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  • Solazyme: It Isn't Easy (Or Profitable) Being Green [View article]
    Did you forget to mention that Warner was promoted to Chief Enginerin Officer at Impossible Foods?

    The article could have used a little more investigative work rather than stopping once a negative trait was perceived..
    Oct 16, 2014. 11:46 AM | 21 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Refuting A Short-Selling Solazyme Critic [View article]
    Adam,

    The counterpoint is well-taken, and I fully respect your assertion. At the same time, I find it far from being overly bullish to proclaim a disruptive technology for what it is. Let's take a step back from the stock that everyone is mad about and consider what is actually being done here.

    The company has managed to scale up to a commercial level in which it can profitably address multiple very high volume markets with a superior product than what currently exists today. As the EPA noted itself, for thousands of years, civilization has been restricted to approximately 12 natural oils which can be produced economically at scale and in sufficient quantities. Profit-minded interests have also been bold enough to invest billions of dollars over the last few decades into building the techniques and infrastructure needed to use these dozen oils in order to break them down and recombine them and/or transform them into the oils we actually want to use.

    Yet now here is Solazyme with a technology capable to bypass these expensive processes and conduct these operations within the function of a cell itself. The company has increased the productivity of each cell and allowed it to utilize what the world is already very good at making in order to accomplish the task. Above all, it has shown its ability to mimic and introduce new capabilities into these oils with a greater degree of efficacy and in a fraction of the time needed to otherwise accomplish the task by large agroscience companies.

    Even apart from this creative process of making new oils, the platform dramatically improves efficiencies in harvest seasons (52-harvests a year vs 2 harvests per year), reduces transportation and storage costs, improves capital flow (no need to commit capital half a year in advance for a purchase), and introduces greater reliability in product output (ie. weather & yield variations).

    Now even after we consider all of this, investors have not even begun to hear of the bioproducts that are yet to come. The company can improve upon additional base product markets including paper/wood markets. The company can create renewable plastics. It can even improve the markets for foam and polyeurethane. What about the wide world of absorbents/adsorbents? It'll be there too. Animal feed/pet feed? Yet to come.

    All of this is coming about from a single technology platform that has unlocked the ability to design on a genetic scale. And unlike most nanotechnology companies, Solazyme now has the capital and infrastructure and partners needed to make it all happen and happen within a few short years.

    Now it is very easy to look at a balance sheet and presume that this is all that matters. It's easy to look at other companies and consider their failures, but it is absolutely mind blowing to me how people want to clump all of these technologies into the same boat without a basic understanding of their fundamental differences. Algae and yeast and bacteria are VERY different organisms with very different strengths and weaknesses. And with this I say that no other company has impressed me in this field in terms of what is possible and what has been done other than Solazyme. It comes down to having made the right initial choices (whether by luck or foresight and wisdom) from the very beginning, and it very much started with heterotrophic algae that very much wants to make oil and has already developed the internal organism infrastructure to support it.

    I understand that this is a company that investors do not understand or even want to understand. I understand that the bottom line is all that matters and that cash is king. But I also understand that all things considered, Solazyme is very much in the lead and somewhat in a market of their own in regards to what it is doing. I understand how differentiated this company's technology is. I understand how close it is to proving to the market that the toughest challenges have already been conquered.

    So while you see a company with growing losses with an inability to prove that it can be profitable, I see a company that has a very special technology that is in a very advantageous financial position. It has run into setbacks, but none which has jeopardized the overall plan. I believe our timeframes are just different, and I have never asserted that I am talking about this company on a short-term basis as investors are so accustomed to.

    For the ability to significantly influence the markets for oils, food, paper, & plastics alone, I find it very difficult to believe that a $490 million company price tag is justified when the company is now operating within large facilities that have a combined construction value in excess of $500 million and when the company has $280 million in cash on hand. These are the basic building blocks of society that have not improved in a very long time and here is solazyme with a platform to introduce such innovation needed to do it. I find that the market is merely uninformed when it ignores the value of technology in hope of a quick dollar.

    -Kevin

    p.s. please dont take the length of this reply as any way offensive. Also $280 mil can go a long way in the midst of ramping sale volumes which should really heat up in the coming quarters. Will Solazyme have to raise capital before reaching nameplate capacity? I actually don't believe it will unless it decides to expand capacity. Will they be unable to raise that capital when the time comes? No i also don't believe they will, although it may possibly affect shareholders at that point in time if they find it fit to do so. Does this negate whether the company is undervalued now or not? No I don't believe it does, even though I would consider it to be even more undervalued at that point in time if so. I understand if this company isn't for everyone, but for me, the value is in the technology and that is not being accounted for. For investors set on a proven profit-driven mentality with assured income & dividends, I fully support them to ignore this company until it proves to be the case.
    Oct 18, 2014. 05:24 PM | 20 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Bunge And Solazyme Just Enter A New Age Of Sugar Production? [View article]
    I think it would be best to separate the company's performance from Wall Street's view of their own money in the company's performance.

    The company is performing just fine, and their outlook IMO is as strong as ever. They ran into 2 hiccups - Roquette & the Moema delay, but have otherwise delivered as promised & introduced a number business broadening product lines. From what I see in the patent applications, there will be even more to come.

    I am not so bullish on Wall Steet. Investors have become a mob of traders believing they are still investing. I blame the Internet for democratizing this mob-mentality and opening up the already non-informed user base with low-commission trading. The fact Alibaba can become the largest IPO even if Jack Ma controls it all, the fact that Tesla can be a $30 billion company even though its gambling its future on a battery plant, and the idea that an action camera company like GoPro is somehow justified at $10 billion are all signs of these times. Traders don't understand the fundamental (nor do they care) of a good business nor do they care. They want to make money now and fast, and they'll starve a few companies of their financial lifelines along the way to doing so.

    So if you ask me what I think is the greatest risk to SZYM right now? Honestly, I think its the weak investor who doesn't know what he's holding onto. I don't doubt that SZYM will prefer to raise capital in the future to build out more plants. I do believe their current plants could sustain a build out but that it would be more ideal to raise funds in order to accomplish this more quickly.

    But I also believe that momentum will begin to fortify over the next year and that current investors will feel more confident. I also believe that larger funds will begin to pick up on SZYM given the momentum already underway for cleantech companies. This past week was a large signal that more investment demand is going to be driven down the path of cleantech. GS already positioned itself (and SZYM as an example) for the new investment period in cleantech. Others will follow as they divest from "dirty" fossil fuel companies.

    Internally, I see few risks for SZYM at this point. Tech's proven, plants made, relationships founded, production ramping. The largest risk is probably a partnership failure for one of its base-customers (ie. bunge, unilever, azko). But even with this, I see the long-term future of the co still intact. Apart from that, squeezed margins & additional delays are always possibilities.

    Externally, the largest risk might be a growing debate from those who want to destroy the company's plans. Paid activists looking to yell fire in a crowded theater are more than willing to derail progress if it would satisfy their tunnel vision ideologies. Given Ecover's size and customer base it was easy to blow that one out of proportion, but larger companies that understand whats really going on in the world might not be so easily troubled by such rabble-rousers. Even still, I believe Ecover hasn't been chased away even if its been put on the defensive.
    Sep 26, 2014. 03:23 PM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Advances Its Agenda On Multiple Fronts [View article]
    Ike,

    Might I suggest you take a look at your own biases? The lack of understanding in your comments show more than a tinge of wanting to only see failure. Last time it blinded you from understanding how to read a financial statement properly. This time you can't even understand the product. Has this company's progress become your white whale, captain?

    Kevin
    Apr 21, 2014. 07:19 PM | 14 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, 2012. 09:18 PM | 13 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 [http://bit.ly/1zPUMrN]), 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 | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 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, 2013. 01:50 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What A Successful Moema Launch Means For Solazyme [View article]
    Triptolemus,

    You demand quite a bit from every article. This article's purpose was not to talk about costs as I've talked about this in past articles. It takes 3 MT of sugars to make 1 MT of oil. The company is getting sugars (possibly lower-cost sugar juice) at lower than market price & already has provisions in place to cover swings in sugar costs. Consdering the target ASP's it is clear that the model will be profitable once the plants are at nameplate capacity. The development of lower-cost, next-gen sugars should be able to significantly reduce costs further.

    Kevin

    P.S. I'm not here to debate, argue, or be criticized as your other comment on my other article suggests you are looking to do. So this will be my only reply.
    Jun 4, 2014. 02:27 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme's Algal Oil Is Sought To Replace Palm Oil [View article]
    @Zalach,

    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.

    Kevin
    Apr 6, 2014. 04:01 PM | 11 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, 2014. 12:34 PM | 11 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solazyme Gains A Partner For Specialty Soap Production [View article]
    Rwratti,

    We compete with palm oil for a good number of markets, but not all markets - although it is true that most oilseed markets will be correlated to palm oil markets. As the highest yielding oilseed crop and producer of some of the most mid-chain oils, palm oil is very useful & inexpensive.

    What you should keep in mind, however, is that we're not trying to replace palm oil directly. Refer back to my article (http://seekingalpha.co...) for this comment by Rakitsky:

    "A lot of people ask me: 'Can you make a palm oil? Can you make a soy oil? Can you make a palm kernel oil?" And the answer is 'Yes, we can do all that'. But why would we? (To do so would be missing) our unique differential value in terms of creating compositions that have enhanced performance......"


    The point is that we're making oils that can replace higher value derivatives from that oil or other oils. Does a customer only want the 8% c8-c10 coming out of pko? We have an oil that can provide more than 60% of that. Think they'll pay more? A similar story goes w/ lauric oils.

    How about performance? Does the customer want the highest oleic oil out there without having to use antioxidants? We have an oil that outperforms almost everything out there even before considering the use of antioxidant packages. Think they'll pay more?

    A similar story goes w/ solid fat curve opportunities. JW previously asked me "how many oils can you name where theres a large enough supply of those oils, where they're produced efficiently enough in agriculture that they cost less than... you know... lets say $4000 - $5000/ton?" The idea being that there were probably less than a dozen out there (palm, pko, soy, rape/canola, tallow/lard, sunflower, etc...). Each of these have different solid fat curves useful for products, but the its the oils outside of this list that might have the certain curves ideal for many products. Because the oils we make relatively fall under the same price range you're talking about a huge opportunity in the structural fats market alone by being able to increase those opportunities with an affordable & customizable oil profile.

    So in short, are you missing something? No, those articles are both true. But you got to remember that palm oil isn't the oil or component we're necessarily replacing/supplementing. Personal care companies might be using palm oil to make soaps, but what they might really want is a particular fraction of that oil. Even before considering the savings from improved logistics, this is where a part of the enhanced value for SZYM's oils come into play.

    -Kevin
    Aug 22, 2014. 01:24 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did Solazyme Just Patent A Treatment For Diabetes? [View article]
    Maxx,

    I see no reasons why it can't be both Algavia and Encapso depending on function. I rather not assert how they are going to market this other than to show that it could qualify for algavia. We have agreed on very little and I make no speculative assumptions as to what estimates will be. I am merely citing information. This will be my only comment to you as our prior conversations suggest that your motives for being here tend to be less than pure.

    Kevin
    Jun 16, 2014. 11:04 AM | 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):

    http://bit.ly/13xsaVS
    http://bit.ly/13xsaVU
    http://bit.ly/13xsbca
    http://bit.ly/13xsdRz
    http://bit.ly/13xsbce
    Sep 8, 2013. 08:27 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Opportunistic Trading Pushes Solazyme To New Lows [View article]
    No relationship, no perks, same suffering as you. Just a long-term horizon and a strong interest in this new economy. Solazyme is in the lead when it comes to making it happen, but clearly it's too early for the market to respect or fully understand that.
    Oct 13, 2014. 09:55 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 4 Reasons Why Solazyme Is Pursuing AlgaVia & Encapso Now [View article]
    WFS,

    In nutrition, the company has natural strains and modified strains. The algal flours & powders (AlgaVia) are natural, discovered through intense screening. Their compositions are "shaped" by the way they are grown in the tanks (ie the amount of protein/lipid is controlled by how much of x,y, or z you put into the tank and at what interval).

    More information can be found here with the FDA submission: http://1.usa.gov/RI75Fc

    "The source strain for Algal flour (Chlorella) (high lipid and high-protein) is C protothecoides strain number UTEX 250, which was obtained from the University of Texas Culture collection and assigned Solazyme strain number S106."


    ---------

    However, the company is also pursuing modified strains for nutrition for the production of more nutritional oils (although these shouldn't be going under the AlgaVia brand name itself). I believe that the high stability high oleic oil that recently got GRAS approval represents SZYM's first regulatory approval of a tailored oil strain for nutrition. This is why management was excited over the completion of the GRAS process for HSHO in the last call. This bodes well for other tailored oils now going through the GRAS process.

    Kevin
    May 16, 2014. 09:48 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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