Aemetis releases 2015 results, licenses cellulosic technologies

By Erin Voegele | March 29, 2016

Aemetis Inc. has released 2015 financial results, reporting a decline in revenues and production volume when compared to 2014. The company said softness in the ethanol market due to the delay in the enforcement of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) led it to operate its ethanol plant in Keyes, California, at a rate of 101 percent of nameplate capacity, down from 109 percent in 2014.

During the year, the Keyes plant produced 56 million gallons of ethanol and 360,000 tons of wet distillers grains (WDG). The average sales price for ethanol was $1.74 per gallon, with the average price of WDG at $80 per ton. In 2014, the Keyes plant produced 60 million gallons of ethanol and 408,000 tons of WDG at average prices of $2.54 per gallon and $92 per ton, respectively.

Aemetis reported revenues of $147 million, down from $208 million in 2014. Adjusted EBITDA was a $3 million loss, down from $30 million the prior year. Gross profit reached $4.2 million in 2015, down from $37 million in 2014 primarily due to excess ethanol supply and the spread between ethanol and corn pricing. The company reported an operating loss of $8.6 million last year, down from an operating income of $24 million the previous year. The net loss for 2015 was $27 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, compared to a net income of $7.1 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, in 2014.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Aemetis reported revenues of $35.3 million, down from $41.5 million for the same period of the previous year. Gross profit for the quarter was $1.4 million, compared to $2.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2014. Operating loss for the three-month period was $6.5 million, compared to $3.7 million of operating income during the same quarter of 2014.

“In 2015, our financial and operational performance was affected by excess supply in ethanol markets,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis.  “During this past year, Aemetis significantly increased production at our biodiesel and glycerin biorefinery in India, to take advantage of deregulation and the removal of subsidies in the diesel market. The biodiesel domestic market in India continues to grow, with our expanding sales of B100 as a transportation fuel to replace diesel. In 2016, we plan to increase the profitability of our ethanol business by the adoption of patented technologies for the production of cellulosic ethanol and related products at the Keyes plant,” added McAfee.

During an investor call, McAfee spoke about the company’s recent announcements that it has licensed cellulosic ethanol technology from Edeniq, along with technology to convert waste feedstock into ethanol from LanzaTech. Both announcements were made the same day Aemetis released its 2015 financial results.

According to McAfee, the license agreements will enable the Keyes plant to produce advanced ethanol from non-corn sources, lowering feedstock costs and increasing revenues per gallon.

“In the short-term, the acquisition of the Edeniq patented equipment and enzymes technology expands the production rate at the Keyes plant by an estimated 5 percent of additional ethanol from the same amount of existing feedstock,” McAfee said. “Of this 5 percent, about 2.5 percent is increased starch ethanol production worth about $1.60 per gallon, but about 2.5 percent is cellulosic ethanol worth up to $4 per gallon. In addition, the amount of high value oil extracted for animal feed is increased.” Installation of the Edeniq technology is expected to complete by the fourth quarter of this year, he added, noting that U.S. EPA and California Low Carbon Fuel Standard approvals for the plant are expected to be received after installation is complete.

Regarding the LanzaTech technology, McAfee said the agreement provides Aemetis with exclusive rights to the technology for the state of California for up to 12 years for a broad range of feedstocks.