initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Friday, December 16, 2011

Alternative-energy firm Coskata plans IPO

(Crain's) — Coskata Inc., the Warrenville, Illinois-based ethanol startup, plans to raise $100 million in a public offering.

In a prospectus filed Friday, Coskata plans to sell shares to finance construction of an ethanol refinery in Alabama and continue research and development. The company, which has 61 employees, uses patented technology developed in part at Argonne National Laboratory to ferment ethanol from non-food sources such as wood chips.

This is the second large IPO in the works from a Chicago-area alternative-energy company.

Woodridge-based Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc., a Cargill Inc. spinoff that creates chemicals used for everything from cosmetics to solvents from renewable sources such as palm oil, said in September it also plans to raise up to $100 million in an IPO.

Like Elevance, Coskata counts French energy giant Total S.A. as an investor and partner. Chicago-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP led the preparation of both IPOs.

The company doesn't yet have paying customers. It lost $23.3 million through the first nine months of 2011 and expects continued losses.

Coskata already has raised $103.8 million from investors, including New York-based Blackstone Group and Khosla Funds, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based clean-tech venture-capital fund started by former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Vinod Khosla.

Khosla Funds owns 27% of the company; Blackstone owns 20%; Boston-based Advanced Technology Ventures owns 18%, and Cambridge, Mass.-based Great Point Ventures owns 16%.

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