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Bioenergy business outlook shows steady optimism, less confidence in government

June 23, 2011
The Biofuels Digest/BIO Summer 2011 Bioenergy Business Outlook Survey was conducted last week and released this morning. The survey drew more than 400 responses, with more international participation, particularly among biofuel producers and larger companies that have been in business more than 10 years and have more revenue.

The responses show very little change in expectations of industry growth compared to the Spring 2011 survey, although respondents appeared slightly more pessimistic about government support for the industry.

For instance, the results indicate:

  • 76 percent of bioenergy executives are optimistic about their prospects for growth, compared with 85 percent in Spring 2011;

  • Only 42 percent reported that they had sought additional finance in the past 12 months, compared with 55 percent in Spring 2011;

  • 19 percent rated government’s attitude toward bioenergy as moderately or very unsupportive, compared to 15 percent in Spring.

Where respondents in the Spring survey expected 5-10 percent industry growth for the year, more respondents in the Summer survey projected 11-24 percent growth. However, respondents expected their own organization’s revenue to grow in the 1-10 percent range, where in the Spring survey more projected the 11-24 percent range.

Rising demand for alternatives and new technology were again at the top of the list as the most important drivers of growth for the industry. By contrast, only 33 percent of respondents rated government policies and tax treatment as a driver of industry growth, compared with 39 percent in Spring.

Government policies identified by respondents as most helpful to the industry included two near the top of the list in Spring:

  • “increased grants, production subsidies or incentives;” and

  • “carbon price legislation.”

But two policies identified above all others on the list in Spring only achieved equal ranking with other policies in the current survey:

  • “Better loan guarantee programs,” and

  • “Technology neutral legislation.”

Still, private plans and expectations for growth remained steady in the current survey, compared to Spring 2011. 54 percent said that they would seek additional financing in the next 12 months, while 72 percent said they expected more mergers and consolidations in 2011 and 73 percent expected more IPOs.

Visit Biofuels Digest, the world’s most widely read biofuels daily, for the full results.