Amyris: 2014 was a transformative year

By Erin Voegele | February 25, 2015

Amyris Inc. has released financial results for 2014. During an investor call, John Melo, president and CEO of the company, called 2014 a transformative year for Amyris, noting the company delivered on the promise of its technology by manufacturing two breakthrough molecules at industrial scale. Those molecules are used in a range of sectors, from consumer care to transportation. Melo also said Amyris realized record low production costs, continued to maintain a check on its operating expenses, and with successful financing efforts, ended the year in a strong year-end cash position.

Melo said Amyris achieved an average franesene cash production cost of $3.40 for the full year 2014, a level that is better than the company’s best runs in 2013. During the fourth quarter, the farnesene cash cost was below $3 per liter, with a record cash production cost of less than $2.50 per liter achieved in November.

During the call, Melo also described progress the company has made with its fragrance and emollient products, and said Amyris is commercializing its research and development capabilities with extended collaborations through its MicroPharm platform. Last year, Melo said the company achieved collaboration inflows of about $35 million from about 10 partners.

Amyris reported total revenues of $11.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2014, down from $15.4 million for the same period of 2013. Product sales for the quarter were $4.7 million, up 5 percent from the same period of the previous year. Collaborations and grants revenues were $6.9 million for the quarter, down 37 percent from the previous year.

Total revenues for 2014 were $43.3 million, up from $41.1 million in 2013. The increase is was attributed a nearly 50 percent increase in product sales, which was partially offset by a decline in revenue recognized from government grants. Net income attributable to Amyris common stockholders was $2.3 million, or 3 cents per basic share. Adjusted net loss attributable to Amyris common stockholders was $114.2 million, or $1.46 per share, compared to a net loss of $112.4 million, or $1.49 per share, in 2013.

Regarding the company’s fuels collaboration with Total, Melo said Amyris expects to keep its fuels business down to about 10 percent of product revenue, or less than 5 percent overall revenue this year. This keeps volumes for fuels outside of the Total venture flat. In comparison, Melo indicated fuels represented approximately 20 percent of the company’s product revenue last year.

Moving into 2015, Melo said Amyris plans to expand its renewable product portfolio and expand its collaboration partnerships in to new markets, such as biopharmaceuticals. The company is expected to achieve positive cash flow from operations during the first quarter of this year, and deliver more than $100 million in revenue in 2015. He added that while 2015 revenues will continue to come primarily from collaborations, product sales, excluding fuels, are expected to more than double this year.

Melo also noted that Amyris’s Brotas biorefinery in Brazil is currently producing two fermentation molecules that are performing at lower-than-expected costs. As the company expands its partnerships, it plans to produce a third fermentation molecule at Brotas this year.

During the investor call, Melo stressed Amyris is focusing on two market segments, including emollients, and industrial cleaning and solvents. He added that the company will form joint ventures or sell its technology in certain circumstances, where access to capital and the available returns on capital are less than 20 percent. He offered the company’s relationship with Total as an example of a strong joint venture, noting the relationship is a win-win as Amryis can focus on where it can have the greatest value while Total is much better suited to scale in the fuels market. The partnership is on a path to produce high performance jet and diesel fuels that cost less than $1 per liter.

On Feb. 24, the same day Amyris released its 2014 financial results, the company announced it has entered into a common stock purchase agreement under which it may, from time to time, sell up to $50 million of its common stock to Nomis Bay Ltd. over a 24-month period.

"This facility provides us with a flexible source of common stock financing as our business grows, allowing us to strategically manage whether and when to draw on the facility based on market dynamics and other considerations," Melo said in a statement.

According to Amyris, it will control the timing and amount of any sale of common stock to Nomis Bay and will know the price before instructing Nomis Bay to purchase shares. When and if Amyris elects to use the facility, the company will issue shares to Nomis Bay at a discount to the volume weighted average price of Amyris’s common stock over a preceding period of trading days. Nomis Bay has no right to require sales by the company, but is obligated to make purchases as the company directs. The facility does not impose limitations on the use of proceeds, financial covenants, restrictions on future financings, rights of first refusal, participation rights, penalties or liquidated damages. No warrants were issued in conjunction with initiating this facility. Reedland Capital Partners, an institutional division of Financial West Group, member FINRA/SIPC, will act as placement agent in connections with the financing. Amyris said additional details will be provided in regulatory filings associated with the transaction.