Current Case

ADM Profits From Not Selling Its Product While Other Ethanol Producers Pay the Cost

DiCello Levitt seeks damages from ADM for ethanol market manipulation.

On October 26, 2021, Green Plains, Inc., and its subsidiaries, filed a lawsuit against Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) for illegally manipulating the ethanol market to the detriment of other businesses in the industry, including Green Plains.

As both a seller and trader of ethanol, ADM was able to exploit the market for the product. ADM sells ethanol into cash markets, including a cash spot market at the Kinder Morgan Argo Terminal in Illinois—the price reference point for most physical and financial ethanol transactions worldwide.

From November 2017 through at least September 2019, ADM’s commodities traders routinely acquired financial derivative contracts that increased in value as the price of ethanol at the Argo Terminal went down. ADM flooded the physical market with barges of the product and simultaneously inundated commodities exchanges with ethanol sell orders at lowball prices, creating the appearance that there was an oversupply of ethanol in the markets.

With the disproportionate size of its derivative market share, and although it could have sold the ethanol more profitably elsewhere, ADM took the financial blow in sales in favor of a trading boom. ADM’s competitors didn’t fare nearly as well.

Green Plains, one of the largest ethanol producers in the world, sold billions of gallons of ethanol while ADM was corruptly distorting the price of ethanol. As a result, Green Plains and its subsidiaries lost billions of dollars in revenue as a direct result of ADM’s self-serving misconduct. DiCello Levitt represents Green Plains and intends to recoup the losses that the company sustained because of ADM’s misconduct.