D1 Oils revealed yet another yet another change of tack – an
expansion from jatropha into oilseeds such as castor and neem – as it raised
hopes of avoiding yet another cash call thanks to improvements at its Indian
D1, which in the last four years has seen ideas such as
biofuels refining, a tie-up with BP and a takeover by Australia's Mission
NewEnergy fall flat, revealed that it was to become a supplies of a range of non-edible
oilseeds, rather than just jatropha, which it has focused on since 2008.
"The board believes that the group can become a producer and
supplier of crude oil and seed cake from multiple non-edible oil seeds in
addition to jatropha," said Steven Rudofsky, the D1 chairman, who in September acknowledged that jatropha had been a "disappointment".
"A key element to its strategy will be to diversify from its
reliance on jatropha… with a view to achieving high volume usage of available
storage and processing facilities, and creating a wider supplier base."
Castor and neem
This move has already seen D1 trial processing at its Indian
operations of seeds such as castor and neem, and pomgamia of which it has
crushed 100 tonnes to create oil which has sold for $1,060 a tonne and cake
which worth more than $100 a tonne.
Neem oil, which is used in India in preparing cosmetics,
pharmaceuticals and pesticides, has achieved more than $1,500 a tonne.
Indeed, D1 added that part of its strategy would be to
develop from supplying biodiesel manufacturers to finding customers in a
broader range of markets, including the biochemicals, personal care and pharmaceuticals
The group has "very good opportunities" within the sectors, "which
will allow it to strengthen and expand through profitable trading, with reduced
reliance on the demand for biofuels and the impact of biofuel legislation", Mr Rudofsky
London-listed D1 turned away biofuels refining and trading
in 2008 after cheap imports of heavily-subsidised US biodiesel left European
It championed jatropha as a source of biodiesel feedstock which can be grown on poor quality land, so not stoking concerns of biofuel crops taking farms out of food production.
The comments came as the group unveiled a near-halving in
losses for the July-to-December period to £1.6m, on revenues up 57% at £141,500.
While cash reserves fell to £2.2m at the end of December,
from £3.5m a year before, the group revealed that cost cuts had slashed its
overheads to £260,000 a month in the second half of 2011, and further now to £90,000
And, with the company now trading "on a cash positive basis"
thanks to the sale of Indian-grown jatropha, D1 raised hopes of avoiding a further
in a string of cash raises, which have numbered at least five since the group's
flotation in 2004.
"In October, the board announced that the company may seek
to raise further funds from shareholders during the latter half of 2012 to
enable the group to finance its development until it becomes cash flow
self-sufficient," Mr Rudofsky said.
"In light of the positive impact of the restructuring and
cost reduction plan which has been achieved to date, and the ongoing review of
future development plans, the board will over the coming months be considering
this matter further and whether it would be
appropriate to proceed with a
shareholder funding process this year."
D1 shares, which hit 565p seven years ago, closed at 1.9p, up 15.2% on the day.