Green

Biofuel producer KiOR sets IPO price at $15

Biofuel producer KiOR has priced its initial public offering at $15 per share, down from $19 to $21 that the company originally announced on Wednesday.

A lot of media and Web 2.0 companies filing to go public, such as LinkedIn and Pandora, have ramped up their IPO price ahead of their trading debuts this year. KiOR’s latest move could be a signal that there is some concern regarding clean technology IPOs that have not reached profitability yet.

KiOR filed to go public in April and is looking to close out a $1 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. The company, like many other high-profile companies filing for initial public offerings this year, has not been profitable in the past 3 years. It lost $46 million last year. The company is selling around 10 million shares and is looking to raise up to $150 million.

The company wants to produce gasoline that costs around $1.80 per gallon when produced from renewable petroleum. KiOR’s technology converts wood chips into a substance that behaves similarly to typical petroleum. That price will come with a plant capable of processing 1,500 tons of feedstock every day. The KiOR demonstration plant currently in operation can only process 10 tons per day today.

Clean technology market research firm Lux Research said biomaterials production will grow faster than biofuels, with 17.7 percent growth each year. That growth would be driven by major deals like this one, according to the firm. The biochemical industry was also worth $11.7 billion last year, up 7 percent from 2009. That’s because about 95 percent of plastics use some petroleum in some way — and most companies are looking for a cheaper alternative.

Futures for light, sweet crude oil cost more than $90 as of this morning — which will inevitably send up the price of just about everything that uses petroleum as a production component, including gasoline. That could give KiOR a good chance to be competitive once its production facilities are completed.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced on Wednesday that she will join KiOR’s board of directors beginning July 2011. KiOR said Rice would provide “expertise in global business as we pursue our international strategy” in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.

KiOR raised $1.4 million from Khosla Ventures after being spun out of BIOeCON. The company is located in Pasadena, Texas.

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