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VeraSun Delaying Start of Another Ethanol Plant

Ethanol maker VeraSun Energy said Wednesday it delayed opening a newly constructed facility because of weak margins for the biofuel, the third time in a month the company has postponed a start-up.

The 110-million gallon per year Hankinson, N.D., plant was expected to begin operations this month. The company previously delayed start-up at plants in Welcome, Minn., and Hartley, Iowa.

Ethanol is currently being sold at a steep discount to gasoline, which is weighing on margins amid the surge in corn prices, VeraSun said.

VeraSun shares have tumbled 74 percent in 2008.