Meet one company that loves BP

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Despite BP's current status as one of the most hateable companies around, shareholders in a little-known biofuels technology company are probably quite pleased with the oil giant at the moment.

Shares of Verenium (VRNM), an industrial enzyme maker, spiked 42% after BP announced plans to buy its cellulosic biofuels business for $98.3 million.

Under the terms of the deal, BP will acquire Verenium facilities in Louisiana and California, as well as rights to its cellulosic biofuels and enzyme technology.

Verenium, which has had a partnership with BP since February 2009, will retain control of its core business and will continue to collaborate with BP on research and development.

Carlos Riva, Verenium's chief executive, said in a statement that he was pleased with the deal and called BP "the right company" to invest in biofuels technology.

Philip New, chief executive of BP Biofuels, called the company's existing partnership with Verenium "fruitful" and said the acquisition will help expand BP's ability to deliver "low cost, low carbon, sustainable biofuels, at scale."

"This acquisition demonstrates BP's intent to be a leader in the cellulosic biofuels industry in the U.S.," he said.

BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, launched a marketing campaign in 2000 with the slogan "beyond petroleum." While BP has been developing ethanol and other alternative fuels for years, BP continues to reap most of its profits from the oil industry, however.

The purchase comes as BP conducts tests on a new cap it placed on a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, which has been leaking oil for nearly three months.

Despite this relatively small deal, BP (BP) is expected to sell more oil assets to cover costs related to the spill. It pledged last month to put $20 billion in an escrow account for liability payments.  To top of page

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