Shares of Ceres Inc. rose more than 600 percent on Thursday – despite a quarterly loss – following an eight-for-one reverse stock split by the energy crops developer.
The Thousand Oaks biotech reported a net loss of $8.1 million (-$1.34 a share) for its fiscal second quarter ended Feb. 28, compared with a loss of $7.2 million (-$2.29) for the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 115 percent to $99,000.
The reverse stock split, approved at the company's March 12 annual meeting, reduced the number of shares from 48 million to about 6 million, with no fractional shares issued. The shares began trading on Thursday.
Ceres has struggled to find a market for its genetically engineered sweet sorghum seeds to make ethanol in Brazil. Sales have been lower than expected, and the company has not announced a profit since going public in 2012. Last year it reported losses of $29 million.
During the quarter, the company tried to diversify its product line. It plans to move into the U.S. forage market, roll out bioinformatics software and develop new traits for crops like corn and sugarcane.
“We have responded rapidly to changes in the energy market as well as the economic challenges faced by the Brazilian ethanol industry,” Chief Executive Richard Hamilton said in a statement. “Today, we are much more than just a bioenergy company and have expanded the number of market opportunities available for our technology and products.”
Shares closed up $2.15, or 604 percent, to $2.51 on the Nasdaq.