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Kevin Quon

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  • Why Typhoon Haiyan Shows The Need For Solazyme's Technology [View article]
    I fully agree that Solazyme's success will depend upon competitive market prices. Clearly, you do not believe that they will be able to, and that is your position to take. I do not share the same sentiment.

    Even if we were to just assume that sugarcane was the only crop Solazme will use, the geographic range in which the feedstock can be grown is far wider than the restricted areas in which some of these land-restricted oils can be made. Come drought, flood, freeze, storm, fire, and blight, the very decentralized nature of the crop itself allows for a far greater flexibility when it comes to price stability than many of the oil crops it seeks to supplement.

    Additionally, you carelessly neglect the fact that Solazyme has already built in several contractual arrangements that negate the price volatility of its feedstock. But beyond this, you also misunderstand that many sugars can be derived from many different crops (cane, corn, beets, cassava, etc), and Solazyme has already proven its ability to use them in its processes. This only further widens the flexibility when it comes to functional feedstocks. It also further stabilizes the pricing of its inputs.

    From your past comments/articles, I know you're not a believer in cellulosic feedstocks (nor in it being a viable channel for Solazyme in the near future)... and again that is your position to take. You seem unwilling to even consider the new age technologies now being developed when it comes to sourcing industrial sugars from municipal solid waste, municipal green waste, or waste carbon dioxide itself. Companies like Renmatix & Proterro are already making great strides in their ability to further stabilie the field of industrial sugars.

    Likewise, you neglect the fact that SZYM can currently base their process on the waste product of your favorite industry found in biofuels. Yes, the technology can even use waste glycerol from biodiesel facilities to feed its heterotrophic algae.

    Focusing on your biased fixation on fuels, what I find most "naive and wrong" comes from your analysis of the DoD Biofuels Purchases in your article "Energy Insecurity - The false promise of liquid biofuels." It is there in which you mislead your reader base with "per gallon" cost figures for DoD purchases from UOP, to Solazyme, to Gevo, and etc.

    Like evaluating an early development stage pharmaceutical company on its ability to generate profits prior to drug approval, these figures neglect the context of the purchases themselves. The purchases were R&D contracts which also included fuel delivery. In the case of Solazyme, the purchased fuel was made in toll facilities (both upstream and downstream). They included higher prices of raw materials than actual commercial production specs. In summary, the costs included research fees and were not made in facilities that accurately reflect the cost of production itself. Was the fuel made above commercial costs? Absolutely. But ask the question again once it's done in the proper context in a proper facility under a contract strictly intended for the purchase of fuel....

    ....Then ask why you're focusing on fuels at this stage in Solazyme's game anyways? Try disproving significantly higher valued cosmetics first, then food, then surfactants & lubricants, and etc. Solayzme is a renewable oil company with the ability to add value to its product through tailoring. It is not one of your typical biofuel companies that you frequently aim to put down.

    But hey, who cares about any of that? You got your point across... biofuels are are your "Twenty First Century Snake Oil". I won't dare try to convince your otherwise.
    Nov 25 01:50 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme: In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time [View article]
    There are quite a few factual errors here..... Very poor research
    Oct 31 09:18 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Solazyme Believes Algae Milk Is The Next Big Thing [View article]
    That is surely a mentally cautious position to take, but you might want to expect much more of that. All of these sales are being conducted on automatic sales via the company's Rule 10b5-1 trading plan. Almost exclusively these sales were used to cover tax witholding obligations in connection with the vesting of restricted stock units prior to the date of sale. I'm just reading off of the filings when I say this. This has been the case for several years now. As someone who looks through a lot of insider transactions, I'm not alarmed. But that is just me. To each their own.
    Mar 11 12:34 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme's Algal Oil Is Sought To Replace Palm Oil [View article]

    As what is stated in my disclosure statement (which is located on the top of every article and needs to have the "more..." link pressed), I have no relationship with Solazyme. I have intensely covered this company simply on the basis that the long-term outlook remains one of the most promising stories now unfolding on the market. There is limited coverage in this space, and those that do report here appear to have a very narrow concept of what this company does.

    I believe I remain justified in my support of this particular company when one compares it to the other names most often associated with industrial biotechnology, and in particular advanced biofuels. White biotechnology remains one of the most promising fields of this generation. As a leading public company in this space, I believe Solazyme's potential far justifies additional coverage for an investing audience. This is especially the case for a generation of investors who somehow feel like it is more appropriate to apply ludicrous valuations to unproven internet concepts rather than enduring the foundational periods of a future base technology.

    Apr 6 04:01 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Enters Into A New Era Focused On Commercial Development [View article]
    Thank you for reading, mlasell. If it was within my capacity to prove anything, I would consider sharing it with you. But then again, I'm just an author on a blog talking about a company that has made multiple statements that would place them under considerable legal pressure if they were untrue.

    An alternative solution would be to not read about what I have to say. After all, these are my opinions, and I have backed up what I said. If you don't share the same opinion, there's no point in contaminating your own thoughts by reading my point of view.

    In any case, here's some videos of szym's oil being put to use if you're truly looking for it (which I doubt you are):
    Sep 8 08:27 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • For Solazyme, It Is All About Control [View article]

    Thank you for reading. I am not driven to write about this company on the basis of news as much as I am intrigued by their capacity for disruptive change. While I'm often noted for my emphasis on this company in contrast to others, I believe that my greater focus on their workings have allowed me to better express the situation to those trying to follow along. To be short, I write to further detail particular aspects while still attempting to portray the situation to those unaware of the company altogether.

    After all, having come to this point in my own research, I know how difficult it is to understand what this technology is all about. Apart from a more in-depth perspective, there are too many errant associations that would otherwise muddle the view of investors who first hear about this company and understand it through their preconceived biases about it. "algae" "sugar" "biofuels" - all loaded terms. However, if you reflect back on my prior articles, I always attempt to focus on at least one particular trait that catches my eye.

    For this article in particular, I wanted to place some emphasis on the rather intriguing lysing technique. This appears to be a rather unique method in the present that Solazyme is able to use because of their dual ability to insert genetic code & simultaneously control the phases of production (ie. stimulate growth & change the conditions to grow oil & change the conditions to tear open the cell walls). The intricacies of this control are quite impressive, and very difficult to find outside (if even possible) outside of fermentation applications.

    Try not to be put back if you feel like you've read aspects of what I write about before. Some of this is so that I can get the article approved due to my editors. Another part of it is to help keep informed those who are just first hearing about this company. Best wishes.

    Merry Christmas & God Bless,
    Dec 23 08:50 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Confidently Delivers As Investors Feared The Worst [View article]
    Maxxwell (BlacknGold),

    Is it my responsibility to diversify my coverage for the sake of neutrality and the pretense that I am an expert in all fields covered? I write because I can explain things that others aren't willing to explore and some would argue might not even understand correctly. I write about Solazyme because I am a strong believer in the value that exists today in light of the compelling valuation that they are able to achieve tomorrow. I write because I like to piece together thoughts others have not considered - to express value others were not able to see on their own.

    I am not here to provide the basis for traders to hang their hats on for their daily operations. I'm not here to provide ammunition to the short-sellers that have sought personal gain by destroying investor morale through their comments. I'm here to provide a bullish case for those who are seeking a bullish understanding of what is going on. I have clearly asserted my long standpoint and I have clearly asserted that I have a vested interest in the company. You can ask for my specific position, and yet what does this mean apart from an understanding of my financial well-being? For this sake, I assure you that I have a position in the company and confidently state it every time I write.

    I will not give into your demands for my personal information on the basis of your appeasing your pride in the issue. You have repeatedly claimed that you are an expert of understanding valuation citing your successful 50% chance of choosing one direction over the other. I find it ironic that for someone who was so proud to promote GEVO, AMRS, CDXS not more than a year ago (, your willingness to turn around & attack me seems petty at best.

    As you were someone I had personally confided in order to share ideas back in those days, I am offended that you continue to assault my willingness to stick to a sense of valuation that was never based on the present to begin with. I can assure you that I feel somewhat less trusting of individuals like yourself.

    I value my investments on the basis of what I believe is coming down the road. I am not here to capture the bottom, nor am I here to tell people to do the same. I represent a long-term shareholder on a long-term investment. This is my opinion, this is my article. You can try to hold me accountable for whatever actions others take, but I will speak my mind for what I believe.
    Nov 16 10:45 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Solazyme Rose After Its 2013 Year-End Results [View article]

    Did you really just refer us to a wholesaler selling product on the 55 - gallon and 16 - oz scale? Perhaps you didn't notice the trend as the price per lb. cost dropped from $4.32 to $1.86. This is the kind of nonsense straight out of your book. Do you really expect wholesale pricing to stop at 55 - gallons when we are selling in metric tons?

    Why do you try so hard? Even in your errant argument you are complaining about a 300 dollar differential. Perhaps you can tell us the price that this supplier (whom you referenced) paid in acquiring these goods. You are not even comparing apples to apples in terms of trade level.

    Feb 27 05:16 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Takes A Short-Term Hit For Its Long-Term Focus [View article]
    It's ideal to just take into consideration a fully diluted share count. If I recall, those convertible debt notes ultimately convert anyways. Expansion will probably require additional capital as well. Not a problem unless one doesn't believe in the long-term viability of the technology altogether. The one thing that is for sure is that SZYM isn't in a capital-stricken state like some other advanced biofuel names. Those companies are now giving away a bulk of their empire at shareholder expense because they're running out of money. That's the difference between getting it right early and playing catch up later.
    Nov 6 11:11 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme: Progress Continues Even As Uncertainty Spreads [View article]

    I am not going to go back and forth with you, so this will be my only statement to you. Let us be clear about what has occurred here.

    By ignoring the fact that analysts had fully consolidated their revenue estimates, you unfairly held their numbers accountable to almost half of the production the analysts were using. You ignore that all of the revenue is accounted for, not just SZYM's share according to full consolidation as guided by management. This practically doubles the supposed ASPs that SZYM would need to support in order to meet analyst estimates. The only bad numbers being thrown around were your own. Rather than comparing apples to apples, you threw in an orange in order to carelessly throw out the word "doom."

    To testify to these bad numbers was the additional fact that you inexplicably used 15 months of production in order to compare against a 12-month revenue estimate in order to come up with a target ASP supposedly covering 12 months. While using non-consolidated estimates nearly doubled the ASP figures without justification, the latter brought it down. What resulted from all this was a target ASP on the high side to back up your argument that szym may be "doomed" by supposed analyst optimism.

    Yet your opinion can only be supported if you ignore the standard that everyone else was using to begin with.

    What I find most perplexing is that you now criticize my scale-up rate for being too high. Ironically, while I only expect 75,000 MT (62.5%) of capacity in 2014, your tables suggest that you expect 99,700 MT (83%) of capacity to be utilized when you add back in Bunge’s share of the production. In fact, by using your higher capacity utilization figure your article would really be suggesting that analysts are only expecting target ASP’s of $1725 per MT. Clearly though, you can't print such figures. To do so would fly against the very purpose of your article, and I haven't seen a correction yet.

    I welcome your supposedly cautious articles when they're embedded in truth. But this one was not. I have nothing else to say that hasn’t already been said.

    Best regards to you as well,
    Oct 2 10:27 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ignore The P/E: Corning Is Still A Value Trap [View article]
    I think your argument that the company is a "value trap" is a bit overstated, unless it was the editor's that chose that title. The company currently trades below its book value as is. As for your argument that the free cash flow is barely sufficient, you're neglecting to account for the fact that the company won't be spending in the near future as much on capital expenditures as it has in the past. This raise of the dividend was part of the shift in the company's focus towards returning capital rather than expansion.

    For where the share price currently stands, the better advice would probably be accumulation rather than raising concern over a value hype. The company has a proven history of sustainability, and while display tech might wane a bit, its other sectors remain in growth positions, a clear illustration of proper diversification working correctly. To incite fears at these levels is just ignoring the market performance of the past year that has taken well into account the declining performance.
    Jan 31 11:58 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Revisiting Solazyme: Management's Take On Technology And Outlook [View article]
    Appreciate it, Tom. Based on what I've seen, confidence remains high all around. Met approximately higher level 20 employees, all of which would support that thought. The majority retain decades of experience in various related industries. Many have been there for less than 3 years.
    Jan 15 08:58 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Wants To Fill Your Stomach, Not Your Gas Tank [View article]
    Excellent article, Technology Optimist.
    Jun 7 02:27 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Solazyme's Pathway For Growth Is Beginning To Clear Up [View article]
    Maxx Chatsko (Motley Fool),

    I would appreciate that you directly message me in the future via my inbox for such questions. I only suggest this in accordance with what said you would do in November ( I still have yet to receive the "olive branch" of such a private message from you like you said publicly. We have radically different perspectives and yet knowing this you continue to reach out to me here.

    The reason I write to you about this is simple. To me, your latest question here seems like a subtle way to encourage unwarranted skepticism through a non-existing issue. We just see things differently. Perhaps its a genuine inquiry, but what I see is someone who is actively trying to assert the bad even when it doesn't appear to exist at all. I fully welcome skepticism, but have little patience for misinformative speculation when it comes from an expert on the material like yourself. After all, I respect your work and know you have put a lot of energy into doing what you are. But what you write about affects me. This is especially the case when other people end up asking me about the things you are saying.

    The following is to address your question which I hope can be resolved privately next time.


    You’re asserting here that the company could shift its ratio of oil and byproduct within a stated capacity and that this would negatively affect margins because the byproducts likely sell for less than the oil itself.
    I believe you know better than this, but unreasonably choose to see things in a negative light. You often unjustly criticize me for not being more skeptical like you. But right now this latest assertion shows why your shaded view of things can be misleading. This is taken from the strategic collaboration agreement with ADM:

    “WHEREAS , Solazyme and ADM desire to enter into a long-term collaboration to produce tailored triglyceride oils in a capital efficient manner, utilizing the ADM Plant and, if necessary, assets constructed within or adjacent to the ADM Plant, with the ultimate goal to produce up to 100,000 MT/year of triglyceride oil, or an equivalent amount of dried biomass, at such facility”

    Plainly stated, “an equivalent amount of dried biomass” means an equal amount of dry biomass intermediate. This is made very clear in the first statement of the agreement as seen below:

    “2.1 Formation of the Collaboration . ADM and Solazyme desire to enter a collaboration to combine certain assets, operational capabilities and access to feedstock of ADM with certain capital, manufacturing expertise and Technology of Solazyme in order to develop and manufacture tailored triglyceride oils or a dry biomass intermediate.”

    Therefore, it is errant to believe we are talking about the biomass byproduct at all. We are talking about the whole algal cell which (at least in this embodiment) is dried before the oil is extracted. In other words, if it takes 120,000 tons of biomass intermediate to make 100,000 tons of oil, then the facility will make 120,000 tons of biomass intermediate or 100,000 tons of oil. Here are just two possible reasons for the language. First, not all of the oil extraction is being held at Clinton. Second, there are possible products in the future which use the whole algal cell and therefore require a different form of measurement.


    I respect you as an author and hold you in a higher regard in light of the fact we both write in a similar sphere of companies. That said, I would encourage you that we talk privately in the future. You don't respect me (as you stated in your last comment) and that's fine. But when you make my life busier because of meaningless assertions like these, it's less than fruitful for either of us.

    Feb 19 11:02 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Revisiting Solazyme: Management's Take On Technology And Outlook [View article]
    You must be right then. Stop trying so hard.
    Jan 16 08:55 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment