Marrone Bio Innovations Inc (NASDAQ:MBII), a producer of biological products for crop protection and plant health, said its board has identified a “final candidate” for consideration after initiating a nationwide search for a new chief executive.
The company announced in December last year that its founder Dr Pamela Marrone was retiring from her role as chief executive. According to reports, she will take up a non-executive seat on the company’s board.
“As a result of our ongoing search efforts to replace Marrone Bio’s retiring founder, Dr Pam Marrone as chief executive officer, the Board of Directors has identified a final candidate and is moving discussions to an advanced stage,” Marrone Bio chairman Bob Woods said in a corporate update on Friday.
“We look forward to providing updates to our shareholders late in the second quarter of 2020,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kevin Hammill, who is the chief commercial officer at Marrone Bio, told investors in the update that sales of Marrone Bio's products in the specialty crop market have been positive year-to-date, despite February being “one of the driest months on record” in the company’s “key California market.”
“This continued growth builds on our 2019 performance, which included an 80% increase in the number of almond acres treated with Regalia fungicide,” Hammill added.
Regalia Biofungicide delivers better yield by stimulating a plant’s innate ability to fight diseases, said the company.
“From a macro perspective, the US Department of Agriculture’s prospective plantings report predicts that US corn and soybean acres will rebound significantly over 2019 plantings. Marrone Bio’s products to service the 2020 planting season are in-place, either in the distribution supply chain or on farm,” Hammill said.
Marrone Bio recently received a $1.7 million small business loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) contained within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The PPP allows US businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees to secure loans of up to $10 million, incentivizing them not to reduce their workforces during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The loan has a term of two years and is guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. It bears interest at a fixed rate of 1% per year with the first six months of interest deferred. Some or all of the loan may be forgiven if at least 75% of the proceeds are used by payroll costs and the company maintains its employment and compensation over the following eight weeks.
“We were fortunately able to obtain new non-dilutive financing in the form of a $1.7 million loan as part of the Paycheck Protection Program, which may be forgivable if at least 75% of the proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, as we fully anticipate,” said Marrone Bio CFO Jim Boyd.
Founded in 2006 in Davis, California, Marrone Bio holds more than 400 issued and pending patents and has brought six US Environmental Protection Agency-registered biological product lines and one biostimulant to market. Its suite of biologicals includes a bevvy of bacteria strains and plant extracts that fight pests, control plant diseases and reduce stress from sun and water.
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