Thousand Oaks-based energy crop company Ceres could be booted from the Nasdaq stock exchange if it doesn’t get its share price back above $1 in the next six months.
Ceres said that it received a letter from the Nasdaq on April 28 notifying it that because its share price has lingered below $1 for 30 consecutive trading days, it may be delisted from the stock exchange. Ceres now has 180 days to get its share price back above a dollar. It must keep it there for at least 10 consecutive business days during that grace period. If it fails to do so, it may get an additional 18o-day grace period if it transfers the listing of its common stock to the Nasdaq Capital Market.
In March, Ceres raised $23 million in a secondary public stock offering and said it planned to use the funds to test its seeds in Brazil. The company is developing seeds for biofuel crops that can be grown in harsh conditions and won’t displace food crops. Its biggest push so far has been testing so-called sweet sorghum in Brazil, where sugarcane-derived ethanol is a major fuel source. Sugarcane can only supply fuel about 200 days a year, and Ceres is hoping its sweet sorghum will help ethanol producers fill in the production gaps on their calendars.
Quick access to capital was one of the primary reasons Ceres, which is still largely pre-commerical, went public and raised $65 million in 2012. Its market capitalization is now about $30 million. The company has never posted a profit and it still gets most of its revenue from research grants. It is burning through capital at a rapid clip, losing $8.2 million in its most recent quarter.
On Monday, it said it was expanding its research activities in Mexico. Its product development efforts there complement its activities in Brazil, it said.
Ceres’ shares closed down 4.1 percent to 58 cents on May 5. That compares with a share price of $2 range a year ago and a 52-week high of $5.60.