Amyris Surges on Plans to Resume Production, Profit Forecast

Amyris Inc., the biotechnology company part-owned by Total SA, surged the most in 13 months after announcing plans to resume production at its plant in Brazil and forecasting profitability next year.

Amyris gained 26 percent to $4.55 at the close in New York, the most since Dec. 31, 2012.

The company, based in Emeryville, California, expects to become cash-flow positive from operations this year and to “become profitable” in 2015, Chief Executive Officer John Melo said yesterday on a conference call with analysts.

The company said its Brotas, Brazil, facility will resume production of farnesene when the sugarcane harvest begins in March after closing for annual maintenance. Amyris also began making fragrance oils in volume in the fourth quarter, a high-margin product used in consumer goods including detergent and perfume.

“Going forward, you should not think of Brotas as a farnesene-only plant but a true biorefinery,” Melo said. “We believe we have put to rest any lingering doubts about our ability to manufacture renewable products.”

Amyris uses genetically modified microorganisms to convert plant-sugars into fragrance oils and farnesene, a hydrocarbon that can be processed into fuels or specialty chemicals.

The Brotas facility “is reportedly running at metrics similar to the lab,” and production costs last year fell by about two-thirds, Rob Stone, an analyst at Cowen & Co., wrote today in a note to investors. He upgraded the company’s shares to the equivalent of hold, raising his 12-month price target to $3.50 from $3.

Total, France’s largest oil producer, owns about 18 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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