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GEVO > SEC Filings for GEVO > Form 10-K on 26-Mar-2013All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-K for GEVO, INC.


26-Mar-2013

Annual Report


Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes that appear elsewhere in this Report. In addition to historical financial information, the following discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those discussed below. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences include those discussed below and elsewhere in this Report, particularly in "Risk Factors."

We are a renewable chemicals and next generation biofuels company. Our overall strategy is to commercialize bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based products using a combination of synthetic biology and chemical technology. In order to implement this strategy, we are taking a building block approach. Initially, we intend to produce and sell isobutanol from renewable feedstocks. Isobutanol is a four carbon alcohol that can be sold directly for use as a specialty chemical in the production of solvents, paints, and coatings or as a value-added fuel blendstock. Isobutanol can also be converted into butenes using straightforward dehydration chemistry deployed in the refining and petrochemicals industries today. The convertibility of isobutanol into butenes is important because butenes are primary hydrocarbon building blocks used in the production of lubricants, rubber, plastics, fibers, other polymers and hydrocarbon fuels.

We believe that products derived from our isobutanol will be drop-in products, which means that our customers will be able to replace petroleum-based intermediate products with bio-isobutanol-based intermediate products without modification to their equipment or production processes. The final products produced from our bio-isobutanol-based intermediate products will be chemically and visually identical to those produced from petroleum-based intermediate products, except that they will contain carbon from renewable sources. Customer interest in our isobutanol is primarily driven by our production route, which we believe will be cost-efficient, and our isobutanol's potential to serve as a cost-effective, environmentally sensitive alternative to the petroleum-based intermediate products that they currently use. We believe that at every step of the value chain, renewable products that are chemically identical to the incumbent petrochemical products will have lower market adoption hurdles in contrast with other bio-industrial products because the infrastructure and applications for such products already exist. In addition, we believe that products made from bio-based isobutanol will be subject to less cost volatility than the petroleum-based products in use today based on the historical cost volatility of agricultural feedstocks compared to oil.

In order to produce and sell isobutanol made from renewable sources, we have developed GIFT®, an integrated technology platform for the efficient production and separation of isobutanol. GIFT® consists of two components, proprietary biocatalysts, which convert sugars derived from multiple renewable feedstocks into isobutanol through fermentation, and a proprietary separation unit, which is designed to continuously separate isobutanol from water during the fermentation process. We developed our technology platform to be compatible with the existing approximately 23 billion gallons per year of global operating ethanol production capacity, as estimated by the Renewable Fuels Association. GIFT ® is designed to allow relatively low capital expenditure retrofits of existing ethanol facilities, enabling a rapid route to isobutanol production from the fermentation of renewable feedstocks. We believe that our production route will be cost-efficient and will enable rapid deployment of our technology platform and allow our isobutanol and the products produced from it to be economically competitive with many of the petroleum-based products used in the chemicals and fuels markets today.

We expect that the combination of our efficient proprietary technology, our marketing focus on providing drop-in substitutes for incumbent petrochemical products and our relatively low capital investment retrofit approach will mitigate many of the historical issues associated with the commercialization of renewable chemicals and fuels.

In September 2009, Gevo, Inc. formed Gevo Development to develop isobutanol production assets using GIFT ®. Gevo Development has a flexible business model and aims to secure access to existing ethanol capacity either through joint venture, licensing arrangements, tolling arrangements or direct acquisition.


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Agri-Energy

In September 2010, we acquired the Agri-Energy Facility, a 22 MGPY ethanol production facility in Luverne, Minnesota. The Agri-Energy Facility is a traditional dry-mill facility, which means that it uses corn as a feedstock. In partnership with ICM, we have developed a detailed retrofit design for this facility and began the retrofit in 2011. In May 2012, we commenced initial startup operations for the production of isobutanol at this facility. During initial startup operations we produced approximately 100,000 gallons of bio-based isobutanol for sale and future customer testing. These initial startup operations included production of initial quantities of isobutanol produced at commercial scale, completion of initial commissioning of new equipment and development of operating discipline at commercial scale. In September 2012, as a result of a lower than planned production rate of isobutanol, we made the strategic decision to pause isobutanol production at the Agri-Energy Facility for a period of time to focus on optimizing specific parts of our technology to further enhance isobutanol production rates. Factors that contributed to this strategic decision included, among others, that producing isobutanol at startup production rates while working to improve those production rates would result in operating the Agri-Energy Facility at significantly below break-even cash flow level and that we believed that we had generated the necessary information required from our startup operations to work on enhancing our production rates at our testing laboratory in Colorado. We intend to resume isobutanol production at the Agri-Energy Facility in support of future commercial operations once this work has been completed. Based on our progress to date, we anticipate resuming isobutanol production at the Agri-Energy Facility in 2013.

Through December 31, 2012, we have incurred capital costs of approximately $56.1 million on the retrofit of the Agri-Energy Facility. The retrofit of the Agri-Energy Facility includes a number of additional capital costs that are unique to the design of the facility, including additional equipment that we believe will allow us to switch between ethanol and isobutanol production, modifications to increase the potential production capacity of GIFT® at this facility and the establishment of an enhanced yeast seed train to accelerate the adoption of improved yeast strains at the Agri-Energy Facility and at future plants. Capital expenditures at the Agri-Energy Facility also include upfront design and engineering expenses, plant modifications identified as necessary during initial startup operations for the production of isobutanol as well as sales tax on equipment and capitalized interest. We have incurred approximately $21.7 million in capital expenditures associated with these additional design features and other costs. We do not anticipate installing an advanced yeast seed train at each future retrofit site.

Until May 2012, when we commenced initial startup operations for the production of isobutanol at the Agri-Energy Facility, we derived revenue from the sale of ethanol, distiller's grains and other related products produced as part of the ethanol production process at the Agri-Energy Facility. Continued ethanol production during the retrofit process allowed us to retain local staff for the future operation of the plant, maintain the equipment and generate cash flow. However, the continued production of ethanol is not our intended business and our future return on invested capital depends on our ability to produce and market isobutanol and products derived from isobutanol, not on continued production and sales of ethanol. We believe that we will be able to transition back to the production and sale of ethanol and related products at the Agri-Energy Facility, other than during certain periods while we are working to optimize certain parts of our isobutanol production technology, if we were to project positive cash flows from ethanol operations versus maintaining the facility at idle, including any costs related to the transition, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case. Through the filing of this Annual Report, we have not transitioned back to ethanol production because, based on current ethanol operating conditions, we believe that we would generate greater negative cash flows compared to maintaining the Agri-Energy Facility at idle. Following the commencement of full-scale commercial production of isobutanol, we do not expect to generate significant future revenues from the sale of ethanol produced at the Agri-Energy Facility. Accordingly, the historical operating results of our subsidiary, Agri-Energy, and the operating results reported during the retrofit to isobutanol production may not be indicative of future operating results for Agri-Energy or Gevo once commercial scale isobutanol production commences at this facility.


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Revenues, Cost of Goods Sold and Operating Expenses

Revenues

During the years ended December 31, 2012, 2011 and 2010, we derived revenue primarily from the sale of ethanol. Substantially all ethanol sold through Agri-Energy from the date of acquisition through December 31, 2012 was sold to C&N, a subsidiary of Mansfield Oil Company, pursuant to an ethanol purchase and marketing agreement. Our revenue also includes the sale of distiller's grains and other products produced as part of the ethanol production process to third parties.

We also derived revenue from our grant and research and development programs. Our grant, research and development program and other revenue primarily consists of the following: (i) revenues relating to government research grants;
(ii) revenues relating to cooperative agreements; (ii) research services;
(iii) sale of inventory assets; and (iv) the procurement of our products for purposes of certification and testing.

Cost of Goods Sold and Gross (Loss) Margin

Our cost of goods sold includes costs incurred in conjunction with the initial startup operations for the production of isobutanol at the Agri-Energy Facility and costs directly associated with our ethanol production process such as costs for direct materials, direct labor and certain plant overhead costs. Direct materials consist of corn feedstock, denaturant and process chemicals. Direct labor includes compensation of personnel directly involved in production operations at the Agri-Energy Facility. Plant overhead costs primarily consist of plant utilities and plant depreciation. Cost of goods sold is mainly affected by the cost of corn and natural gas. Corn is the most significant raw material cost. We purchase natural gas to power steam generation in the ethanol production process and to dry the distiller's grains. We enter into forward purchase contracts and exchange-traded futures contracts associated with corn. Accordingly, our cost of goods sold also includes gains or losses and/or changes in fair value from our forward purchase contracts and exchange-traded futures contracts. See the discussion of accounting for derivatives below under the heading "Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates."

Our gross (loss) margin is defined as our total revenues less our cost of goods sold.

Research and Development

Our research and development costs consist of expenses incurred to identify, develop and test our technologies for the production of isobutanol and the development of downstream applications thereof. Research and development expense includes personnel costs (including stock-based compensation), consultants and related contract research, facility costs, supplies, depreciation and amortization expense on property, plant and equipment used in product development, license fees paid to third parties for use of their intellectual property and patent rights and other overhead expenses incurred to support our research and development programs. Research and development expenses also include upfront fees and milestone payments made under licensing agreements and payments for sponsored research and university research gifts to support research at academic institutions.

Selling, General and Administrative

Selling, general and administrative expenses consist of personnel costs (including stock-based compensation), consulting and service provider expenses (including patent counsel-related costs), legal fees, marketing costs, corporate insurance costs, occupancy-related costs, depreciation and amortization expenses on property, plant and equipment not used in our product development programs or recorded in cost of goods sold, travel and relocation and hiring expenses.

We also record selling, general and administrative expenses for the operations of the Agri-Energy Facility that include administrative and oversight, certain personnel-related expenses, insurance and other operating expenses.


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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting policies generally accepted in the United States of America ("U.S. GAAP") requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Management bases its estimates and judgments on historical experience and on various other factors that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying value of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Management evaluates such estimates and judgments on an on-going basis and makes adjustments as deemed necessary. Actual results could differ from these estimates using different estimates and assumptions, or if conditions are significantly different in the future.

While our significant accounting policies are more fully described in Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements included in this Report, we believe that the following accounting policies are the most critical to aid you in fully understanding and evaluating our reported financial results and reflect the more significant judgments and estimates that we use in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.

Accounting for Convertible Debt and Embedded Derivatives

In July 2012, we sold $45.0 million in aggregate principal amount of Convertible Notes. Terms of the Convertible Notes, include, among others: (i) rights to convert into shares of our common stock, including upon a Fundamental Change; and (ii) a Coupon Make-Whole Payment in the event of a conversion by the holders of the Convertible Notes on or after January 1, 2013 but prior to July 1, 2017. We have determined that these specific terms are considered to be embedded derivatives in accordance with U.S. GAAP. U.S. GAAP requires embedded derivatives be separated from the host contract, the Convertible Notes, and carried at fair value when: (a) the embedded derivative possesses economic characteristics that are not clearly and closely related to the economic characteristics of the host contract; and (b) a separate, stand-alone instrument with the same terms would qualify as a derivative instrument. We have concluded that the embedded derivatives within the Convertible Notes meet these criteria and, as such, must be valued separate and apart from the Convertible Notes and recorded at fair value each reporting period.

For purposes of accounting and financial reporting, we combine these embedded derivatives and value them together as one unit of accounting. At each reporting period, we record these embedded derivatives at fair value which is included as a component of the Convertible Notes on our consolidated balance sheets.

We have used a binomial lattice model in order to estimate the fair value of the embedded derivative in the Convertible Notes. A binomial lattice model generates two probable outcomes - one up and another down -arising at each point in time, starting from the date of valuation until the maturity date. A lattice was initially used to determine if the Convertible Notes would be converted, called or held at each decision point. Within the lattice model, the following assumptions are made: (i) the Convertible Notes will be converted early if the conversion value is greater than the holding value; or (ii) the Convertible Notes will be called if the holding value is greater than both (a) the Redemption Price (as defined in the Indenture) and (b) the conversion value plus the Coupon Make-Whole Payment at the time. If the Convertible Notes are called, then the holder will maximize their value by finding the optimal decision between (1) redeeming at the Redemption Price and (2) converting the Convertible Notes.

Using this lattice, we valued the embedded derivatives using the "with-and-without method," where the value of the Convertible Notes including the embedded derivatives is defined as the "with," and the value of the Convertible Notes excluding the embedded derivatives is defined as the "without." This method estimates the value of the embedded derivatives by looking at the difference in the values between the Convertible Notes with the embedded derivatives and the value of the Convertible Notes without the embedded derivatives.


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The lattice model requires the following inputs: (i) price of our common stock;
(ii) Conversion Rate (as defined in the Indenture); (iii) Conversion Price (as defined in the Indenture); (iv) maturity date; (v) risk-free interest rate;
(vi) estimated stock volatility; and (vii) estimated credit spread for the Company.

The following table sets forth the inputs to the lattice model used to value the embedded derivative.

                                      December 31, 2012       Issuance Date
        Stock price                  $              1.54      $         4.95
        Conversion Rate                         175.6697            175.6697
        Conversion Price             $              5.69      $         5.69
        Maturity date                       July 1, 2022        July 1, 2022
        Risk-free interest rate                     1.68 %              1.62 %
        Estimated stock volatility                    79 %                72 %
        Estimated credit spread                       37 %                30 %

The following table sets forth the value of the Convertible Notes with and without the embedded derivatives, and the fair value of the embedded derivatives as of the issuance date and December 31, 2012 (in thousands).

                                                 December 31, 2012              Issuance Date
Fair value of Convertible Notes:
With the embedded derivatives                   $            26,000            $        45,000
Without the embedded derivatives                             15,000                     17,000

Estimated fair value of the embedded
derivatives                                     $            11,000            $        28,000

Changes in certain inputs into the lattice model can have a significant impact on changes in the estimated fair value of the embedded derivatives. For example, a decrease in the estimated credit spread for the Company results in an increase in the estimated value of the embedded derivatives. Conversely, a decrease in the price of our common stock results in a decrease in the estimated fair value of the embedded derivatives. From the date the Convertible Notes were issued through December 31, 2012, we observed a significant decline in the market price of our common stock which resulted in a $17.0 million decline in the estimated fair value of our embedded derivatives from issuance through December 31, 2012.

Impairment of Property, Plant and Equipment

Our property, plant and equipment consist primarily of assets associated with the acquisition and retrofit of the Agri-Energy Facility. We assess impairment of property, plant and equipment for recoverability when events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying amount may not be recoverable. Circumstances which could trigger a review include, but are not limited to:
significant decreases in the market price of the asset; significant adverse changes in the business climate, legal or regulatory factors; accumulation of costs significantly in excess of the amount originally expected for the acquisition or construction of the asset; current period cash flow or operating losses combined with a history of losses or a forecast of continuing losses associated with the use of the asset; or expectations that the asset will more likely than not be sold or disposed of significantly before the end of its estimated useful life. The carrying amount of a long-lived asset is considered to be impaired if it exceeds the sum of the undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use and eventual disposition of the asset.

We evaluated our Agri-Energy Facility for impairment as of December 31, 2012 primarily due to the loss from operations and negative cash flows generated at Agri-Energy during the year ended December 31, 2012 and the strategic decision to pause isobutanol production in September 2012. This evaluation included comparing the carrying amount of the acquisition and retrofit of the Agri-Energy Facility to the estimated undiscounted future


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cash flows at the Agri-Energy Facility as this represents the lowest level of identifiable cash flows. Significant assumptions included in the estimated undiscounted future cash flows include, among others, estimates of the:

• sales price of isobutanol and by-products such as dried distiller grains;

• purchase price of corn;

• production levels of isobutanol; and

• costs to produce isobutanol.

Factors which can impact these assumptions include, but are not limited to;

• effectiveness of yeast growth to produce isobutanol;

• demand for isobutanol and oil prices; and

• harvest levels of corn.

Based upon our evaluation at December 31, 2012, we concluded that the estimated undiscounted future cash flows from Agri-Energy exceeded the carrying value of the Agri-Energy Facility and, as such, these assets were not impaired. Although our cash flow forecasts are based on assumptions that are consistent with our planned use of the assets, these estimates required significant exercise of judgment and are subject to change in future reporting periods as facts and circumstances change. Additionally, we may make changes to our business plan that could result in changes to the expected cash flows. As a result, it is possible that a long- lived asset may be impaired in future reporting periods.

Stock-Based Compensation

Our stock-based compensation expense includes expenses associated with stock-based awards granted to employees, board members, non-employees and expenses associated with our employee stock purchase plan ("ESPP"). The estimated fair value of stock options and ESPP awards is determined on the date of grant and recorded to expense over the requisite service period, generally the vesting period. We estimate the fair value of stock option awards using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model which requires judgments to be made, including estimating: (i) the expected life of an award; (ii) stock price volatility; and (iii) prior to our initial public offering in February 2011, estimating the fair value of our common stock.

The Black-Scholes option-pricing model calculates the estimated fair value of stock options using the following inputs: (i) expected stock option life;
(ii) expected volatility; (iii) risk-free interest rate; (iv) expected dividend yield rate; (v) exercise price; and (vi) closing price of our common stock on the date of grant.

Due to our limited history of grant activity, we use the "simplified method" to estimate the expected stock option life permitted by the SEC as the arithmetic average of the total contractual term of the option and its vesting period. We calculate the estimated volatility rate based on selected comparable public companies, due to a lack of historical information regarding the volatility of our stock price. We will continue to analyze the historical stock price volatility assumption as more historical data for our common stock becomes available. The risk-free interest rate assumption is based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect on the date of grant for instruments with a term similar to the expected life of the related option. No dividends are expected to be paid.

The estimated fair value of a stock option using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model is impacted significantly by changes in a company's stock price. For example, all other assumptions being equal, the estimated fair value of a stock option will increase as the closing price of a company's stock increases, and vice versa. Prior to the closing of our initial public offering, we were a private company and, as such, we were required to estimate the fair value of our common stock. In the absence of a public trading market, we determined a reasonable estimate of the then-current fair value of our common stock for purposes of granting stock-based compensation based on multiple criteria. We determined the fair value of our common stock utilizing methodologies, approaches and assumptions consistent with the American Institute of Certified Public


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Accountants Practice Aid, "Valuation of Privately-Held-Company Equity Securities Issued as Compensation." After the closing of our initial public offering in February 2011, the fair value of our common stock is no longer an estimate as it is based upon the closing price of our stock on the NASDAQ Global Market on the date of grant

Revenue Recognition

Following consummation of the Agri-Energy acquisition on September 22, 2010, we recorded revenue from the sale of ethanol and related products through commencement of startup isobutanol production in May 2012. We have not shipped significant quantities of ethanol and related products since May 2012. We recognize revenue when all of the following criteria are satisfied: persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists; risk of loss and title transfer to the customer; the price is fixed or determinable; and collectability is reasonably assured. Ethanol and related products are generally shipped free on board shipping point. Collectability of revenue is reasonably assured based on historical evidence of collectability between us and our customers. In accordance with our agreements for the marketing and sale of ethanol and related . . .

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