Energy crop company Ceres lost $6.8 million in the first quarter, it said in its first earnings report after going public in a $65.3 million IPO in late February.
The Thousand Oaks-based firm’s loss widened from $5.4 million a year earlier as revenue dropped from $1.6 million to $1.3 million. Despite a $100,000 increase in product revenue, boosted by sweet sorghum sales in Brazil, the company saw a $400,000 drop in research and government grants during the quarter.
Ceres is expanding its sweet sorghum seed business in Brazil and sees that as its largest commercial opportunity, President and CEO Richard Hamilton said in an earnings release. “We continue to take a leading role in supporting the mills in Brazil as they evaluate our current products at commercial scale. We have also established the local resources we need to develop and evaluate additional improved hybrids,” he said.
Brazilian ethanol mills began harvesting sweet sorghum produced from Ceres seeds in mid-to-late March, the CEO said. “Our second season of commercial-scale evaluations is underway, and our customers are producing ethanol during a time of year when their mills would have been otherwise idle,” Hamilton said. “This opportunity comes at a time when domestic Brazilian demand for ethanol is increasing and sugarcane supplies appear to be stretched thin.”