Rentech Inc. shares on Monday soared after the synthetic fuels developer reported its first-ever profitable quarter, with earnings far exceeding Wall Street expectations.

The news followed an announcement last week that one of its products had been certified for aviation use, which had also boosted shares.

The Los Angeles company, whose technology converts a variety of biomass feedstocks into synthesis gas, reported third-quarter net income of $36.1 million (22 cents per shares), compared with a net loss of $7.7 million (-5 cents) a year ago. Revenue rose 51 percent to $91.4.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report net income of of 8 cents per share on revenue of less than $72 million.

Rentech projected that its earnings per share will be positive for fiscal 2009.

"The cost reductions we implemented in addition to exceptional management of our fertilizer business have provided us with a foundation from which we can continue to execute on our alternative energy strategy," Chief Financial Officer Dan Cohrs said in a statement.

The company got a boost last week after standards development group ASTM International's full governance committee approved modifying specifications for commercial aviation jet fuel to allow a blend of synthetic jet fuel, such as the company's RenJet. Commercial aircraft jet fuel certified by the Federal Aviation Administration rely on ASTM specifications.

Shares closed up 70 cents, or 113 percent, to $1.31 on the New York Alternet. Prior to the two announcements, the stock had been trading below 50 cents.

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