Amyris secures additional financing to boost working capital

By Bryan Sims | March 01, 2012

Emeryville, Calif.-based synthetic fuels and chemicals firm Amyris Inc. has completed a $58.7 million private placement of its common stock and entered into a definitive agreement to privately place $25 million in aggregate principal amount of 3 percent senior unsecured notes due 2017 as means to boost working capital for this year.

The private placement of its common stock included existing investors Temasek Holdings, Total Gas & Power USA, SAS and Naxyris SA, an affiliate of NAXOS Capital Partners, as well as new investor Biolding Investment SA.

The common stock transaction included a commitment on the part of Biolding to invest an additional $15 million in common stock upon satisfaction by Amyris on criteria associated with the commissioning of its Paraiso Bioenergia SA production plant in Brazil by March 31, 2013. The addition of this conditional $15 million in funding would bring the total amount raised in connection with these equity and note transactions to $98.7 million.  

Amyris specializes in utilizing a fermentation-based pathway to convert various biobased sources into the hydrocarbon oil farnesene—trademarked Biofene—which can be hydrogenated into a range of fuels such as renewable diesel or converted into squalene, a high-value moisturizer agent used in the cosmetics industry, as well as biobased alternatives for flavors, fragrances, polymers, lubricants and consumer products.

“This renewed commitment of our investors puts Amyris on strong financial footing and reinforces our ability to scale up our technology,” stated John Melo, president and CEO of Amyris. “From fuels to chemicals and beyond, Amyris is delivering renewable alternatives to petroleum-based products.”

In February, Melo told analysts and investors during a conference call that “2011 was a year of accomplishment and a year of learning.” He added that the company was seeking to raise equity financing this year and stated the company ran into operating deficiencies at a contract manufacturing site in Brazil, adding that production of Biofene this year would fall short of reaching its previously stated goal of 40 to 50 million liters.

Amyris launched three Biofene production facilities last year that produced initial volumes and began commercial sales of squalene and renewable diesel, but the company discovered that “It takes time to translate from peak yield levels in the lab to maintain those yields over longer operational periods in the field,” Melo told investors on the February call.