Finding a buyer for the idled KiOR biofuels plant at Columbus would be a tough sell, according to Pavel Molchanov, an equity analyst who had covered Pasadena, Texas-based KiOR Inc. until it filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 9.

The state will be fortunate to recoup 10 percent to 15 percent of the $69.4 million balance left in a $75 million no-interest loan it made for the plant at Columbus, said Molchanov, who is employed by Raymond James and Associates, which is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware left out the plant, which never produced gasoline or diesel fuel in the quantity and quality needed to make a success of the venture.

Molchanov said the loan is secured by the $218 million plant, “which even on the best of days never functioned particularly well.” It stopped producing fuel in January 2014. At the time, it employed 100, compared with the promise to create 1,000 jobs at several facilities in the state.

The plant may well be sold for scrap, Molchanov said.

“Unfortunately, the state of Mississippi is going to be left high and dry,” he said.

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