Setbacks at some of the more established biobased chemical and fuel firms seemed to cast a pall over February (see earlier posts), and I was prepared for more bad news as I dragged myself into the office. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see several positive developments sitting in my inbox this morning:
- Just two weeks after Amyris CEO John Melo ate crow and admitted the company was struggling to maintain peak yields (and would ratchet back aggressive capacity expansion targets), he announced a $58.7 million private placement of common stock. Existing investors Temasek Holdings, Total Gas & Power, SAS and Naxyris were included, as well as new investor, Biolding Investment. Amryis gained 7%, to close at $6.44. The company also secured $25 million in convertible debt due in 2017. Amyris had said it would need to raise cash after admitting it would not reach its 2012 guidance of producing 40-50 million liters of farnesene and becoming cash flow positive. I had hoped to hear an updated guidance at last week’s Clean Technology Conference (hosted by Jefferies), but Amyris canceled at the last minute.
- Mitsubishi Chemical agreed to exclusively negotiate definitive agreements for a joint BDO commercial operation with Genomatica. The companies signed a MOU in April of 2011 to study the viability of deploying Genomatica’s bio-BDO process in Asia; however, Mitsubishi Chemical’s joint venture with PTT signed a separate deal with BioAmber to produce succinic acid and BDO for their PBS project. But it looks like Mitsubishi, one of the largest BDO producers globally, remains interested in Genomatica’s technology to supply BDO for its PBT and PTMG production units.
- Arkema and Elevance Renewable Sciences have agreed to codevelop specialty polymers made from 9-decenoic methy esters produced at Elevance biorefineries. The news closely follows Arkema’s $365-million acquisitions of biobased polyamide-10,10 producer Hipro Polymers and castor-oil derived sebacic acid producer Cascada Biomaterials.
I should probably get used to the fact that not all news in the space will be job-creating, pollution-busting, disruptive technologies. The general consensus is financing will get more competitive in 2012 and players in the space will consolidate.