KiOR makes first shipment, reports loss

COLUMBUS — Texas-based KiOR Inc. has reached a milestone with the first shipments of cellulostic diesel from its biofuels production facility in Lowndes County.

KiOR president and CEO Fred Cannon says in a statement that the company will focus on achieving “steady state operations” in Columbus. He says KiOR expects to produce between 3 million and 5 million gallons for the year at that plant.

The Columbus facility is a smaller-scale version of what the company plans in Natchez, a cellulostic fuel plant that uses pine wood chips as feed stock.

The Columbus plant is a converted paper mill, which had been closed. In Natchez, the plant will be built from the ground up.

The announcement coincided with the company’s fourth quarter 2012 earnings call.

KiOR’s fourth-quarter loss nearly doubled with the start-up costs of a Mississippi production facility weighing on results from the alternative fuel company.

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

For the quarter ended 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 Mississippi 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.

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