Altair says cash position is strong |

Altair says cash position is strong

John Seelmeyer

Altair Nanotechnologies of Reno may have lost $1.7 million in the fourth quarter and $7 million during all of 2004, but the company’s chief executive officer says the company has plenty of staying power.

The company’s operation burned about $506,000 a month during the fourth quarter, and CEO Alan Gotcher says expenses will rise during 2005 as Altair steps up its research efforts.

But, Gotcher noted in a talk with investors and analysts last week that Altair has about $31 million in cash on hand including the proceeds of a private placement of 5 million shares this month.

Its only long-term debt is a $3 million loan on its facilities in Reno, and the first payment on that note doesn’t come due for another year.

Gotcher told investors his company is looking to partner with a major battery manufacturer to develop what Altair has described as a significant technological breakthrough.

He declined to identify companies with which Altair has been talking, and he declined to discuss how close the battery technology might be to commercial development.

The company in 2004 generated about 55 percent of its $1.15 million in revenue from research contracts, about 43 percent from commercial collaborations and 2 percent from product sales.

This year, Gotcher said, the company projects that product sales and royalty payments will generate about a third of Altair’s revenues as products begin to move out of the company’s laboratories.