Symphony expands scope with investment in biotechnology start-up

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UK-based additives and masterbatch manufacturer Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc, has expanded its scope of work with a strategic investment in Eranova SAS, a French bioplastics company.

Symphony announced 1 May that the French start-up has developed a “unique” technology and process to extracts starch from algae.

The starch can be combined with other polymers to produce compounded resins which are compostable and biodegradable, it added.

The Borehamwood, UK-based group said it will initially subscribe €500,122 for an 8% shareholding in Eranova when fully funded to start its pre-industrial development.

The group will also have an option to increase its shareholding to 51% within three years after the initial investment.

Symphony will have representation on the board of Eranova.

In addition, Symphony will have the right to purchase 75% of Eranova compound made in the Middle East and North Africa, for sale as compound or in manufactured finished products within the Middle East region exclusively, and on a non-exclusive basis globally, but not including 13, mainly European countries, for which Eranova will have exclusivity.

Eranova requires a total of €4.79m to start its pre-industrial development.

The project has won the backing of ADEME (the French environmental & energy management agency), who are supporting the project with €1.03m of funding. 

Pre-industrial development is expected to start in the second half of 2018 and will consist of constructing long seawater tanks, called “raceways”, where Eranova will optimise cultivation of algae for the production of the starch extract, which will then also be converted into bioplastic compounds. The raceways constructed during this phase will represent 1/50 scale of a full commercial facility and will cover 1.2 hectares. 

Eranova has signed an agreement to begin installation of the pre-industrial development with the Grand Port de Marseille;  TOTAL TDR, a division of petrochemical giant TOTAL, is supporting certain employment costs due to the innovative nature of the technology.

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