Marrone Bio Innovations (NASDAQ:MBII)‘s stock had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by stock analysts at National Securities in a note issued to investors on Friday. They currently have a $2.50 price objective on the basic materials company’s stock. National Securities’ price objective suggests a potential upside of 49.70% from the company’s current price.

The analysts wrote, “ Q4 Revenues Beat Consensus. Revenue of $5.7 million came in ahead of consensus estimates of $4.8 million, representing growth of 72% on a year-over-year basis. Excluding the impact of non-recurring, non-operating expenses, a net loss of $0.05 per share narrowly missed our estimate of $0.04 per share.

 Seed Treatment Business Delivering. Management noted the contributions from the Venerate family of products was a major growth driver during the quarter, especially when applied as seed treatment. We believe the seed treatment agreement with Albaugh represents the single largest growth driver for MBII and could be a $10 million contributor by 2020.

 OpEx Ticks Upward. SG&A and R&D came in roughly flat on a full year basis from 2017 to 2018 but ticked up in the fourth quarter. Investments to accelerate the launch of MBI-014 and in additional headcount in the sales force look to increase OpEx on a full year basis in 2019. We model revenue growth in 2019 of 42% to outpace growth of 10% in OpEx.

 Multiple Catalysts Converging In 2019. The ramping of the seed treatment business, acceleration of cannabis revenues, growth in international markets and maturation of the sales force all suggest to us that the momentum MBII ended the year with should continue into 2019. We are raising our 2019 revenue estimate from $28.5 million to $30.0 million.

 Organic Growth Rates Ahead of Agricultural Peers. We estimate organic growth of 42% in 2019, which is the highest rate of any agricultural peer we consider with an established product line. Importantly, the primary drivers have long legs, and we believe the company can grow from a $21 million business in 2018 to a $100 million business by 2023.”

Separately, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Marrone Bio Innovations from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Thursday, November 29th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $2.26.

Shares of MBII opened at $1.67 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.06, a current ratio of 3.42 and a quick ratio of 2.52. The stock has a market capitalization of $181.53 million, a PE ratio of -1.56 and a beta of -0.14. Marrone Bio Innovations has a one year low of $1.10 and a one year high of $3.39.

In other Marrone Bio Innovations news, major shareholder Van Herk Investments B.V. sold 1,500,000 shares of Marrone Bio Innovations stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, February 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $1.57, for a total transaction of $2,355,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. 2.90% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Marrone Bio Innovations by 0.5% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,800,519 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $4,117,000 after buying an additional 14,014 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Marrone Bio Innovations by 13.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,554,605 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $4,675,000 after buying an additional 303,201 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc lifted its position in shares of Marrone Bio Innovations by 13.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 2,554,605 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $4,675,000 after buying an additional 303,201 shares in the last quarter. Northern Trust Corp lifted its position in shares of Marrone Bio Innovations by 1,503.9% during the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 512,232 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $943,000 after buying an additional 480,296 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Geode Capital Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Marrone Bio Innovations by 5.8% during the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 443,611 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $652,000 after buying an additional 24,460 shares in the last quarter. 42.07% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Marrone Bio Innovations

Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc provides bio-based pest management and plant health products primarily for agricultural and water markets in the United States and internationally. It offers herbicides; fungicides; nematicides; insecticides; algaecides for algae control; molluscicides for mussel and snail control; plant growth and stress regulators; and water treatment products for various applications, such as hydroelectric and thermoelectric power generation, industrial applications, drinking water, aquaculture, irrigation, and recreation.

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