Gevo issues plant update, transfers common stock listing

By Erin Voegele | January 09, 2015

On Jan. 8, Gevo Inc. issued an update of operations at its Luverne, Minnesota, plant, reporting that the facility produced more than 50,000 gallons of biobased isobutanol in December. The company also recently announced the transfer of its common stock listing.

Gevo began side-by-side operations at its Luverne plant in June, with one fermenter dedicated to isobutnaol production and the other three dedicated to ethanol production. The company had set of goal of reaching isobutanol production levels of 50-100 gallons per month by the end of 2014. According to a statement released by Gevo, that goal was reached last month.

Gevo also reported it has recently implemented a second-generation yeast isobutanol biocatalyst at the facility that improves plant operability. Specifically, the new biocatalyst improved the isobutnaol fermentation rate by approximately 20 percent when compared to the best performing batch using first-generation yeast. It also can produce in operating conditions that enable further mitigation of potential infections and improves management of animal feed coproducts. According to Gevo, the second-generation yeast platform is a product of new yeast modification capability developed by Gevo that sppeds up the development and implementation of new traits in the company’s yeast through high-speed combinatorial techniques.

The update also indicates NAPA Myers Auto Parts recently began selling off-road fuel developed by Gulf Racing Fuels that contains blends of up to 16 percent of Gevo’s renewable isobutanol in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Minnesota. The fuel is used in boats, ATVs, motorcycles and snowmobiles.

In a statement, Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo, noted the anticipated benefits of switching the Luverne plant to side-by-side operations has borne out. “Producing alcohol in all four fermenters improves the operating environment for the optimization of our isobutanol production by creating a continuous and stable mash flow and a more consistent recycle of water through the plant. SBS has also dramatically improved the cash flow profile of the plant. In fact, we estimate that the plant operated at roughly an EBITDA breakeven level in November. Overall, we believe that we have made tremendous progress in proving out our isobutanol technology for potential licensees,” he said.

Approximately one week prior to issuing its operational update on Luverne, Gevo filed a notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announcing it has received approval from the Listing Qualifications Department of the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC to transfer its common stock listing from the Nasdaq Global Market to the Nasdaq Capital Market. The transfer became effective as of the opening of trading on Jan. 5. According to the SEC filing, the company’s common stock will continue to trade under the “GEVO” symbol.

Within the notice, said it received a notice from Nasdaq in June indicating that it did not meet the minimum $1 per share requirement required for continued listing on the NASDAQ Global Market. The company had until Dec. 29 to regain compliance with the minimum per share price. To regain compliance during that time period, the closing bid price of the company’s common stock would be required to be $1 per share for a minimum of 10 consecutive businesses days at any time before the Dec. 29 deadline. According to an 8-K filing made by Gevo in July, if the company did not regain compliance with the minimum share price by Dec. 29, it may be eligible for an additional 180 compliance period if it transferred the listing of its common stock to the NASDAQ Capital Market and met all the continued listing requirements for market value of publicly held shares and all other initial listing standards, with the exception of the bid price.

In the 8-K filed on Jan. 2, Gevo indicated that it has now received an additional 180 day calendar day compliance period due to the transfer of its common stock listing to the Nasdaq Capital Market. The new compliance deadline is set for June 29. Within the filing, Gevo said it “intends to monitor the bid price of its common stock and its minimum market value of listed securities and will consider options available to it to achieve compliance.”

In a press release, Gevo said that the transfer of its listing to the capital market is not expected to have any impact on trading in the company’s securities.