Business & Real Estate

Davis biotech firm Marrone reduces losses as sales grow

Pam Marrone, chief executive of Marrone Bio Innovations, with research scientist Julius Pasion at company headquarters in Davis.
Pam Marrone, chief executive of Marrone Bio Innovations, with research scientist Julius Pasion at company headquarters in Davis. Sacramento Bee file

Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. reported a narrower loss and a jump in revenue Tuesday as the Davis biotech company continues its turnaround.

Marrone said it lost $6.8 million in the second quarter, down from $11 million a year earlier. Revenue rose by more than 50 percent, to just over $5 million.

“At the midpoint of the year, we are pleased to have demonstrated momentum in our revenue and gross margin growth as well as achieving substantial reductions in cash usage,” said Chief Executive Pam Marrone in a prepared statement.

Product shipments, which represent the lion’s share of Marrone Bio revenue, improved by 68 percent from a year earlier.

The results come as Marrone Bio, a maker of eco-friendly pesticides and other products, continues to deal with the lingering effects of an accounting scandal that resulted in its former chief operating officer being indicted for fraud.

The former executive, Hector Absi, was charged with deliberately inflating Marrone Bio’s revenue during portions of 2013 and 2014. Prosecutors said Absi, without telling the company, gave certain outside distributors the right to return unsold products for a full refund. Absi has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The scandal sank Marrone Bio’s stock price, forced it to reduce staff and cost it millions of dollars. The company agreed to pay $12 million to settle shareholder lawsuits. However, Marrone has said the worst is over and the company is on the comeback trail.

Marrone Bio shares closed at 75 cents, down 4 cents, in Nasdaq trading. The quarterly results were announced after the market closed.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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