NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Pacific Ethanol Inc. (PEIX - Get Report) are higher by 9% to $10.17 in after-hours trading on Wednesday afternoon, following the company's fourth quarter earnings results which beat analysts' expectations for the period.

The company, which markets and produces low-carbon renewable fuels in the Western U.S., said its adjusted net earnings for the most recent quarter were 41 cents per diluted share versus the 15 cents analysts had predicted for the quarter.

Net sales for the 2014 fourth quarter grew to $256.2 million, compared to the $246.37 million analysts were anticipating.

The company said the rise in revenue can be attributed to an increase in total gallons sold.

"Our record financial and operating results in 2014 are a culmination of numerous efficiency and debt reduction initiatives we implemented over the past several years combined with strong market fundamentals. With our solid balance sheet and cash flow, we are both reinvesting in our production assets and pursuing a merger with Aventine that will redefine Pacific Ethanol's competitive position in the ethanol industry, making us the fifth largest ethanol producer and marketer in the country," company CEO Neil Koehler said.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates PACIFIC ETHANOL INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PACIFIC ETHANOL INC (PEIX) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PEIX Ratings Report

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