The AP reported on Friday that President Obama was outside of Chicago at the Argonne National Laboratory, calling on congress to authorize $200 million in annual spending for research into alternative energy sources for the nation’s automobiles, with a particular emphasis placed on biofuels.
Such a spending initiative, no matter how well intentioned or even necessary, will certainly pose political difficulties in the current climate, with recent studies having shown that the U.S. will become the world’s largest producer of oil by the end of the decade, and daily news about the looming consequences of sequestration-related spending cuts. All the same, there are already a number of companies who stand to benefit in the event of increased interest and activity in this industry.
Biofuel companies have mostly been privately owned affairs, but that has been changing over the last few years. Here are 6 small-cap American stocks that may be worth keeping in mind in the event that the aforementioned funding gets approved:
FutureFuel Corp (FF) – The Breese, Illinois-based company is involved in a number of different projects, but the relevant one in this instance is the production of biodiesel. Their current production capacity is 59 million gallons per year, using multiple sources such as soybean oil, beef tallow, and pork lard. With a market cap of $574 million, shares have gained 18.31 percent in 2013, currently trading at $13.89. Furthermore, their sales have increased over 68 percent in the past five years.
Solayzme Inc (SZYM) – One of the best-known biofuel companies, the South San Francisco outfit produces 100 percent algal-derived diesel, jet and marine fuel with its “soladiesel” and “solajet” lines for both military and commercial use. With a market cap of $541 million, their sales have increased nearly 200 percent over the last five years, while shares have increased 11.45 percent in 2013, currently trading at $8.76.
Rentech Inc. (RTK) – Operating out of Illinois and Texas, Rentech is involved in the production of biodegradable jet and diesel fuels for commercial and military use. Rentech’s market cap is $574 million, and shares have gained over 44 percent over the past year, currently trading at $2.60.
Ashland Inc. (ASH) – The Kentucky-based company makes a wide variety of chemicals, including liquid products that increase corn oil yield by improving the release of oil during extraction (corn oil is sold as a feedstock for biodiesel). Their market cap is $6.4 billion, and shares have gained 34.50 percent over the past year, currently trading at $81.02.
Methes Energies International Ltd. (MEIL) – Methes Energies is the designer of the Denami biodiesel processor, a turn-key product like much of the solar panel installations in individual homes or apartment buildings these days. The company has a market cap of$27.2 million, and shares have gained 13.5 percent in 2013, trading at $3.97.
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