Welcome to the REX American Resources Fiscal 2019 Fourth Quarter Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]
I would now like to turn the conference over to Doug Bruggeman, Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead.
Douglas L. Bruggeman
Thank you. Good morning, and thank you for joining REX American Resources fiscal 2019 fourth quarter conference call. We'll get to our presentation and comments momentarily as well as your question-and-answer session. But first, I'll review the safe harbor disclosure. In addition to historical facts or statements of current conditions, today's conference call contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties within the meanings of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current expectations and beliefs, but are not guarantees of future performance.
As such, actual results may vary materially from expectations. The risks and uncertainties associated with the forward-looking statements are described in today's news announcement and in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's reports on Form 10-K and 10-Q. REX American Resources assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
I have joining me on the call today, Stuart Rose, Executive Chairman of the Board; and Zafar Rizvi, Chief Executive Officer. I'll first review our financial performance, and then turn the call over to Stuart for his comments.
Sales for the quarter increased approximately 6.7%, primarily reflecting higher year-over-over ethanol pricing. Sales were based upon 65.9 million gallons this year versus 72.6 million gallons in the prior year fourth quarter. Sales for the full year were based upon 235.3 million gallons this year versus 285.8 million gallons in the prior year. The reduced ethanol gallons were primarily at the NuGen plant due to the impact of the wet weather interrupting rail service in the spring and ultimately fewer corn acres planted near the facility and the resulting impact on affordable corn in that area.
Gross profit for the ethanol and by-products segment increased for the fourth quarter from $5.4 million to $8.1 million, primarily due to improved crush spreads in the early part of the fourth quarter, which fell off as the quarter progressed. The refined coal segment had a gross loss of $1.5 million for this year's fourth quarter versus $3.2 million for the prior year with the decrease reflecting lower demand at the facility.
SG&A expense increased for the fourth quarter from $4.5 million to $5.6 million, largely due to higher ethanol freight charges recorded in SG&A due to certain contract terms. The Company recorded income from its unconsolidated equity investment of $1 million for the fourth quarter of this year versus the loss of $646,000 in the prior year. This improvement is consistent with ethanol industry conditions during those quarters.
We recognized tax benefit of $3.4 million in this year's fourth quarter versus a benefit of $4.6 million in the prior year's fourth quarter. The refined coal segment contributed a benefit of $1.5 million this year versus $4.8 million in the prior year fourth quarter, reflecting the aforementioned
Douglas L. Bruggeman
Vice President of Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Stuart A. Rose
Executive Chairman of the Board and Head of Corporate Development
Zafar A. Rizvi
President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
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