Are IPOs good for early-stage companies and advanced biofuels?

Jim Lane Money trap photo via Bigstock  $104 million Elevance private financing round larger than last two IPOs; puts IPOs in focus; do the benefits outweigh the costs? Do advanced biofuels companies really need to be “thinking IPO”, industry leaders were asking this week after Elevance Renewable Sciences announced that it has raised $104 million in its Series E financing round. Lacustrine Limited via Genting Genomics Limited, wholly owned by Genting Berhad, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia led the round with Total Energy Ventures International, based in...

Controlling Feedstock Costs Creates Value in Biofuel Companies

Jim Lane Companies creating opportunities in feedstocks are getting lots of love from investors, and giant downstream partners like BP and Shell. What’s up in the new upstream? It has not escaped the attention of investors that Renewable Energy Group’s (REGI) IPO resulted in a $262 million valuation for a company actively earning $2.11 per share through the sale of 200 million+ gallons of biodiesel, while Ceres recently increased the target for its IPO to a valuation above $500 million, despite being, in essence, a pre-revenue company. What gives? The secret, it turns out, is in feedstock. In...

What Trump’s Victory Means For The Bioeconomy

Jim Lane In Washington, Donald Trump captured the US Presidency in an upset victory that confounded pollsters and political pundits even as it delighted supporters of his maverick candidacy based on themes of immigration and trade reform coupled with a message that government policies of the past generation had failed for too many Americans. An unexpected series of wins across US Midwestern states – capturing Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio which had gone for Obama in 2012 – provided a comfortable margin of victory in the Electoral College and the popular vote. 5 Themes Some immediate themes emerge...

Honeywell’s UOP: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Based in: Illinois Business: Honeywell’s UOP has developed a renewable jet fuel processing technology, as well as a joint venture. UOP and Ensyn announced the formation of a new joint venture, dubbed Envergent Technologies, that will market technologies and equipment for generating power, transportation fuel and heating oil from biomass using pyrolysis. The joint venture will utilize forest and agriculture residues as feedstocks in a Rapid Thermal process, where feedstocks are heated in the absence of oxygen, to produce pyrolysis oils that can be utilized directly in heating oil or power gen. UOP...

KiOR: “You’ve Cooked The Books”

by Jim Lane Note. This is Part 3 of our series on the inside true story of KiOR. In part 1 of our series here, and part 2 here. Our story so far KiOR was hanging by a thread as the summer of 2010 commenced. In a few days, the first recorded visitors to Pasadena demo unit, representatives of the Mississippi Development Authority, were expecting to see the demonstration unit in action. The company was beginning to hurtle towards an IPO. But the fuel yields were low; the fuel was not usable by their initial chosen downstream partner; the catalyst they were using...

Amyris’ “Fene Economy”

by Debra Fiakas CFA There are not many companies with the courage to stage an initial public offering, but renewable chemicals and materials producer Amyris, Inc. (AMRS:  Nasdaq) was undaunted.  The company sold 5.3 million shares at $16.00 earlier this month, raising $78.8 million in net proceeds.  Amyris has done fairly well in raising capital.  In December 2009, the Department of Energy awarded Amyris a $25.0 million grant to build a pilot plant that will produce diesel and petrochemical substitutes through the fermentation of sweet sorghum.  Then Temasek Holdings invested $47.8 million into the company. The Amyris vision...

Green Diesel At Scale

Jim Lane A now-complete 142 million gallon green diesel monster project will easily deliver big on renewable energy targets and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. But it also offers a material path to profits for its parents, Valero Energy and Darling International. In Louisiana, Darling International (DAR) announced that Diamond Green Diesel, the joint venture between Valero (VLO) subsidiary Diamond Alternative Energy LLC and Darling International , has reached mechanical completion and the startup process will lead to full production of renewable diesel. Once in full operations, the 9,300 barrel-per-day (142.5 million gallon) plant in Norco,...

Gevo: Are We There Yet?

by Debra Fiakas CFA The renewable chemicals and biofuel company Gevo, Inc. (GEVO:  Nasdaq) is scheduled to report fourth quarter 2013 financial results on March 25th.  Analysts have a couple of weeks to prepare questions for management during the earnings conference call.  Top on the list has to be got to be about Gevo’s recent agreement to license its novel isobutanol technology to Porta Hnos of Argentina.  Porta Hnos is a well established ethanol producer so if the license is consummated, it is expected that this partner has the ability to execute on plans to produce isobutanol for...

Corn Ethanol On The Chopping Block: Can Green Plains Escape?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate has put corn-based ethanol fuel on the chopping block.  The bill’s title says it all – Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013.  Put into place in 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard required refiners and blenders to use 16.6 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2013, of which approximately 13 billion gallons will be met through ethanol made from corn.  Support for the legislation is coming from all quarters.  It is not surprising that poultry, dairy and beef people would think this is a good idea,...

Another Sign of Ethanol Oversupply in the Midwest

Priming the E85 Pump This Sunday, I had dinner with my aunt, who lives in Chicago.  She recently bought an Impala LT (she's a loyal GM customer), and was surprised when she received a $1000 debit card with which to buy E-85, the 85% Ethanol, 15% gasoline blend used in flex-fuel vehicles.   I was not able to find any web reference to this offer (including on the GM website), but Google still had a cached article from HowStuffWorks.com which explained: To help defray fuel costs, GM, as part of its "Live Green, Go Yellow" E85 ethanol...

Neste Renewable Diesel Capacity Hits 2 Million Tons But Feedstock Constraints Loom

Finland’s Neste Oil Corporation (NEF: F) brought its fourth renewable diesel plant on-line in September 2011, earning bragging rights to the world’s largest facility of its kind.  Located at the Port of Rotterdam, the plant has the capacity to produce 800,000 metric tons of renewable diesel that Neste brands NExBTL and claims is the “cleanest and highest-quality renewable diesel on the market today.”  Along with Neste’s three other plants already in operation in Finland and Singapore the fourth plant in Denmark brings Neste’s total production capacity to 2.0 million metric tons per year.

The CapEx-OpEx Fallacy, Electric Cars, and Biofuels

Jim Lane “Electric power is cheap”, and “cellulosic biofuel costs less than $1.00 per gallon”. The Tesla Model S, from the unveiling on 26-Mar-2009. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons) So why isn’t everyone buying a Chevy Volt? And why can you get lower interest rates on your Visa Card than next-gen biofuel developers face? It’s the old capex-opex (Capital Expense vs. Operating Expense) fallacy. Earlier this week, a new study from researchers at UC Santa Barbara determined photovoltaics to be much more efficient than biomass at turning sunlight into energy to...

Gevo Boosts Revenue, Gets Favorable Ruling

Jim Lane 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,...

Aemetis’ Cellulosic Ethanol From Orchard Waste Project

by Jim Lane There were more than 100 presentations at ABLC last week and not a clunker amongst them, but if I were to point the reader’s attention at one or two that stood out from the rest because of the short-term or long-term implications, I’d start with the news from Aemetis (AMTX) that they are embarking now on a $158 million cellulosic ethanol plant — to be built in Riverbank, California, in partnership with LanzaTech. Cellulosic ethanol is selling for such a high price in California right now — the value jumps north of $4.00 per gallon at times —...

Renewable Fuels’ Dunkirk

by Jim Lane It’s been a very busy week in Washington DC, the high point being a letter to seven senators sent late Thursday by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who took significant (and as of a few days ago, unexpected) steps toward strengthening the foundation for ethanol and renewable fuels. The truth? It’s a Trump Administration back-down. EPA overreached on de-clawing the Renewable Fuel Standard on behalf on some grumpy oilpatch donors (known as GODs), and the Trump Administration managed to revive a Grand Alliance around renewable fuels — one that now includes almost 40 members of the United States Senate,...

Renewable Energy Group Raises $72 Million in Biodiesel IPO

Jim Lane In Iowa, the Renewable Energy Group IPO priced last night, and the company’s shares began trading Thursday on NASDAQ under the REGI symbol. The company sold 7.2 million shares at $10 per share, well below its midpoint target of $14 per share announced last week, with total proceeds of up to $82.8 million if all over-allotments are covered by underwriters. Without over-allotment sales, the offering will raise $72 million. UBS Securities LLC and Piper Jaffray & Co. are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated and Canaccord...
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