Solazyme shares plunge on weak quarter and production issues

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Solazyme Inc. shares plummeted to new lows Thursday after the renewable oils and bioproducts company reported a disappointing third-quarter, along with continued production issues at a plant.

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The company reported an adjusted loss of 45 cents per share on Wednesday, worse than the 42 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating. Its revenue came in at $17.6 million for the period, short of the $19.6 million that analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast, on average.

Solazyme also noted that manufacturing still needs some improvement to provide consistent results. The San Francisco-based company uses its own technology to turn plant-based sugars into tailored oils and has multiple plants.

Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said in a research note that the production challenges at its plant in Brazil are the main reason that the company's production gains have been hampered. And the costs there have been higher and lasted longer than originally anticipated.

However, the analyst noted that the company's shortfalls are common in the industrial biotech industry lately. And he said the company's decision to focus tightly on its highest-value products is strategically sound and he reiterated an "outperform" rating on the stock.

Solazyme's shares fell more than 55 percent to $3.25 in afternoon trading, its lowest trading price ever since going public in 2011. The company's stock price has declined 31 percent since the beginning of the year, based on Wednesday's close.