California-based Ceres, which makes genetically engineered seeds for biofuels crops, files for IPO of up to US$100M, plans to use funds for research, seed production and sales

Rachel Carter

Rachel Carter

May 25, 2011 – Associated Press

NEW YORK , May 25, 2011 () – Seed maker Ceres Inc. filed to go public Monday with an initial public offering of up to $100 million.

The company, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., didn't say when it expected its shares to start trading or at what price it hoped to sell its stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Monsanto Co., the world's biggest seed company, owns a 6.4 percent stake in Ceres. Private equity and venture capital firms are other major stockholders, including Warburg Pincus and Oxford Bioscience Partners.

Ceres is still developing its products, which it says are currently being sold mainly to customers who are field-testing them. The company wants to develop genetically engineered crops that would be converted into ethanol and other biofuels.

Ceres says its largest market opportunity at the moment is in Brazil, but the Brazilian government has not yet approved its crops. The company says it expects to receive the needed government registration during the last three months of this year.

Ceres has posted net losses almost every year since it was founded in 1996. It says it expects to continue to post net losses for at least the next several years as it ramps up spending on research and develops new products.

In the six months ended in February 2011, revenue was minimal -- $3.3 million. The vast majority of the company's revenue comes from government grants and collaboration agreements. Product sales were just $9,000.

Ceres posted a net loss of $11.3 million in the same time period.

The company expects to use funds from the IPO for research, seed production and sales and other business needs.

Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital are managing the IPO.

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