This Oil Stock Offers a Fantastic Opportunity

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I always get fascinated by companies that are doing well in business lines not many will think of venturing into. Solazyme (NAS: SZYM) falls in this category, and it never fails to impress me.

What is it that gets me so excited about this company that's hardly six months into the market and has yet to see a profitable quarter? Just three reasons -- read on and you'll know why I give this stock a thumbs-up.

It's unique
Solazyme's technology is unique and interesting. Using microalgae, it converts cheap plant-based sugars into tailored oils. Tailored? Well, Solazyme can easily adapt its oils for use in almost anything you can think of-- from fuels to food to beauty products.

But, you might argue, it's not the only company trying out the green route. True, there is competition, but it doesn't look threatening. There's Amyris (NAS: AMRS) , which turns sugars into hydrocarbons to produce products like lubricants, polymers, and fuel. But Amyris' technology may not find applications in as many industries as Solazyme's oils can.

Similarly, Solazyme's oils are more flexible compared to Gevo's corn-to-isobutanol technology that can be used in jet fuel and synthetic rubber. Then there's Kior (NAS: KIOR) , which can convert biomass into gasoline, diesel, etc. But the company is still building its facility and hasn't started generating revenues yet.

Now you have an idea of how Solazyme appears well ahead in the race. Wait till I tell you what kind of companies are showing interest in it -- you might be surprised!

It's finding more takers
Solazyme's oils are permeating all sorts of industries -- from the ground to the skies.

Recently, a flight from Houston to Chicago made for an interesting headline -- it was powered by a biofuel developed by Solazyme in collaboration with Honeywell International's (NYS: HON) jet fuel process technology. Imagine what opportunities this could open up for Solazyme, especially when oil prices are creating all sorts of chaos. And what's better than a biggie like Honeywell backing up Solazyme's innovation?

Now, Solazyme has signed a Letter of Intent with highflier United Continental's (NYS: UAL) United Airlines --the same airline that was operating the flight -- to supply up to 20 million gallons per year of renewable jet fuel starting in 2014. Solazyme is rapidly ramping up its capacity, and looks all set to produce more and more.

On the ground, apart from supplying marine diesel fuel to the U.S. Navy, Solazyme is now gladly adding the who's who of companies to its customer list.

It signed its fourth agreement with Unilever last month, to brainstorm how to use its oils in products like soaps. If this is successful, Unilever might actually end up buying commercial quantities of these oils for many years to come! J.C. Penney is also stocking up on more of Solazyme's microalgae-based luxury skin-care line in its stores now.

Solazyme's also forming a joint venture with Bunge (NYS: BG) in Brazil to produce triglyceride oils for chemical applications using sugarcane feedstock. Interestingly, this is one thing that Solazyme has in common with Amyris, which also has tie-ins with Bunge, and has even joined hands with Brazilian ethanol company ETH to produce a cane-based chemical.

Already overwhelmed? Wait, there's more! Solazyme has multiple agreements with none other than oil major Chevron (NYS: CVX) , to research how algal technology can be applied to diesel fuel, lubes, and additives. Solazyme also completed its first phase of a research program with chemical giant Dow Chemical two months back.

Solazyme couldn't have asked for a better start! What's more, it is also generating more revenues than before.

Its revenues are looking up
Solazyme's revenues are growing by the day. Its third-quarter top line surged to $8.9 million from $$4.6 million a year ago, as research agreements fell into its lap. In its second quarter, too, revenues had jumped 68% from a year ago to $7.4 million.  

Solazyme has been spending a lot on research and development, product launches, and marketing. As a result, its operating expenses are higher than its revenues, thereby resulting in losses. Its third-quarter net losses widened to $14 million from $8.9 million a year ago.

But consider this: Solazyme is currently trying hard to gain wider recognition and acceptance of its innovative technology. Once it gets a good foothold, it shouldn't take the company much time to turn its losses around. Growing revenues could then be the key to a great future.

The Foolish bottom line
Solazyme's business line is extremely interesting, and its latest developments and growing top line are enough to excite anybody. So what if the company's bottom line is yet to see black? Its technology has the power to take the world by storm -- a world that's trying hard to make living cleaner and greener. I can't help but put my faith in Solazyme. Just a little patience, and who knows how good this bet could turn out to be!

It could really be worth knowing all about which new nooks and crannies Solazyme's oil is seeping into. Don't you think so? Do chime in with your comments below. And also add this unique oil stock to your stock Watchlist, our free and personalized stock-tracking service, to stay updated.

At the time this article was published Neha Chamaria does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Solazyme and Amyris.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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