Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Qteros: Here Today. Gone Tomorrow?

Following private alternative energy companies offers unique challenges for those of us accustomed the myriad news feeds available for public companies.  We check as often as possible with the private operations, mostly just to make certain they are still around.  The challenges of alternative energy technology have a way of weeding out developers at a fairly high rate.

It was a bit unnerving the other day, looking for news from Qteros (former SunEthanol) only to find that the corporate website appeared blank in our web browser.  Only after multiple attempts from several different computers were we able to get the site to display.  Virtual presence  -  or the lack thereof  -  means nothing so we tried a phone call only to get no answer at the corporate phone number.  Hmmm?

The most recent news article we could find about Qteros was dated November 2011 on the CNN Fortune Money site.  The author cites several sources suggesting the company is being “wound down,” whatever that means.  A licensing model was one possible outcome.  Qteros was attempting a cellulosic ethanol process with its Q Microbe, an anaerobic micro-organism, that Qteros scientists and engineers think has the right stuff to process a variety of feedstocks into ethanol. 

It appears that new leadership is at the helm at Qteros.  The SVP of Commercial Development and Engineering, Mick Sawka, was promoted to CEO.  Judging by Qteros announcements the last CEO spent a lot of time making presentations as investor conferences.  In my view, this company needs to make an announcement related to commercialization.  The new CEO claims experience in “managing R&D, business, licensing, and acquisition efforts has been demonstrated in both development-stage and large-scale organizations.”  Minority investors like you and me have “no dog in this fight” but it will be interesting to see who will ultimately gain value from the development work that was done at Qteros  -  the private equity and venture funds that bankrolled Qteros or some licensor of the Q Microbe.


Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

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