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Business

Biobased Chemical Firms Survive Another Quarter

by Melody M. Bomgardner
May 18, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 20

First-quarter results from four biobased chemical makers reveal continued struggles to achieve reliable, commercial-scale production. At Amyris, sales of farnesene and squalene reached $7.9 million, up from $6.0 million in last year’s first quarter. The firm reported an adjusted net loss of $32.2 million compared with the prior period’s loss of $28.1 million. Production at the Amyris plant in Brazil was limited because of planned upgrades; the plant is now meeting targets, the firm says. BioAmber is looking ahead to the third quarter, when it expects to begin operations at its succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ontario. Net losses for the firm were $9.0 million, compared with $20.0 million last year, thanks to lower financial charges. Gevo’s quarterly revenues of $5.9 million came mainly from ethanol made at its plant in Luverne, Minn., where it is working to produce isobutyl alcohol in one of the plant’s fermentors. The company finished the quarter with only $4.4 million in cash. At Solazyme, sales of algal oils and food ingredients reached $8.8 million, and research programs brought in $3.8 million, but revenues were only slightly up from last year. The company says it is working to improve efficiency and production at its joint-venture plant in Brazil.

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