Since their March peak of $15, Solazyme (NASDAQ: SZYM ) shares are off more than 25% from a new share offering and a broad sell-off in tech and growth stocks. But with the catalysts for Solazyme in 2014, this sell-off looks like an excellent buying opportunity for long-term investors.
Kicking off Solazyme's big drop was the announcement that the company would offer 5 million new shares and $130 million of convertible notes. The market took a while to digest the news, seeing shares off only a few percent initially but taking a double-digit percentage loss by the end of trading.
The offering will result in an additional 5 million common shares and the potential for about 10 million more if the convertible notes are converted to common shares. In total, this means around 15 million additional common shares. With about 75 million shares outstanding, this offering could result in the share count increasing by 20%.
Depending on whether the overallotments are exercised, Solazyme expects to raise somewhere between $176 million and $203 million. While shareholders never like dilution, this additional cash should help Solazyme in its expansion. With the company planning major capacity growth over the next few years as it ramps up production, having this extra cash around provides more security for Solazyme going forward.
Tech and growth panic
Since March, there has been a broader market movement against technology and growth stocks. Some have attributed this to overvaluation, a near-term correction, or big money taking a more cautious stance on markets and moving toward less risky investments. No matter why tech and growth stocks are lower, the Nasdaq is off over 5% from its highs, and higher growth plays have suffered the most.
Solazyme has been an easy target for the sell-off since the company is both losing money and has exposure to an industry where a major player is having financial difficulties. On the financials front, Solazyme is losing money because it's investing heavily in building facilities to ramp up production. Doing so is necessary to the company's plans to scale its technology.
Although Solazyme is targeting specialty chemicals rather than biofuels right now, the market can't help but compare Solazyme to biofuel companies. Surviving in the biofuel industry has been difficult with many high profile names trading well below their initial offering prices as losses continue for many biofuel producers. Since there are few other companies to compare Solazyme to, the comparison to biofuel companies is most often used and it lumps Solazyme into an industry Wall Street is more skeptical of.
This year marks the beginning of Solazyme's production-scaling plan. Shares were driven higher earlier this year when the company announced production of its algae oils at its Clinton, Iowa, facility. As the year progresses, Solazyme expects to increase production levels at that facility.
But the company is also looking toward Brazil for another production facility. Solazyme has been working on its Moema, Brazil, facility for years in both logistics and financing. This year, Solazyme nears completion of and may start production at the Moema facility. With a 100,000 MT capacity, the facility would provide a major boost to Solazyme's production.
Shares on sale
A share offering and a sell-off in tech and growth stocks have hit Solazyme shares hard since mid-March, making shares cheaper for investors wanting to build or increase their position. Solazyme's growth plans remain intact and the company has already demonstrated the beginning of production at its Iowa facility.
Through 2014, investors should look for a ramp-up in production and for the markets to realize the difference between Solazyme's tailored oils and unstable biofuel companies. I will continue to hold my shares of Solazyme and may add more if the price goes lower. Investors looking for a unique growth company coming off a rough month of share-price performance should have a look at Solazyme.
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