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Lanzatech loss widens on legal fees, wage costs

Monday 12th September 2011

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Lanzatech New Zealand, the bio-fuels company, widened its annual loss as legal bills and employment costs mounted.

The Auckland-based company reported a net loss of $14.6 million in the 12 months ended March 31, almost twice the loss of $8.4 million a year earlier, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office. Revenue was little changed at $3.6 million, while overheads and administrative expenses rose to almost $11 million from $6.7 million.

Employee costs jumped to almost $3 million from $318,000 a year earlier, and legal fees rose to $2.5 million from some $706,000 in 2010.

Of that, some $304,000 went to an employee of major shareholder Khosla Ventures who worked on group matters, while $509,000 was spent on an employee of investor Qiming Venture Partners to help with all matters relating to the Chinese market.

Lanzatech had a net cash outflow of $1.3 million in the period, taking its cash and cash equivalents to $10.5 million as at March 31.

The company has been a regular winner at biotech awards in the past couple of years, and the directors said they have a “reasonable expectation” enough new money will be raised through a planned capital raising, new and existing government grants and revenue to meet the funding needs for current activity levels.

“The directors note there is uncertainty as to the exact timing and amount of these funds, which could cast doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the company said in a note entitled ‘going concern’, which was tagged as an ‘emphasis of matter’ by auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Chief executive Jennifer Holmgren today told the New Zealand Herald newspaper the company won’t break even until the end of 2013 as revenue streams from its operation come on board.

She flagged an initial public offering for the second half of next year, though didn’t indicate where.

Earlier this month, Lanzatech secured U.S. government funding to explore ‘drop-in’ fuel replacement for jet fuel, and in June it landed a contract with Mitsui and Co. to introduce its processes across the Japanese industrial conglomerate’s business.

Lanzatech was founded in New Zealand in 2005 and with research facilities in Auckland, is already piloting the use of its carbon monoxide-gobbling microbe at steel mills in Korea and China, and at a refinery for one of India’s largest oil companies.

It uses non-food renewable resources to produce fuel grade ethanol and key chemical building blocks used to make polymers, plastics and hydrocarbon fuels, including drop in jet fuel.


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