Israeli Plant Genomics Firm Evogene Files for U.S. Share Offering

Stocks of TASE-listed plant genomics technology rose 2.1% on news of continued collaboration with Swiss company Syngenta, to NIS 26.77.

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Evogene, whose plant genomics technology is used to develop better-yielding crops, says it will be floating as much as $60 million worth of stock on Wall Street.

The company, which trades on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at a market capitalization of NIS 1 billion, said it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol EVGN. The scope of the offering has not yet been determined.

Shares of Evogene, which a day earlier announced it had signed a three-year extension to a collaboration agreement it has with the Swiss agricultural chemicals company Syngenta, rose 2.1%, to NIS 26.77.

Prior to the offering, Evogene said it plans to conduct a reverse split of its stock to ensure that the U.S. share price will be in excess of $10. That is aimed at preventing a situation in which U.S. institutional investors would be forced to sell off the shares because they fall below 5%.

Evogene derived just over 70% of its revenues from a collaboration agreement with the American agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto, which expires next August. Monsanto also has an 8.7% stake in the company.

Another 24% of Evogene's revenue last year came from the Germany chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer.

Evogene, which lost $2.4 million on revenues of $18.8 million in the first half of this year, said in its prospectus that it doesn't expect to become profitable until it earns royalties or other income from the products it is developing. It said half the proceeds from the offering would go toward funding research and development into seed traits, which the company could then enhance to increase crop productivity.

As for the rest of the proceeds, 28% will go toward developing agricultural chemicals and the remainder will go to the company’s biofuels subsidiary.

Credit Suisse Securities and Deutsche Bank Securities are managing the offering, with the investment banks Oppenheimer & Co. and Piper Jaffray acting as co-managers.

A seedlingCredit: Dreamstime

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