Ceres announces fiscal and business updates

By Chris Hanson | April 11, 2014

Ceres Inc. released its second quarter financial results and an update on its efforts in Brazil during a webcast on April 10.

Total revenues were down to $500,000 during the second quarter of 2014, as compared to the second quarter of 2013, due to a decrease in collaborative research and government grant revenue, but product sales remained relatively unchanged as compared to the same quarter in 2013, explained Paul Kuc, chief financial officer of Ceres. “For the quarter ended February 28, Ceres reported a net loss of $7.2 million, compared to a net loss of $9 million for the second quarter of the prior fiscal year.”

In addition to its fiscal performance, Richard Hamilton, CEO of Ceres Inc., shared the company’s sorghum progress in Brazil, where it is trying to pursue two major markets with its hybrids, ethanol production and biomass power generation. “For the ethanol season extension opportunity, we believe we need to achieve yields in the range of 2,500 to 3,000 liters ethanol per hectare for commercialization,” he said. “Likewise, for our biopower opportunity we believe we need to achieve yields per hectare in the range of 35 to 40 metric tons of biomass as measured at 50 percent moisture content to achieve broad adoption of our high biomass sorghum packers.”

Weather has played a predominant role in Brazil this year, which is one of the reasons why the company has worked to mitigate this factor with multiple plantings across a broad geography, Hamilton explains. “We have significantly increased the number of plantings we had over last year,” he adds. “At the beginning of the season, our plantings experienced generally favorable conditions, which led to good establishment rates and a good start to the growing season. Since then, conditions have been variable and dryer than normal over all in south-central Brazil, with severe dry and hot spells affecting several regions within our sorghum evaluation areas.”

“Assuming we continue to have favorable conditions through the end of the harvest, we expect to generate enough yield and performance data to make well-informed decisions regarding product advancements and selections for various productions regions in Brazil next season,” Hamilton explains. Based on 40 evaluation sites, Ceres agronomists estimated 65 percent of the sites are in good to excellent condition, and 35 percent are in fair condition.