In Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) reported Q2 2015 revenues of $8.9M compared with $7.7M for Q2 2014, and Q2 loss of $6.5 million, compared with $9.0 million in Q2 2014. The increase in revenue during 2015 is primarily a result of the production and sale of approximately $8.0 million of ethanol, isobutanol and distiller’s grains at the Luverne plant. Hydrocarbon revenues were $0.8 million, primarily related to the shipment of bio-jet fuel and isooctane during the quarter.
The company highlighted a flight planned with Alaska Airlines, an upcoming wood waste-to-fuels flight with an undisclosed airline, fulfillment of alcohol-to-jet supply agreements with the Defense Logistics Agency, the first retail pump sales of isobutanol-blended gasoline, in Texas, an agreement with FCStone to originate and supply corn for Luverne plant and endorsement for Gevo’s isobutanol in the marine fuel market from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
Late-breaking news from the courts
Just as Gevo’s earnings were announced news filtered out from the US District Court for the District of Delaware in the complex Betamax vs Gevo patent litigation:
“On July 3, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware issued its determinations concerning several pending motions for summary judgment in Case Nos. 12-1036-SLR; 12-1200-SLR; and 12-1300-SLR. Specifically, the Court denied all of Butamax’s motions for summary judgment that Gevo, Inc., (the “Company’) infringed various claims of U.S Patent Nos. 8,241,878 (the ‘878 patent); 8,273,558 (the ‘558 patent); and 8,283,144 (the ‘144 patent). The Court granted one of the Company’s motions for summary judgment of invalidity regarding the asserted claims of the ‘878 patent, finding that the claims are not definite. The Court granted the Company’s motion for summary judgment that claim 3 of the ‘878 patent was not infringed under the doctrine of equivalents, and the Court granted the Company’s motion for summary judgment of no willful infringement. Disputes of fact regarding infringement and invalidity of the asserted claims of the ‘144 and ‘558 patents remain alive and are set to be included within a trial set for August 24, 2015.”
Gevo CEO Pat Gruber hailed the news.
“We have a trial set for August 24 in one of our ongoing patent litigations with Butamax. In this litigation, Butamax has asserted three patents against Gevo. We refer to these patents as the Butamax ‘144, ‘558, and ‘878 patents. In the litigation, as is typical, the parties filed various motions in an attempt to simplify the trial. Butamax filed motions seeking a summary judgment of infringement with respect to at least one claim in each of the asserted patents, and Gevo filed motions seeking summary judgments that the asserted claims of the ‘144, ‘558, and ‘878 patents are not valid, that claim 3 of the ‘878 patent was not infringed, and that Gevo had not willfully infringed any of the patents.
“Yesterday, the Court issued rulings on those motions. The Court denied all of Butamax’s motions for summary judgment of infringement of the asserted patents. It granted one of Gevo’s invalidity motions finding that the asserted claims of the ‘878 patent are not valid, because those claims are not definite and infringement cannot be determined. And, it found that Gevo has not willfully infringed any of the asserted patents, because Gevo’s defenses are credible.
“As such, factual disputes regarding infringement and invalidity of the ‘144 and ‘558 patents remain alive and will be included in the trial set for August 24.”
Comments from analysts and stakeholders
Cowen & Company energy analyst Jeffrey Osborne said: “Gevo continues to expand the commercialization applications for its isobutanol. The company has made meaningful entryways into the $1 billion/year marine fuels market. The alcohol-to-jet fuel market is a long-term strategic opportunity for the company as well. Lastly, management expects legal clarity on its pending litigation by 2H15.”
Looking at isobutanol fuels, Osborne added: “Management estimates that the addressable market for marine fuels is approximately $1 billion/yr. This is one of the nearer term opportunities for the company. We are also pleased to see the company securing its first service station to sell gasoline blended with Gevo’s renewable isobutanol. The Express Lube station in Texas will be selling the fuel for around $4.50/gallon, which is a premium over the E10 fuel that sells for close to $2.75. The fuel is primarily targeted towards marine, outdoor, and off-road applications.”
Meanwhile, Gevo CEO Pat Gruber said, “Our balance sheet is in its strongest position since the end of 2013 and this will support us in meeting the important milestones that we established earlier in the year, namely signing our first binding license agreement, securing ASTM certification for our alcohol-to-jet fuel and developing further strategic partnerships to propel our alcohol-to-hydrocarbons business. These are all targets that we still expect to achieve in 2015.”