Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. (Nasdaq: CERE) today announced financial results for the quarter ended November 30, 2012 and provided an update on its business in Brazil, its largest immediate commercial opportunity.
The company reported that plantings of its new sweet sorghum hybrids have been largely completed for the 2012-2013 production season in Brazil. Harvests are expected to begin in late March or April.
“Our primary objective this season is to demonstrate economically compelling yields with many mill groups, and thus, drive adoption of our products across a broad customer base,” said Richard Hamilton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ceres. “It is still early in the growing season, but the weather has been cooperating and the crop appears to be off to a good start.”
FIRST QUARTER BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS
- For the 2012-2013 sweet sorghum season in Brazil, Ceres reported that it will be working with 31 ethanol mills and mill suppliers in Brazil through a combination of seed sales, agronomy and crop management services and product evaluations. These customers, which include approximately half of the top-20 ethanol producers in Brazil, were responsible for approximately 30% of the sugarcane crushed during the 2011-2012 production season.
- Ceres’ sweet sorghum hybrids are expected to be planted on approximately 3,000 hectares, which is less than the company originally anticipated. As previously reported, this is due in part to the effects of the drought last season and the focus among its customers on the field performance of its new hybrids, which can be determined at a smaller scale than industrial evaluations. Mills have already validated the industrial processing of sweet sorghum during the past two seasons.
- In November, Ceres announced that its Brazilian subsidiary Ceres Sementes do Brasil Ltda. entered into a collaboration with Syngenta. Under a market development agreement, Syngenta will evaluate its crop protection portfolio with Ceres hybrids. Both companies are coordinating outreach to ethanol mills and developing industry training programs in Brazil.
- Ceres achieved positive results from field trials of its various drought tolerance genes in rice, which it routinely uses in its development pipeline to confirm performance. The company will proceed with wider-scale testing, and continue to move its traits into its energy crops.
- During the quarter ended November 30, 2012, Ceres was awarded five U.S. patents related to methods for improving plants, plants and plant parts, transcription promoters, markers and compositions of matter for protein-encoding DNA sequences.