Shares in Kior, the Vinod Khosla-backed operator of the first U.S. commercial-scale cellulosic biofuel plant, fell 39 percent Tuesday, their sharpest decline on record, closing at 65 cents after management told regulators it has serious doubts about staying in business.
The company needs additional capital by April 1, and its only potential source of near-term financing is a March 16 commitment letter from billionaire investor Khosla, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The commitment for as much as $25 million is contingent upon meeting certain milestones. The company shut down its Columbus, Miss., biofuel plant in January to upgrade the manufacturing process.
If the company doesn’t receive additional financing, it is “likely” to default on its debts and may file for bankruptcy. “We have substantial doubts about our ability to continue as a going concern,” the Pasadena, Tex.-based company said in the filing. Kior makes transportation fuels from wood waste and nonfood crops.
— Bloomberg News
A government contractor on Tuesday pleaded guilty to submitting false claims while working for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency at Fort Belvoir.
Thomas J. Cicatello, 32, of Woodbridge, Va., admitted to filing time reports claiming he worked for hundreds of hours reviewing sensitive data vital to troops in war zones when he was actually not at work.
As an analyst, his job was to review intelligence on the location of bombs known as improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The information he compiled in reports was sent to service members, “who relied on the accuracy of the information they received to make strategic decisions,” according a statement issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Prosecutors said he covered his absences by filing reports that said “NSTR,” or “nothing significant to report.”
He faces a maximum of five years in prison.
Aamra S. Ahmad, Cicatello’s attorney, declined to comment.
● The consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in February, matching January’s increase, the Labor Department said. In the past 12 months, prices have risen just 1.1 percent, down from 1.6 percent in January and the smallest yearly gain in five months. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices rose 0.1 percent last month and 1.6 percent in the past year.
● Apple is selling a new, cheaper version of the plastic-cased iPhone 5c with less memory in Britain, France, Germany, Australia and China. The latest iPhone 5c has 8 gigabytes and is priced at $712 without a contract, compared with $778 for the 16-gigabyte model, according to Apple’s British store. Apple also updated its least expensive full-size iPad, adding better cameras and a faster chip to its $399 model. The fourth-generation iPad, with a 9.7-inch Retina display, has an A6X chip and a 5-megapixel camera, Apple said in a statement.
● Google and Viacom settled Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit claiming YouTube violated copyrights by letting users post video clips from television shows without authorization. Terms were not disclosed. Viacom originally sued in 2007.
● New York’s attorney general has opened a broad investigation into whether U.S. stock exchanges and alternative venues provide high-frequency traders with improper advantages. Eric T. Schneiderman said he’s examining the sale of products and services that offer faster access to data and richer information on trades than what’s typically available to the public.
— From news services
● 2 p.m.: Federal Reserve’s FOMC meeting announcement.
● 2:30 p.m.: Fed Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference.
● ● Earnings: FedEx.