Gevo will be profitable by 2014, CEO says

LOS ANGELES Thu May 5, 2011 1:55pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Renewable chemical maker Gevo Inc, which has yet to start commercial production of its primary product, expects to be "outright profitable" by 2014, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Gruber said on Thursday.

The company is in the process of retrofitting a corn ethanol plant in Luverne, Minnesota, to make isobutanol from corn starch. That 18-million-gallon-per-year plant is expected to start production in the first half of 2012.

Isobutanol is used in blended fuels and the production of plastics, fibers and rubbers. According to Gruber, Gevo will be able to make the chemical not only more green, but also up to 40 percent cheaper.

"We're going to make believers out of everybody," he said in an interview.

The company has also signed letters of intent to retrofit two additional plants, Gruber said. Those plants will be in the 50-million-gallon-a-year range and will start up at the end of 2012 and in the middle of 2013, he added.

Gevo, which is based in Englewood, Colorado, expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to be positive in early 2013.

"By 2014 I expect to be outright profitable," Gruber said. "If the world works right."

Gevo shares were down 0.1 percent at $19.02 in early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. The company went public at $15 a share in February.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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