KiOR makes first fuel shipment

March 19, 2013 10:30:21 AM

Sarah Fowler - [email protected]


Alternative fuel company KiOR announced Monday it has made its long-awaited first shipment of fuel from its Columbus facility.  


KiOR officials made the announcement during a conference call while announcing their 2012 fourth quarter earnings, telling investors the company shipped the fuel on Sunday. Officials added that between April and the end of the year, the Columbus plant expects to ship between three to five million gallons of fuel. Once fully operational, KiOR expects to ship 13 million gallons of fuel a year.  


KiOR's fourth-quarter loss nearly doubled with the start-up costs of the Mississippi production facility. 


It was a better showing than Wall Street had expected and shares edged up on a down day for major markets. 


For the quarter ending Dec. 31, KiOR posted a loss of $29.7 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with a loss of $14.9 million, or 15 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. 


Revenue for the recent quarter totaled $87,000, as the company marked its first commercial shipment of alternative fuel from the Columbus plant. Partially offsetting the revenue were $68,000 in production, shipping, blending and other revenue-related costs. 


Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 31 cents per share on $1.5 million in revenue, according to FactSet. 


General and administrative expenses more than tripled to $20.2 million, mainly as a result of $11.5 million in startup costs related to the Mississippi facility, while research and development costs rose 5 percent to $9.5 million on higher payroll and related expenses. 


For the full year 2012, KiOR posted a loss of $96.4 million, or 92 cents per share, compared with a loss of $83.7 million, or 87 cents per share, in 2011. Revenue for the year was also $87,000. 


KiOR converts biomass -- non-food products, like bark, leaves, wood chips, switchgrass and other plant material -- into renewable crude oil in one-second reactions. The product then is converted to fuel, which can be dropped into standard gasoline supplies and is compatible in all car and truck engines. 


The company is currently constructing a larger plant in Natchez. 


This article contains additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.