ST. LOUIS — Benson Hill, a food technology company, in August 2022 entered a partnership with ADM to scale production of high-protein soy ingredients for the North American market.
The company is seeking other partners as well.
“The next step in our evolution will include more robust partnership models to leverage the full power of our platform, pipeline, capabilities and intellectual property in existing markets as well as new large market adjacencies,” said Adrienne Elsner, interim chief executive officer, in an Aug. 9 earnings call to discuss financial results for the second quarter ended June 30. “Two areas of particular interest are the large-acre livestock feed and international markets. The feed efficiency and sustainability benefit of high protein, low anti-nutrient soybeans can potentially transform segments of the livestock feed industry.”
The animal feed market has lower margins but higher volume opportunities than the human food market, she said, adding Benson Hill soybeans are easier to digest than traditional soybeans.
“That means our soy could replace some of the higher cost ingredients in animal food, and so as we talk to potential customers, what they’re indicating to us is if we could design that kind of an innovation stream, then they would be incredibly interested in pursuing that with us.”
International markets present several opportunities.
“Our portfolio and pipeline attributes offer unique advantages for diverse international markets, whether sustainability opportunities in Europe, meat extension opportunities in Latin America or greater nutrition security to meet the explosive population growth in India, Asia and Africa,” Ms. Elsner said. “We believe partnerships that penetrate these and other markets at scale can bring unique advantages to every vertical of the agri food value chain.”
Referring to the ADM partnership, Ms. Elsner said ADM has begun to process some of Benson Hill’s 2022 crop.
“It’s utilizing their capacity and their network to leverage what we bring to the table well, which is advantaged high protein crop,” she said. “Our '23 crop dedicated to the partnership looks good so far. We’re encouraged by what we see. We don’t see major impact from the drought that has been experienced across much of the country, and we’re excited about really what the potential of this thing could be.”
St. Louis-based Benson Hill had a net loss of $57 million in the quarter, which compared with a loss of $28 million in the previous year’s second quarter. Revenues increased 17% to $109 million from $94 million.
Over the first six months of the fiscal year, a loss of $60 million compared with a loss of $44 million in the same time of the previous year. Six-month revenues increased 53% to $244 million from $160 million.
Benson Hill plans to reduce operating expenses by $10 million annually in 2024. The company is assessing options for its soybean crush assets in Seymour, Ind., said Dean P. Freeman, chief financial officer.“Our working capital improvement efforts will largely come from the outcome of the options we are exploring with Seymour,” he said.