Novamont launches joint venture for BDO plant in Europe

SAN DIEGO, Calif., and NOVARA, Italy, January 20, 2012

Genomatica and Novamont announced they have signed a definitive agreement establishing a joint venture (JV) for the first industrial plant in Europe producing butanediol (BDO) directly from renewable feedstocks. This follows the announcement on August 18, 2011 of a letter of intent between the companies. Novamont will have a majority of the equity in the JV, and Genomatica a minority interest. Novamont, a leading producer of biodegradable bioplastics, will consume the BDO for its own internal use to meet the increasing demand for its biopolymer products that incorporate BDO as a key monomer.

Under the agreement, Novamont is converting an existing facility in Adria, Italy to use Genomatica’s BDO process. Novamont is financing the plant conversion and will operate the plant, which is expected to have a production capacity of approximately 40 million pounds per year. Initial production is expected in 2013. Novamont has committed to purchasing all of the output from the plant, while Genomatica may purchase a portion at its discretion to support further market development. The agreement also contemplates Novamont building and operating a second BDO plant using Genomatica’s process, which is expected to use biomass sugars as the renewable feedstock.

Genomatica’s BDO process delivers exact same chemical

“Genomatica’s BDO process provides Novamont with BDO made from renewable feedstocks, which is consistent with our business strategy to use more bio-based raw materials in MATER-BI biopolymer products. Genomatica’s BDO is the exact same chemical we’ve been using, and is the direct equivalent of petroleum-based BDO but with a smaller environmental footprint,” said Novamont CEO, Catia Bastioli.

“Genomatica’s process technologies enable a new approach to chemical production – smaller-scale, capital-efficient manufacturing from renewable feedstocks that we believe fulfills customer needs across the value chain,” said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. “Novamont is a leader in one of the most rapidly-growing polymer segments of the BDO market and has demonstrated its ability to accelerate commercialization of innovative polymers, along with its commitment to sustainable development.”

About Genomatica

Genomatica is a technology leader for the chemical industry. It delivers new, transformative manufacturing processes that enable its partners to produce intermediate and basic chemicals from renewable feedstocks. These chemicals serve as the basis for making substantially all of the products that make modern life possible. Genomatica’s processes are designed to achieve better economics with enhanced sustainability and a smaller environmental footprint than conventional, petroleum-based manufacturing processes. Genomatica is developing a pipeline of manufacturing processes for the production of these chemicals, and expects the first commercial-scale BDO plant that utilizes its processes to begin production in 2013.   

About Novamont

Novamont SpA, a joint investment of Intesa SanPaolo and Investitori Associati, is a leader in the production of bioplastics containing renewable raw materials of agricultural origin. Starting as a research centre, which was demerged from Montedison in 1996 with a negligible turnover, Novamont, with more than 200 employees (30 percent of them working in R&D), ended 2010 with total sales of €87 million, investing over 7 percent of those sales in research and development and is steadily growing. It holds a patent portfolio which includes 90 patent families and 800 internationally registered patents. It is owner of a wide range of proprietary and proven technologies in connection with its “Bio-refinery model closely linked to the Territory” by working in partnership with the agricultural, industrial, institutional and academic sectors. Inter alia, Novamont received the "World Summit Business Award for Sustainable Development Partnership" by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in 2002 and the Inventor of the Year 2007 Award by European Union and EPO (European Patent Office). It is based in Novara (Italy) and its production sites are in Terni and in Porto Torres (Sardinia), through Matrica, a recent joint venture with ENI/Polimeri Europa. It operates directly or through its distributors in Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia, Denmark, United Kingdom, United States, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

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