Tulsa-based biofuels technology company Syntroleum Corp., which has struggled with mounting financial losses, patent fights and production problems for years, announced Wednesday it has finally found a buyer in Renewable Energy Group Inc.
REG, a publicly traded company based in Ames, Iowa, is slated to pay Syntroleum about 3.8 million shares of its stock, making the deal worth close to $41 million.
The deal still needs Syntroleum shareholder approval in March, but CEO Gary Roth sounded an optimistic note about the deal.
"We are extremely pleased to have found a great partner in REG and to provide our stockholders with the opportunity to participate in a company with significant upside potential," Roth said in a statement. "We are confident that REG's multi-feedstock business model and the combination of our strong management teams will drive increased value for Syntroleum's stockholders and is the best path forward for Syntroleum."
Syntroleum, whose shares currently trade on the Nasdaq stock market, will be liquidated and dissolved after the sale. The company said its board of directors unanimously approved the sale.
Syntroleum markets various biofuels technologies. It also is a partner with Tyson Foods Inc. in the Dynamic Fuels LLC plant in Geismar, La., which converts animal fats and greases into diesel.
Syntroleum revealed it had received unsolicited offers from potential buyers for its properties and patents. It had hired an outside firm to scout its strategic alternatives.
"Combining Syntroleum's renewable and synthetic fuel technologies with REG's expertise in biodiesel production, sales, marketing and logistics should be a positive outcome for investors in both companies," said Daniel J. Oh, CEO of REG, in a statement. "This will help us grow our advanced biofuel business, enhance our intellectual property portfolio, expand our geographic footprint and launch REG into new customer segments.
"Syntroleum and its 50%-owned subsidiary Dynamic Fuels represent an attractive entry path for REG into renewable diesel. They have invested substantial resources in their Bio-Synfining technology, which enables the economical conversion of lipid-based biomass into diesel and jet fuel. Their technology and products complement our core biodiesel business."
Syntroleum has rarely produced profits in recent history. In fact, the company was threatened with delisting from the Nasdaq after its share price fell below $1 for an extended period.
Earlier this year, the company enacted a 1-for-10 reverse stock split to buoy the price. The move greatly reduced the number of outstanding shares.
On Wednesday, shares of Syntroleum soared more than 35 percent, rising 88 cents to $3.34.
REG, also listed on the Nasdaq, rose 54 cents, or 5.1 percent, to finish at $11.10.
The Oklahoman contributed to this report.
Syntroleum Corp. timeline
1984: Company founded by Kenneth L. Agee
2008: Syntroleum and joint venture partner Tyson Foods announce construction of plant in Geismar, La., to produce biofuels
2010: Dynamic Fuels plant completed
2011-13: Dynamic Fuels experiences several plant shutdowns
March 2013: Syntroleum reports $5.1 million net loss for 2012
April: Company puts 1-for-10 stock split into effect
July: Company announces it is exploring strategic alternatives, including an asset sale
Wednesday: Syntroleum announces it is being acquired by Renewable Energy Group
Rod Walton 918-581-8457