Los Angeles Business Journal

Ceres IPO Expected Next Week

By Deborah Crowe Monday, January 30, 2012

Ceres Inc., which is developing specialized crop seeds for the biofuels industry, is scheduled to go public next week as it seeks to raise up to $132 million.

The Thousand Oaks agricultural biotech filed its initial public offering in May but delayed going to market. According to the Nasdaq IPO calendar, it now intends to go public on Feb. 9 and list its stock under the ticker symbol “CERE.”

The company expects to price 5 million shares at $21 to $23 a share, according to regulatory filings. Underwriters, which are led by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Barclays Capital, have the option to buy an additional 750,000 shares to cover any over-allotments.

The company plans to use net proceeds for seed production, acquisitions and general corporate purposes.

Ceres, which was founded in 1996 as a general-purpose seed developer, has since narrowed its focus to creating plants with greater usable biomass that can be efficiently grown on marginal land with less water and fertilizer. It reported a net loss of $36.3 million on revenue of $6.6 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31.

The company has received grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy. It also collaborates with Monsanto Co., which owns 6.4 percent of the company. Its venture backers include Artal Luxembourg, Warburg Pincus, Ambergate Trust, Oxford Bioscience, and Oppenheimer Growth.