
15,920,068

DDGs
1,850,400

Tons
10
%

$
28,246,472

Corn Oil
32,290,800

Pounds
10
%

$
658,661

Soybeans
9,000,000

Bushels
10
%

$
7,478,485


Liability Risk

We participate in a captive reinsurance company (the “Captive”).  The Captive re-insures losses related to worker's compensation, commercial property and general liability.  Premiums are accrued by a charge to income for the period to which the premium relates and is remitted by our insurer to the captive re-insurer.  The Captive re-insures catastrophic losses in excess of a predetermined amount.  Our premiums are structured such that we have made a prepaid collateral deposit estimated for losses related to the above coverage.  The Captive insurer has estimated and collected an amount in excess of the estimated losses but less than the catastrophic loss limit insured by the Captive. We cannot be assessed in excess of the amount in the collateral fund.

Item 4.  Controls and Procedures
 
Disclosure Controls and Procedures

Our management is responsible for maintaining disclosure controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed in the reports that the Company files or submits under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the Securities and Exchange Commission's rules and forms. In addition, the disclosure controls and procedures must ensure that such information is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, as appropriate, to allow timely decisions regarding required financial and other required disclosures.

Our management, including our Chief Executive Officer (the principal executive officer), Jeff Painter, along with our Chief Financial Officer (the principal financial officer), William Dartt, have reviewed and evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures (as defined in Rule 13a-15(e) and Rule 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act) as of March 31, 2018.  Based on this review and evaluation, these officers have concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures are effective to ensure that information required to be disclosed in the reports that we file or submit under the Exchange Act is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods required by the forms and rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and to ensure that the information required to be disclosed by an issuer in the reports that it files or submits under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our management including our principal executive and principal financial officers, or persons performing similar functions, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosure.

Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting

There were no changes in our internal control over financial reporting during our second quarter of our 2018 fiscal year that have materially affected, or are likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.

PART II.     OTHER INFORMATION

Item 1. Legal Proceedings

Patent Infringement

On June 27, 2008, we entered into a Tricanter Purchase and Installation Agreement with ICM, Inc. for the construction and installation of a Tricanter Oil Separation System. On February 12, 2010, GS CleanTech Corporation ("GS CleanTech") filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, claiming that the Company's operation of the oil recovery system manufactured and installed by ICM, Inc. infringes a patent claimed by GS CleanTech. GS CleanTech sought royalties and damages associated with the alleged infringement, as well as attorney's fees from the Company. GS CleanTech subsequently filed actions against at least fourteen other ethanol producing companies for infringement of its patent rights, adding

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several additional patents. GS CleanTech successfully petitioned for the cases to be joined in a multi-district litigation ("MDL") which was assigned to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Case No. 1:10-ml-02181). We subsequently answered and counterclaimed that the patent claims at issue are invalid and that the Company is not infringing.

Motions for summary judgment were filed by the defendants, including the Company, and GS CleanTech. Meanwhile, GS CleanTech filed suit against another group of defendants which were joined with the MDL. On October 23, 2014, the United States District Court granted summary judgment finding that all of the patents claimed by GS CleanTech were invalid and that the Company had not infringed. In addition, on September 15, 2016, the United States District Court granted summary judgment finding that the patents were invalid due to inequitable conduct before the US Patent and Trademark Office by the inventors and their attorneys. GS CleanTech has asked the United States District Court to reconsider its decision regarding inequitable conduct. In addition, GS CleanTech and its attorneys filed a Notice of Appeal. The defendants have since settled with the attorneys for GS CleanTech.

On February 16, 2010, ICM, Inc. agreed to indemnify the Company from and against all claims, demands, liabilities, actions, litigations, losses, damages, costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees arising out of any claim of infringement of patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights by reason of our purchase and use of the oil recovery system and agrees to defend the Company. Several of the other defendants also use equipment and processes provided by ICM, Inc. ICM, Inc. has, and we expect it will continue, to vigorously defend itself and the Company in this lawsuit and in any appeal filed by GS CleanTech. If GS CleanTech were to be successful in any appeal filed and allowed to continue to pursue its claims, we estimate that damages, if awarded, would be based on a reasonable royalty to, or lost profits of, GS CleanTech. Because of its rulings, it seems unlikely that the District Court would deem the case exceptional. However, in the event it would be deemed to be exceptional, attorney's fees may be awarded and are likely to be $1,000,000 or more. ICM, Inc. has also agreed to indemnify us. However, in the event that damages were to be awarded, if ICM, Inc. does not fully indemnify us for any reason, we could be liable and could also be required to cease use of our oil separation process and seek out a replacement or cease oil production altogether.

Air Permit

On January 4, 2018, we received a letter from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Office of Air Quality (“IDEM”) alleging violations of our air permit.  IDEM alleges that we (i) constructed and operated a fermenter without previous construction or operational approval; (ii) constructed and operated emission units (conveyors and legs) without the appropriate emission controls (two baghouses instead of one larger baghouse); (iii) constructed and operated emission units (steel bins) without emission controls; and (iv) operated emission units above the emission limits.  IDEM indicates that it intends to refer this matter for formal enforcement action.  We are currently reviewing the allegations and providing IDEM with additional information.  While we believe that we have certain defenses to these allegations, we are currently unable to determine with any certainty the outcome of this matter including the extent of any potential monetary sanctions that may result.

Item 1A.    Risk Factors
    
The following risk factors are provided due to material changes from the risk factors previously disclosed in our annual report on Form 10-K. The risk factors set forth below should be read in conjunction with the risk factors section and the Management's Discussion and Analysis section for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017, included in our annual report on Form 10-K.

Our Trading Division business is affected by the supply and demand of commodities, and is sensitive to factors outside of our control. Adverse price movements could negatively affect our profitability and results of operations.  Our Trading Division buys, sells and holds inventories of agricultural commodities, some of which are readily traded on commodity futures exchanges. Unfavorable weather conditions, both local and worldwide, as well as other factors beyond our control, can affect the supply and demand of these commodities and expose us to liquidity pressures to finance hedges in the grain business in rapidly rising markets. Increased costs of inventory and prices of raw material would decrease our profit margins and adversely affect our results of operations. While we attempt to manage the risk associated with commodity price changes for our grain inventory positions with derivative instruments, including purchase and sale contracts, we are unable to offset 100% of the price risk of each transaction due to timing, availability of futures and options contracts and third-party credit risk. Furthermore, there is a risk that the derivatives we employ will not be effective in offsetting all of the risks that we are trying to manage. This can happen when the derivative and the underlying value of grain inventories and purchase and sale contracts are not perfectly matched. Our grain derivatives, for example, do not perfectly correlate with the basis component of our grain inventory and contracts. (Basis is defined as the difference between the local cash price of a commodity and the corresponding exchange-traded futures price.) Differences can reflect time periods, locations or product forms. Although the basis component is smaller and generally less volatile than the futures component of our grain market price, basis moves on a large grain position can significantly impact the profitability of the Trading Division. Our futures, options and over-the-counter contracts are subject to margin calls. If there are large movements in the

31


commodities market, we could be required to post significant levels of margin, which would impact our liquidity. There is no assurance that the efforts we have taken to mitigate the impact of the volatility of the prices of commodities upon which we rely will be successful and any sudden change in the price of these commodities could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We face intense competition in our Trading Division. We face significant competition in our Trading Division and we have numerous competitors, some of which are larger and have greater financial resources than we have. Competition could cause us to lose market share and talented employees, exit certain lines of business, increase marketing or other expenditures or reduce pricing, each of which could have an adverse effect on our business and profitability.
Government policies and regulations, particularly those affecting the agricultural sector and related industries, could adversely affect our operations and profitability.  Agricultural commodity production and trade flows are significantly affected by government policies and regulations. Governmental policies affecting the agricultural industry, such as taxes, tariffs, duties, subsidies, import and export restrictions on agricultural commodities and commodity products can influence industry profitability, the planting of certain crops versus other uses of agricultural resources, the location and size of crop production, whether unprocessed or processed commodity products are traded and the volume and types of imports and exports. In addition, international trade disputes can adversely affect agricultural commodity trade flows by limiting or disrupting trade between countries or regions. Future governmental policies, regulations or actions affecting our industry may adversely affect the supply of, demand for and prices of our products, restrict our ability to do business and cause our financial results to suffer.
Our Trading Division uses derivative contracts to reduce volatility in the commodity markets. Non-performance by the counter-parties to those contracts could adversely affect our future results of operations and financial position. A significant amount of our commodity purchases and sales are done through forward contracting. In addition, we use exchange traded and to a lesser degree over-the-counter contracts to reduce volatility in changing commodity prices. A significant adverse change in commodity prices could cause a counter-party to one or more of our derivative contracts to not perform on their obligation.
If a substantial portion of our inventory becomes damaged or obsolete, its value would decrease and our profit margins would suffer. We may carry significant amounts of inventory in our Trading Division. The value of our inventories could decrease due to deterioration in the quality of our grain inventory due to damage, moisture, insects, disease or foreign material. If the quality of our grain were to deteriorate below an acceptable level, the value of our inventory could decrease significantly.
Item 2. Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds
    
None.

Item 3. Defaults Upon Senior Securities

None.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

None.

Item 5. Other Information

None.

Item 6. Exhibits.

(a)
The following exhibits are filed as part of this report.

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Exhibit No.
 
Exhibit
3.1

 
31.1

 
31.2

 
32.1

 
32.2

 
101

 
The following financial information from Cardinal Ethanol, LLC's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2018, formatted in XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language): (i) Condensed Balance Sheets as of March 31, 2018 and September 30, 2017, (ii) Condensed Statements of Operations for the three and six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017, (iii) Condensed Statements of Cash Flows for the six months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017, and (iv) the Notes to Condensed Unaudited Financial Statements.**

*    Filed herewith.
**    Furnished herewith.

SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized.
 
 
 
CARDINAL ETHANOL, LLC
 
 
 
 
Date:
May 8, 2018
 
/s/ Jeffrey Painter
 
 
 
Jeffrey Painter
 
 
 
President and Chief Executive Officer
 
 
 
(Principal Executive Officer)
 
 
 
 
Date:
May 8, 2018
 
/s/ William Dartt
 
 
 
William Dartt
 
 
 
Chief Financial Officer
 
 
 
(Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)
    

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