• Contract guarantees 100% of the output from 100,000 ton per year plant will be sold for 15 years
• Vinmar partnership supports BDO technology’s progress and economic attractiveness
• Agreement is commercial foundation for large-scale BDO plants in addition to Sarnia plant
• Vinmar off-take obligation and equity participation will facilitate financing of planned BDO facility
Minneapolis, MN, January 22, 2014. BioAmber Inc. (NYSE and EURONEXT Paris: BIOA), an industrial biotechnology company producing sustainable chemicals, today announced it has signed a take-or- pay contract for bio-based 1,4-Butanediol (“BDO”) with Vinmar International. Under the terms of the 15-year master off-take agreement, Vinmar has committed to purchase 100% of the BDO produced in a 100,000 ton per year capacity plant that BioAmber plans to build in North America and commission in 2017. Vinmar also plans to invest in the BDO plant alongside BioAmber.
BDO is a building block chemical that is used in a wide range of products, including engineering plastics for the automotive industry, polyurethanes, biodegradable plastics and spandex. The current size of the global BDO market is approximately $4 billion. BioAmber produces BDO by combining its succinic acid technology with a catalyst technology licensed from DuPont and the company believes its bio-based BDO is cost competitive with petroleum derived BDO. To date, BioAmber has validated the high quality of its bio-based BDO with over 20 purchasers of petroleum BDO.
Following the financing, construction and commissioning of the 100,000 ton BDO plant, Vinmar will be obligated to purchase 100% of the BDO produced for 15 years, and BioAmber will be obligated to sell exclusively to Vinmar. Vinmar also plans to invest in the BDO plant, taking a minority equity stake of at least 10%. As part of the agreement, Vinmar has a right of first refusal to invest in and secure 100% of the off-take from a second BDO plant that BioAmber would build in the future.
In order to seed the market for its bio-based BDO, BioAmber plans to initially produce approximately 4,000 tons of BDO annually at a toll manufacturing facility that the company expects to commission in 2015. The tolling facility will convert bio-succinic acid produced at the Sarnia, Canada plant that is currently under construction. Under the terms of the agreement announced today, Vinmar has committed to also purchase 100% of the BDO produced at the planned tolling facility.
“This partnership with Vinmar positions BioAmber to become a producer of BDO, a second platform chemical beyond succinic acid. We believe this take-or-pay contract will help us to secure significant project financing for our first commercial BDO plant. We expect to leverage this project financing, along with co-investment by Vinmar and other equity partners such as Mitsui & Co., to limit the cash BioAmber needs to contribute in order to be the majority owner of the plant,” said Jean-Francois Huc, Chief Executive Officer of BioAmber.
“We believe our partnership with Vinmar will significantly de-risk the construction and operation of the commercial-scale BDO plant we plan to build in North America. Vinmar has a proven track record of selling large volumes of BDO, has global logistics expertise and vast experience executing large chemical projects,” added Fabrice Orecchioni, Chief Operations Officer of BioAmber.
“BioAmber has an attractive new route that we believe will offer customers competitively priced BDO with an improved carbon footprint. This agreement is consistent with Vinmar’s strategy to partner with best-in-class technologies and bring competitively priced chemicals to market,” added Dr. Serge Verma, President of Vinmar Projects.
About Vinmar International Ltd
Vinmar International Ltd is a privately held marketing, distribution and project development company headquartered in Houston, Texas. Over the past 35 years Vinmar has grown to over 450 employees in 30 countries, with sales in excess of 3 million metric tons consisting of petrochemicals, polymers and elastomers, and generating revenues of over US$4 Billion in 2012. The Houston Chronicle ranked Vinmar the third largest privately held company by revenue in its 2013 annual rankings for the Greater Houston region. Vinmar is part of the Goradia Group of Companies that also includes Goradia Capital, which acquires and operates chemical manufacturing plants and has participation in grass-roots petrochemical projects.
Vinmar’s business model is to sign long-term take-or-pay agreements. Vinmar purchases the output of a plant and sells the product into the market, optimizing global logistics and marketing across its broad portfolio of chemicals. Vinmar leverages its global marketing capabilities and its off-take agreements to facilitate project financing. Vinmar has considerable experience in marketing BDO, having been the principal off-taker of a Saudi Arabia based, 75,000 ton per year capacity BDO plant from its start up in 2005 until 2013.
BioAmber (NYSE and EURONEXT Paris: BIOA) is an industrial biotechnology company producing sustainable chemicals. Its proprietary technology platform combines industrial biotechnology and chemical catalysis to convert renewable feedstock into sustainable chemicals for use in a wide variety of everyday products including plastics, resins, food additives and personal care products.