We have another initial public offering most likely coming this way. Ceres, Inc. has filed to come public in an IPO and will trade under the “CERE” ticker on NASDAQ. No financial terms were set as far as a number of shares or price range other than that the filing is initially for up to $100,000,000.00 in common stock. The underwriters were named as Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital.
Ceres is an agricultural biotechnology outfit that sells seeds to produce renewable biomass feedstocks that can enable the large-scale replacement of petroleum and other fossil fuels. It uses a combination of advanced plant breeding and biotechnology to develop new crops (dedicated energy crops) to address the limitations of first-generation bioenergy feedstocks like corn and sugarcane. It also aims to increase biomass productivity, reduce crop inputs and improve cultivation on marginal land. The company is based in Thousand Oaks, California and was incorporated under Delaware Law in 1996.
The company develops low input dedicated energy crops which produce high yields of biomass per acre using innovative plant breeding and trait biotechnology. The aim is to make biomass scalable, sustainable and economical. The company’s proprietary collection of energy crop parent lines are called germplasm and are in combination in a pipeline of biotechnology traits that allows it to develop bioenergy feedstocks to meet the needs of both biomass refineries and growers of biomass. The aim is also to reduce water and fertilizer use for row crops like corn or soybean.
Ceres has received multiple competitive grants and collaborations, including a United States Agency for International Development grant and one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s first Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy grants in 2009, as well as a $137 million multi-year collaboration with Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) signed in 2002. Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) owns 6.4% of Ceres.
For all practical purposes, Ceres is pre-revenue. Revenues for its year-end as of August 31, 2010 were a total of $6.614 million, but over $6.3 million of that was listed as collaborative research and government grants and only $288,000 was listed from product sales.
JON C. OGG