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Ceres posts 140% revenue increase

Ceres, a California-based agricultural biotechnology company focused on forage crops, said its revenue for the quarter ended 30 November, 2015, increased by 140% to $942,000, compared to $400,000 the same period last year, owing to a strengthened balance sheet and a strategy to focus on commercialising its forage products.

The company also reported that it narrowed its net loss from $5.9m for the quarter ended 30 November, 2014, to $3.4m for the quarter ended 30 November, 2015.

In a statement, Ceres said during its fiscal first quarter, it had successfully completed a $7.6m equity offering and further validated its technology in forage crops via a multi-year collaboration with alfalfa breeding lines specialist, Forage Genetics International.

The company develops and markets seeds to produce crops for bioenergy and other markets that utilise plant biomass.

It uses a combination of advanced plant breeding, biotechnology and bioinformatics to develop seed products. One of commercial opportunities is in Brazil where the company is pursuing multiple markets for its sorghum products.

For the upcoming planting season, Ceres plans to increase the number of companies distributing its forage sorghum seeds, expand its product portfolio and extend field evaluations of its seed products to additional regions.

The company will announce key 2015 field results in coming weeks, including summaries of commercial forage sorghum plantings and pre-commercial hybrid and trait trials.

2016 outlook
Ceres President and CEO Richard Hamilton said that the company plans to continue to make progress across its strategic initiatives in 2016.

"Following our technical and commercial achievements in 2015, we successfully raised new funds to continue to build our forage sorghum seed business, advance our traits toward commercialization and demonstrate a clear trajectory for growth," he said.

"We look forward to continuing to deliver on our milestones, which begins with achieving our product development objectives. We expect success here to translate into additional distribution agreements and increased seed sales," Hamilton said.

Paul Kuc, Ceres CFO, indicated that previously announced cuts are expected to reduce operating expenses by $8 to $10 million in fiscal year 2016, higher than management's original forecast of $6 to $8 million in savings.

"We have identified significant opportunities to reduce operating expenses and are rapidly implementing our realignment plan," said Kuc.

"On an operational basis, we have completed our shift into forages and away from bioenergy and Brazil, and we expect the reduced cash requirements of our forage and traits business model to be fully reflected in our operating expenses beginning in February."

This article was written by Liz Gyekye, editor at Biofuels International.