FRANKFURT Oct 12 Dutch chemical technology firm
Avantium plans to announce an initial public offering (IPO) this
week to fund commercial production of plant-based plastics for
Coca Cola bottles and Danone yoghurt cups, two
people familiar with the plan told Reuters.
Avantium - which counts Dutch bank ING, Coca Cola,
Danone and various venture capital firms among its owners -
plans to raise more than 100 million euros ($112 million) from
new shares, valuing the group at up to 300 million euros after
the transaction, said one of the sources who asked not to be
Avantium and German chemicals giant BASF last
week unveiled plans to set up a joint venture and build a
production facility for a medium triple-digit million-euro
amount to produce chemical building blocks from plant-based
The proceeds from the IPO, to be managed by ING and KBC
, are earmarked to foot Avantium's part of the bill, the
Avantium and ING declined to comment. KBC was not
immediately available to comment.
Spun off from Royal Dutch Shell in 2000, Avantium
has developed a chemical production procedure that feeds on
fructose from plants rather than conventional oil derivatives.
This yields a chemical building block called
furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which can be further processed
into a type of plastic that is more robust than the widely used
PET for bottles.
Apart from food packaging, the bioplastic is also usable for
textiles, electronic and automotive components.
Analysts say that many consumers prefer renewable-labeled
packaging but are prepared to pay only slightly more than the
price of petroleum-based equivalents.
The cost of production has been a major hurdle to renewable
plastics becoming mainstream but Avantium claims its method is
Developers of renewable plastics have long focused on
genetically engineered microbes that can ferment carbohydrates
from plants into chemical building blocks but non-biologic
approaches based on catalysts that enable chemical reactions,
such as the one used by Avantium, have also gained traction.
($1 = 0.8928 euros)
(Additional reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Editing by