February 7, 2023
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Ceres loses $9.3M, missing estimates


Thousand Oaks-based agricultural biotech firm Ceres’ third-quarter net loss widened to $9.3 million, or 38 cents per share, on revenue of $1.4 million, it said July 11.

The energy crop firm attributed the higher loss to added expenses from expanding business operations in Brazil and higher-than-expected variability in how much fuel its crops can produce. The company also saw a jump in revenue from $1.1 million to $1.4 million, due to a $400,000 increase in product sales, offset slightly by a decrease in government grants.

Last year, Ceres lost $8.4 million, or 34 cents per share, in the third quarter.

Increases in expenses included an extra $1 million for sales incentives and promotional programs in Brazil and an added $1.2 million in selling, general and administrative costs related to broader business operations. At the same time, research and development costs dropped from $5.3 million to $4.1 million because of reduced personnel and external expenses.

The company’s revenue surpassed analysts’ expectations of $890,000, but its loss was steeper than the projected 31 cents per share, according to a survey of six analysts by Thomson Financial Networks.

Ceres President and CEO Robert Hamilton said that while crop yields in Brazil grew by an average of 50 percent from last year, he expects sweet sorghum seed sales to rise more slowly than expected because of unforeseen swings in how much ethanol can be squeezed from its crops.

“While further optimizations and additional hybrids are needed to consistently achieve high yields across wide-area plantings, we believe that we are well positioned to take a leading role in the ongoing development of the sweet sorghum market in Brazil,” Hamilton said in the earnings statement.