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  • Solazyme Gains Momentum In Food Ingredients [View article]
    Maxx Chatsko,

    1) Revenue to Solazyme through SRN wouldn't have begun until Phase 3 construction, which was being stalled by the JV relationship. It's worth mentioning that to date Roquette still hasn't even started Phase 3, although this is probably due to ongoing arbitration and their possible inability to even sell the SZYM product line down the road. Solazyme now has 8 SKU's selling WAF. So regardless of how small I expect these initial volumes to tangibly be, the revenue has already begun to flow to SZYM unlike as it would have under SRN.

    2) Yes, I do believe the consistent utility supply is holding back Moema.

    Last of all, I hope your unannounced startup company that you are founding works out well. It sure is tough to be to contributing writer when you have to deal with so many sarcastic comments all the time, don't you agree?

    Relax, it's a joke. :) But given the amount I get from you, I'm sure glad this isn't my career.

    Jan 23, 2015. 03:28 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Gains Momentum In Food Ingredients [View article]

    I was not aware there was a negative association behind client sampling. Nor do I believe there should be when it comes to early market development. Regarding AlgaVia & Encapso we're talking about two different markets with very, very different adoptions timelines. AlgaVia requires immense product testing in order to create an ideal formulation which must then be introduced and marketed as a new product - which also takes time to build momentum. Even in major brands where a single ingredient is replaced, we're still talking about a lengthy adoption cycle. Product sampling for every future use of AlgaVia shouldn't be viewed as a big deal.

    That said, there are initial sales of the company's WAF right now, although it's not likely to be significant by any means. 8 SKU's is just a start and probably represents just 3-4 different companies who were small enough to accelerate the food ingredient adoption compared to larger major brands. These products also take time to build momentum as previously said. The creamers, for example, were just launched in early January when it comes to nation-wide distribution. Califia Farms is on the higher end of this small-level adapter considering its current clout as one of the fastest growing natural beverage companys out there.

    Regarding Encapso, there are sales being recorded that are more significant than AlgaVia, and there remains plenty of testing going on in the background as well. Whether the product being used in that testing is free or not, who is to say.

    If you're concerned about the company merely giving away product for free, I don't believe that should be a concern about this at all as every instance serves as an investment into future relationships. Concerning the 10-Q, if it explicitly mentions revenue from Encapso (which it does), then that is revenue from encapso and not pertaining to free sampling. Theoretically, free sampling would fall under R&D costs.
    Jan 23, 2015. 01:41 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Gains Momentum In Food Ingredients [View article]

    Regarding Peoria, I remind people that the whole algal ingredients are limited to this facility when I do (including the thought in my comment above). Market development also takes a very long time. Perhaps beyond what is acceptable in your eyes. I don't believe we are looking at the same picture as it unfolds, albeit we both recognize that the current situation is less than ideal. If you do not want to read what I write, I do encourage you to stop reading it. If you want to believe in this "truth" of executive lying and cheating and failed business plans, the Fool does a wonderful job of addressing that audience.
    Jan 23, 2015. 12:18 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Gains Momentum In Food Ingredients [View article]
    Isn't that the danger for most companies that rely on establishing joint ventures & partnerships? I've stated before and often do mention that there is a risk on the increasing reliance on partners - clearly Roquette was a prime example of what can happen.

    But if the arrangement also keeps the capital commitment down, I personally think its a fair exchange for the reward that it simultaneously offers. I find it to be a more ideal situation than what happened at Amyris in which they had to put a large plant that they owned on hold.... and now continue to operate with continually looming cash concerns.

    Does it bother me? Sure, as a risk that it is. But does it necessitate my consistent reminder of these potential fears and possible what-if scenarios for what could go wrong? I rather not go down that route. The Fool's handling that department well, and it's not my focus.
    Jan 23, 2015. 12:04 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Gains Momentum In Food Ingredients [View article]

    I see no reason to compare the two, really. AlgaVia (particularly the whole food ingredients) is a line that can endure for decades but may ramp very slowly. Algenist doesn't likely have that kind of staying power but can ramp very quickly and has. I don't expect for WAF/WAP to surpass Algenist until after 2016 at the earliest barring some upside surprise or rapid acceleration. 8 products (SKU's) are likely for just a couple of product lines (maybe even just 3-4) and the amounts used probably aren't that much yet and each product line must succeed on their own to be of real use to momentum. There's a reason, SZYM hasn't really expanded WAF/WAP out beyond Peoria imo. But I do believe it was smart for them to accelerate the mkt development of this line now in light of the Moema delay.

    My enthusiasm for this company is in its long-term plan and potential (and always has been). I've been following this company for 6 years now and can tell you it has really progressed in many, many ways at a speed that is understandable for me considering its biotech orgins.

    I also feel pretty confident about my feel for the leaders in the industry right now and their respective technologies and microorganisms and still find that Solazyme offers one of the best opportunities in this space. I respect their effective navigation of the issues that have since floundered many companies, and while they clearly mistepped on this timing of this one, I believe they're offering effective solutions to put themselves on track.

    I know the market is concerned about the cash and the delay and the concealed cost figures. They're worried about the stock price and the rebounding short interest and overall lack of interest in the company. They see falling crude oil price and how it is somewhat mirrored by falling vegetable oil prices. As an investor I am too, but they don't discourage me from analyzing the bigger picture at hand or in the belief that the current solutions appear less feasible to the end goals.

    Overall, I find that the value proposition offered by Solazyme remains entirely more promising on many more levels. Investors fail to realize how many decades it's taken to develop infrastructure for processes like hydrogenation or to develop cocoa-butter equivalent markets, for example, or how slow it is for innovation in food to be scaled. But here is a company that has made these processes very obsolete in some ways. This company is achieving so much with a proven technology in so many fields. Just today even, I heard of the pending frack-water crisis (read regulation likely to come) given the largest spill in frack water ever in North Dakota). Yet here is Encapso that has been aggressively advertising their ability (behind the public scene and beyond ptarmigan) to reduce frac water use. Things are happening.

    Will this company succeed as an investment? It remains anyone's speculative bet despite any feasible plan to become self-sustaining and profitable. I still find that the amount of cash on hand should be very useful in accomplishing this, although this too is no guarantee. I also find no reason to believe that the company has no access to capital beyond the markets.

    But for me, its all about the "simplicity" of the technology which is really a natural step in the evolution of where science is taking us. In that regard, Solazyme is already here and well-equipped. The timing may be off, but I find that the long-term value proposition remains very fresh indeed. As for the cash, it'll go much further than investors given the company credit for.

    Jan 22, 2015. 10:33 PM | 13 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Becomes More Disciplined In Its Use Of Cash [View article]
    I know a reduction in drilling presents a concern, but at least for the time being it's spurring on the adoption rate, and its not like we can even touch the ceiling of our market share in NA this year even if we wanted to. This is quite beneficial at this junction in time as it has greater implications for the longer term to have a more productive momentum in the earliest phases of commercial adoption.

    But I agree with you that growth in the ME (and I would argue in udw offshore operations as well) will provide a more productive future. If you think that NA is searching for efficiency options right now imagine what the ultra-deepwater companies are seeking as well. Our ability to complement oil-based muds might serve well in the offshore plays given the extremes they face down the wellbore. But given the lack of testing there yet n the short history of encapso, it's tough for me to say that with confidence.
    Jan 19, 2015. 12:55 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Becomes More Disciplined In Its Use Of Cash [View article]
    Anything's possible. One would have to reasonably presume it has something to do with increasing the flow of something, which could suggest that it's some sort of frac fluid additive or proprietary frac fluid.

    I would imagine a friction reducer or surfactant serve as the most likely candidates.
    Jan 18, 2015. 09:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Becomes More Disciplined In Its Use Of Cash [View article]
    Bravo, txpe2003. Do enjoy a cup for me as well.
    Jan 18, 2015. 11:52 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Becomes More Disciplined In Its Use Of Cash [View article]
    Unfortunately, this comment actually places a higher emphasis on frac fluids rather than drilling fluids with the key phrase being "out of the wells they have already drilled". I would be bold to suggest that SZYM is probably working on a frac fluid itself (but we're not there yet) and a "green" company to most benefit from this is probably Flotek (FTK).

    While inevitably drilling was going to take a step back and we're beginning to see some of the reduction in drilling now, the underlying truth is that legacy oil production just falls too fast and the amount of rigs disappearing has been minimal at best.

    Keep an eye on the Bakken where we're bound to have a growing presence. Rig counts remain stable and the legacy production drop is falling like a rock due to the nature of rapidly decreasing returns upon the well's opening. I'm actually starting to believe that drilling might not take as hard a hit as I previously thought given the slow decline to date amidst rapidly falling prices.
    Jan 16, 2015. 05:10 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Becomes More Disciplined In Its Use Of Cash [View article]

    Let's not gloss over the distinctions with such a wide brush. Aurora Algae is an autotrophic algae company that has struggled for some time given the necessary costs & low yields (autotrophs yield much less oil than heterotrophs before even considering genetic engineering). Limited control over the growth conditions also bring about a greater susceptibility to invading micro-bugs/plants that further reduce yields.

    Some quick math should really put an end to the debate. The video states that the biomass output is ~30 MT per acre per year (bear in mind the oil content here is likely <20%). Try comparing that to Solazyme's Moema facility which will produce 100,000 MT of oil (meaning a similar amount of biomass if estimating 50% oil content which can be typical for heterotrophic algae). Somehow, I doubt that Solazyme's facility takes up more than 3000 acres to even be compared on an efficiency level (that's like a square facility that spans more than 2 miles in either length). Before even considering the tailoring capabilities of SZYM over Aurora when it comes to product value differences, the efficiency contrast alone is astounding.
    Jan 11, 2015. 02:23 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Investors Should Consider U.S. Silica Holdings Now [View article]
    If you could, that's not a bad idea. Historically the trend has been for such diversified stock indexes to rise over the long term ...

    And I'll take a bullish CEO over a bearish CEO any day.

    In any case the key phrase is "locked in" which provides for stability in light of growth. If you start seeing project cancellations then I'd consider being more concerned.
    Jan 7, 2015. 03:32 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Investors Should Consider U.S. Silica Holdings Now [View article]
    Thanks for the idea and your continued readership, mykiemon. Unfortunately I don't think it'll materialize however as I'm not keen on comparing corporations with LP's. As a whole though, I do believe sand companies in general have been discounted far below what is proportionately fair and it is this macroeconomic theme that makes me like this sectors valuation in the present looking forward on a long term basis. Given the decay rate of oil recovery in fracking and the drilling of deeper wells, I find that the industry will continue to support a decent amount of demand going forward even if some near term softening is in store.
    Jan 7, 2015. 03:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Investors Should Consider U.S. Silica Holdings Now [View article]
    U.S. Silica Holdings Inc., which operates sands mines in Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma, says it is still expecting to grow in 2015, said chief executive Bryan Shinn. Even if oil companies drill fewer wells next year, they are increasing the amount of sand they use per well, he said.

    “This is providing us with a backstop,” said Mr. Shinn, adding that job cuts aren’t in the cards for his company. “We’re not even talking about that. If anything we might be looking to add jobs as opportunities arise.”

    About 70% of U.S. Silica’s sales are under contract and locked in at attractive margins, the company said.
    Jan 7, 2015. 03:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Becomes More Disciplined In Its Use Of Cash [View article]
    Maxxwell Chatsko of the Motley Fool,

    Despite your facetious efforts to be cordial after frankly being quite rude in the past and in your original comment above, I am only responding to you in particular because you have been the most assertive when it comes to declaring new "facts" even when they are merely presumptions made by yourself. With so little fact-checking and your bold approach to be sensational when it comes to your "facts", I wanted to clarify how misleading they could be and how it is your responsibility to be more careful.

    In particular, your most recent broadcasted "fact" of late has been a supposed total production cost for intermediates of ~$6100/MT to which you broadly assume is both damning and representative of Solazyme's capabilities to become profitable, especially when you contrast an expected ASP across this cost figure.

    Yet with your asserted $9.19 million (even though you stated $11.298 million on your last article in the comment section []), you are openly suggesting a continuing cost that is rather high. To attest to this, are you even aware that your cost estimate exceeds the total difference between the cost of revenue ($5.148 million difference) and the total cost of R&D ($3.015 million difference) found in both Q3 2013 & Q3 2014?

    As declared on pages 32 & 33 of the 10-Q, the total difference between the cost of revenue & R&D for Q3 2013 and Q3 2014 was only $8.163 million. Yet you are declaring that Solazyme's production costs for making only the intermediates portion of the revenue exceeds this increase in these total costs from the time between when Clinton was not yet open and when it is. This simply appears irrational. For emphasis, understand that these total costs which you are exceeding includes the cost of revenue derived from Algenist, from research, and all other products, and all other activities from all of the existing facilities under the control of Solazyme. Again, this is just irrational.

    Let us consider where you could have made some very important errors in terms of ascertaining your costs based on errant assumptions.

    1) Realize that the amount produced in a quarter is not properly correlated to the cost of revenue attributed that quarter. Just as the company was selling product made in 2013 in Q1 & Q 2 2014, your simple division of the quarter's estimated production just won't do. Product made in the quarter does not necessarily sell in that quarter.

    2) You added $1.1 million to the $3.6 million found in the Q3 2013 statement presuming that this reflects the costs related to scale up of commercial production. This in itself is not necessarily true. For starters, the $1.1 million includes "...costs related to product development of new algal products and AlgaVia TM food ingredients as well as scale-up of commercial production at the Clinton/Galva Facilities" which suggests that at least a portion of the $1.1 million is going towards costs not reflective of normalized production costs going forward (new algal products & development activity for Algavia). This also sheds doubt upon the other $3.6 million you are including as to whether they truly reflect ongoing production costs.

    3) You also seem to misunderstand the allocation of R&D costs. As Laurence Alexander asserts on the conference call: "you're going to have a lot of noise about fixed cost absorption distorting your gross margins for a while..." The R&D fraction of the total production costs are not necessarily representative of ongoing costs related to production but can represent one-time fixed costs and should therefore not necessarily be used in the hypothetical equation to determine a current status on the normalized cost of production.

    4) You also assume $3.6 million of costs incurred to scale up production in Q3 2013 is still relevant when in actuality the $1.1 million only explains a difference between Q3 2013 & Q3 2014. There is no reason to believe that the original $3.6 million which may or may not have affected production costs provide any attributed cost to ongoing production. In any case, this could again also just be fixed costs related to scale up which are again not relevant to a production cost metric going forward.

    5) You group intermediates together in order to establish a base production cost to apply across Solazyme's platform. However, as mentioned in the comment by 'just read the instructions' stated above, there are radically different products included in intermediates/ingredie... As mentioned by Wolfson in my previous visit, the cost structure of each varies naturally depending upon the finishing steps in order to ascertain a certain amount of quality required by the industry.

    Therefore while production costs for fuels might currently be $1500 for example, the cost for algavia might be $3000 since it requires steps such as refining & bleaching & deodorizing... (reminder: these are just hypothetical costs used just for example sake). The key point to consider is that margins are what matter in the end, not the cost to make it. However, because you broadly painted the platform as spitting out a single production cost of (ex. your ~$6100/MT cost, which seems quite high) you continue to mislead people who may be comparing apples to oranges when it comes to expected product ASP's and their associated costs.

    Having said this, I understand that you want to be the one to discover something new and exciting such as the production cost metrics to which even the analysts have resigned to not be possible in the moment. We all do, myself included. Likewise, I understand this isn't easy stuff and actually appreciate having someone like you who is willing to look deeper into the issues in stark contrast to your fellow Fool writers.

    But when you continue to pour our assertions and state them as a truth and continue to build upon them without even suggesting the possibility that they are mere assumptions, you simply degrade the integrity of our writing as a whole. I am only responding to you in particular in order to suggest that you use more caution in your negative spins of this company that you seem to dislike so much.

    This will be my only comment on this article. As writing is merely my hobby and not my career, I simply find it exhaustive and not worthy of my limited time to go back & forth. Given the existing negative sentiment (that is quite understandable), I also have no tolerance for those who are looking for a pinata to hit out of their own frustrations. The soap box is yours.
    Dec 23, 2014. 12:49 AM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Becomes More Disciplined In Its Use Of Cash [View article]
    Before I consider responding further, care to enlighten us with every specific number taken from the 10-Q used in your inerrant calculation, Maxxwell Chatsko of the Motley Fool?
    Dec 22, 2014. 12:29 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment