Shares in Neos Resources plunged to a record low after the vegetable
oils group opened a fresh chapter in its troubled history by unveiling yet
another strategic review, which could turn it into an investment company.
The London-listed company, which changed its name from D1
Oils in March last year, said it was ditching plans to raise funds to develop
its Indian operations – because it was not certain over their future.
"Following a review of its Indian [unit], the directors
have now concluded that even with funding, the business will not be scalable to
the level where it becomes a viable long-term business for the group," Neos
The group, revealing that it had remained in the red for the
last six months of 2012, was no longer proposing a fund-raise in the April-to-June
Indeed, the board was "currently evaluating the structure of
Neos' operation and its overall cost base and reviewing its future plans,
including exploring other opportunities.
"This evaluation may lead the directors to conclude that
Neos should become an investing company."
Such a switch would represent the latest in a series for the
group which, as D1 Oils, was once a stockmarket darling for its on jatropha - a
non-edible oilseed which grows on poor quality soils, lowering its competition with
food crops and so making it an uncontroversial choice as a biofuel feedstock.
D1 shares hit an all-time high of 565p in February 2005.
However, D1 has since seen a tie-up with BP collapse, and a
number of efforts to exploit jatropha with commercial success fall flat, driving
it last year to spread into trading other non-edible oilseeds, such as castor oil, and based
operationally in India.
It also in 2010 sold its jatropha plant science and technology activities to Quinvita, a company formed by three previous members
of management, which last year bought from Neos intellectual property rights to
research on turning jatropha meal into feed.
Later in 2010, the group saw off an attempt by activist investor Brian Myerson to take control.
Neos said in October last year that it was "confident it can
deliver a non-edible oilseeds based strategy that is viable and cash generative
over the longer term", and that it "retains the support of major shareholders
for its plans".
Neos shares on Tuesday slumped by 63% to a record low of
0.178p before recovering some ground to end at 0.285p, a
decline of 41%.