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TheStreet Open House

The Worst IPO Peddling Isn't Social Media

Stock quotes in this article: GS, MS, SZYM, KIOR, GEVO, AMRS, CDXS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The social media space isn't the only IPO game in town where prospectuses may be a lot rosier than actual company prospects.

In fact, the worst sector recently foisted on the investing public by the IPO underwriters has nothing to do with the Internet. It's rather companies in the biofuels and bioproducts arena that have been the real IPO sucker's bet.

On Friday, Amyris (AMRS), taken public in an offering led by Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), pulled its 2012 guidance and said it would need to raise a dilutive round of private financing to shore up the balance sheet.

Amyris shares promptly tanked nearly 30%, bringing the company's all-time return since its IPO to negative 60%. The company priced at $16 in 2010 and now is trading under $7.

Solazyme (SZYM) -- also taken public by Goldman and Morgan, is down 45% since its IPO in May of last year. The stock priced at $18 and is now trading near $11.50.

And the roll of bad biofuels IPOs continues.

KiOR (KIOR) -- taken public by Goldman, Credit Suisse (CS) and UBS (UBS) -- is now down 16% since its IPO last summer, which priced at $15. Shares are now trading at $12.30.

Gevo (GEVO) -- taken public by Goldman and UBS and now down 50% all-time -- priced its IPO at $15 in early 2011, and is now trading at $8.50.

In fact, there isn't one recent biofuels IPO that is trading above its IPO price today. And it's not as if these stocks have been beholden to a weak market dragging them lower: all of the major indexes are at least in the green over the last one year period. Even as the risk-on equities trade early this year led the S&P 500 up by more than 7% and the Nasdaq Composite up 11%, biofuels shares continue to head in the other direction.

Codexis (CDXS), taken public by Credit Suisse at $13, now trades under $5.

Metabolix (MBLX), taken public by Piper Jaffray at $14, now trades under $3. Metabolix is the oldest of the bunch, going public way back in 2006, and even five years after its IPO -- plenty of time to prove that those lean, profit-less early years would ultimately pay dividends -- the company's situation has only worsened.

Its major corporate backer, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), recently pulled out of its investment in a Metabolix major project, leading shares to their latest crash in January.

Don't think the biofuels parade will stop, though. Goldman has plans to take Ceres public, though the biofuel feedstock company recently lowered its price range and delayed an offering that had been scheduled for this week.

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