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Marrone Bio Innovations IPO raises $57 million

By From page A1 | August 04, 2013

Pam Marrone, founder of Marrone Bio Innovations of Davis. Enterprise file photo

The Nasdaq Stock Market announced Friday that trading of Davis-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products, commenced on the market under the ticker symbol “MBII.”

“Marrone Bio Innovations has been dedicated to developing environmentally safe bio-based products,” Nelson Griggs, a senior Nasdaq vice president, said in a news release. “We are pleased to welcome Marrone Bio Innovations to the Nasdaq Stock Market, and look forward to celebrating their further growth as a public company.”

The provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products, founded by Davis resident Pam Marrone, has grown to more than 100 employees since it set root in Davis in 2006. In that time, it has commercialized three award-winning products and has more in testing phases at the company’s plant at 2121 Second St.

“I’m still a little bit numb,” Marrone told the Sacramento Bee on the day trading began. “It’s been the culmination of a lot of years of hard work.”

MBI announced Thursday the pricing of its IPO of 4.75 million shares of its common stock at $12 per share, raising $57 million. The stock closed at $13.75 per share on Friday. The Bee reported that Marrone’s personal stake is worth $13.2 million

Marrone Bio Innovations announced in March plans to retrofit a once-shuttered biodiesel plant in rural Michigan, and double its work force within three years. On June 27, the company said it received the federal patent for sarmentine, the active ingredient in one of its new bioherbicides. It’s the first patent on a product candidate that researchers in the Davis lab themselves discovered and isolated.

Other commercial products of the biopesticide company have come from licensed microbes granted through resources such as USDA’s technology transfer program.

Closing of the initial public offering is expected Wednesday, subject to customary closing conditions. In addition, MBI has granted the underwriters an option for a period of 30 days to purchase an additional 712,500 shares of its common stock.

Jefferies LLC and Piper Jaffray & Co. are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc. and Roth Capital Partners, LLC, are acting as co-managers for the offering.

Marrone is an entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in the agriculture industry. She previously founded another Davis-based company, AgraQuest, in 1995, where she served as head of the business unit until April 2006.

AgraQuest had its first bid to go public derailed by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Marrone was reported as saying a few years later that the bubble in the tech market bursting was a further hindrance to proposing an initial public offering.

But the biopesticide industry is seeing rapid growth in today’s economy. The market is expected to grow up to $3.2 billion by 2017, according to a report published by MarketsandMarkets.

Enterprise staff

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