A billion-dollar opportunity inspired some resourceful brothers to find a funding shortcut.
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Brothers Tom and Neil Koehler got into the renewable energybusiness long before being green was cool. Now their company,Pacific Ethanol, is red-hot. When recent changes in California lawcreated an instant billion-gallon demand for ethanol, the brothersimmediately drew up plans for a network of new ethanol productionplants.
Their first plan to raise the $50 million needed for each plantwas an IPO, but that would have taken too long. So in March,Pacific Ethanol purchased a defunct public company shell, allowingthe Koehlers to sell over $21 million in stock to publicinvestors--not bad for a 24-person company.
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