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Hawk’s Nest

Call Buyers Active in Small-Cap Chemicals Company with Renewable Angle

by | Apr 6, 2022

Alto Ingredients (ALTO) small-cap chemicals name that drew unusual call buying on 4/6 with 1000 October $6 calls bought while the June $6 calls remain in OI 1775X from November buys. In October, the January $2 ITM calls were bought 7,000X for $3.40, over $2M. ALTO is working out of a multi-month rounded base with room above $7 to continue up to $9-$10 which was the high in 2020. The $480M company trades 7X earnings, 0.4X sales, and 45X FCF. ALTO produces specialty alcohols derived from corn for a number of consumer and commercial products like mouthwash, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and cleaners. They also produce fuel-grade ethanol used as transportation fuel and distillers corn oil used as a biodiesel feedstock. They have seven ethanol producing facilities in the US. ALTO has been focused on expanding their roster of blue chip customers which will create better visibility and reliability. They see long-term drivers from growing use of alcohol-based disinfectants, increasing meat consumption, and growth in aquaculture. ALTO is investing in expanding capacity, building out their capabilities into proteins and other areas, and pursuing bolt-on M&A. In January, they bought a specialty alcohol distribution company Eagle Alcohol which expands their scale as a break bulk distributor, reduces freight costs, and enhances their transportation capabilities. It also brings in new big customers like Brown Forman and EJ Gallo. ALTO sees little analyst coverage. Short interest is 15%.