Benson Hill Shifts to Licensing Model, Boosts Q1 Financials

Benson Hill (NYSE: BHIL), a leading agricultural technology firm focused on unlocking the inherent genetic diversity of plants, has announced its operational and financial performance for the quarter ended March 31, 2024.

Deanie Elsner, CEO of Benson Hill, commented on the company’s strategic transition in 2024, stating, “This year marks a significant shift for us as we transition our business model towards licensing. In the first quarter, Benson Hill took decisive steps to fortify our financial position and enhance flexibility. We are committed to driving operational efficiencies, reducing costs, and optimizing our capital structure following the retirement of high-cost corporate debt.”

Elsner highlighted Benson Hill’s competitive advantage, robust strategy, and capable management team, positioning the company favorably for expansion into larger markets such as animal feed and biofuels. She expressed confidence in the company’s technology and team, anticipating strong performance throughout 2024.

Key achievements during the first quarter of 2024 include:

  • Strengthening the balance sheet through the successful divestiture of the Creston, Iowa, soy processing facility and retiring approximately $120 million in high-cost debt.
  • Expected shift in financial profile due to the reclassification of soy processing revenues and associated costs, with licensing revenue anticipated to drive higher gross profit margins.
  • Extension of cash runway through rigorous cash management and expense reduction measures.
  • Expansion of partnerships with seed distributors and industry stakeholders to accelerate the commercialization of innovative soybean varieties.
  • Progress in product development, with significant yield improvements and innovation in soybean varieties, including the development of new non-GMO, Ultra-High Protein, Low Oligosaccharide (UHP-LO) varieties.
  • Validation of the benefits of proprietary soybean meal in animal feed, with compelling cost and performance benefits demonstrated in recent feeding trials.
  • Strengthening of the executive leadership team with the appointment of Susan Keefe as Chief Financial Officer and Dan Cosgrove as Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel.

Financial highlights for the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023 include:

  • Reported revenues of $21.1 million, a decrease of 56.6%, primarily due to the absence of low-margin trading volumes generated in 2023.
  • Gross profit of $5.2 million, reflecting an increase in profitability driven by higher-margin partnerships and licensing agreements.
  • Operating expenses of $21.8 million, inclusive of non-recurring costs related to facility divestiture and business transition, with adjusted operating expenses declining by 32.1%.
  • Net loss from continuing operations of $26.3 million, with adjusted EBITDA loss narrowing to $7.1 million, compared to $14.5 million in the prior year, driven by reductions in operating expenses.

Overall, Benson Hill’s strategic initiatives and financial performance in the first quarter of 2024 demonstrate progress towards its transition to a licensing model and its commitment to long-term growth and value creation.

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