May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Solazyme Inc., a U.S. biofuel company that produces oil from algae, advanced the most in two weeks after reporting a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss.
Solazyme gained 10 percent to $9.70 at the close in New York, the most since April 24. The shares have gained 23 percent this year.
The net loss was $26.5 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with a loss of $16.8 million, or 28 cents, a year earlier, the South San Francisco, California-based company said in a statement released yesterday after the close of regular trading.
Excluding some expenses including stock-based compensation, the company lost 35 cents a share, six cents better than the average of seven estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Facilities being developed in France, Brazil and the U.S. are on schedule to begin commercial production by early 2014 and will reach full capacity in 12 to 18 months, Solazyme Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Wolfson said yesterday on a call with analysts. It has $239 million of cash on hand.
“The balance sheet is also in great shape, with by far the largest cash balance in the peer group,” Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in Houston, wrote in a note to investors today. Molchanov, who rates the shares the equivalent of a buy with a 12-month price target of $10.50, said he expects Solazyme to begin commercial-scale production within 12 months, “unquestionably the first player in the algae arena to claim such a feat.”
Solazyme makes oils from sugar-consuming algae that are processed into fuel and specialty chemicals.
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