Amyris Surges After Total Raises Stake in Biofuel Venture

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Amyris Inc., a U.S. developer of biofuels, jumped the most in four months after the French oil company Total SA boosted its stake in their joint venture to spur commercial production of jet fuel made from plants.

Amyris gained 17 percent to $1.95 at the close in New York, the biggest one-day gain since Feb. 26.

The two companies formed a 50-50 joint venture in December 2013 to produce renewable fuels. The French oil producer will now own 75 percent after a restructuring agreement announced Tuesday by Emeryville, California-based Amyris. Total is also Amyris’s largest shareholder with a 20 percent stake as of January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Under the restructuring, Total and Temasek Holdings, the second-largest Amyris shareholder, are converting about $138 million in debt into common shares priced at $2.30 each. That’s a 37 percent premium over Monday’s closing price.

Amyris plans to restructure an additional $37 million in convertible debt. The moves will shore up its balance sheet and “open the way for proceeding with commercialization of its jet fuel technology over the coming years,” according to the statement.

Amyris uses genetically modified microorganisms to convert plant sugars into fuels and specialty chemicals.

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