Why Solazyme Shares Surged

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Solazyme (NASDAQ: SZYM  ) popped 12% today, after the biofuel maker achieved commercial-scale production at Archer Daniels Midland's (NYSE: ADM  ) Clinton, Iowa facility.

So what: Solazyme scaled its renewable oil fermentation process to a whopping 500,000-liter vessels -- four times larger than those at its Peoria, Illinois plant -- reinforcing optimism over the technology's commercial feasibility. Additionally, the good news suggests that the company might be able to generate revenue from the plant sooner than expected, prompting investors to raise their valuation estimates on the stock.

Now what: Starting in early 2014, Solazyme estimates annual production of 20,000 metric tons of oil at the ADM plant, with targeted expansion to 100,000 metric tons. According to Solazyme CTO Peter Licar:

Solazyme is currently developing commercial facilities in the US, France and Brazil, and with these runs we have now achieved linear scale-up of over 70,000-fold from our labs. 

More importantly, with the stock still off about 45% from its 52-week highs, even after today's pop, there seems like plenty of room left to buy into that bullishness.

Interested in more info on Solazyme? Add it to your watchlist.


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