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S.D. ethanol producer VeraSun Energy to sell assets to Valero Energy

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Ethanol producer VeraSun Energy Corp. said Friday it is selling assets to Valero Energy Corp. for $280 million amid difficult industry conditions and tight credit markets.

The assets include certain VeraSun production facilities in South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Indiana. The company will sell all production facilities and operations in separate or combined transactions.

"Given current difficult industry conditions and continued constrained credit markets, we believe that commencing a sale process is in the best interest of Company stakeholders," said Don Endres, VeraSun's chief executive.

Other companies have expressed interest in VeraSun's assets, excluding those included in the proposed Valero transaction.

VeraSun will hold an auction for other bidders to offer more favorable terms than Valero's bid. Bidders have until March 13 to submit qualifying bids. If qualifying bids are received, the company will conduct an auction on March 16.

VeraSun said it has enough liquidity to maintain production facilities and staff through the sale process.