Canadian Manufacturing

Mitsui & Co. steps up stake in BioAmber’s Sarnia, Ont. plant

Japanese conglomerate invests $25 million for additional 10 per cent stake



Bio-succinic acid produced using sugar at Bio Amber's Sarnia plant ready for shipment. PHOTO: BioAmber

Bio-succinic acid produced using sugar at Bio Amber’s Sarnia plant ready for shipment. PHOTO: BioAmber

MONTREAL—Mitsui & Co. is stepping up its bet on BioAmber’s new succinic acid plant in Sarnia, Ont.

The diversified Japanese firm has invested a further $25 million in the joint venture in exchange for an additional 10 per cent of the cleantech plant’s equity. The new investment will raise Mitsui’s stake from 30 to 40 per cent, and the company has also agreed to take a more active role in the commercialization of the bio-succinic acid produced in Sarnia.

“Mitsui is continuously committed to renewable chemistry and through our increased equity stake we will be more actively involved in joint venture management and sales, leveraging our global sales platforms,” Hidebumi Kasuga, general manager of Specialty Chemicals and Basic Chemicals at Mitsui, said. “We are very happy with Sarnia’s fermentation and plant operations performance to date and the JV has received quality certifications from more than 90 customers. With this progress, I am confident that Sarnia’s bio-succinic acid will be penetrating the global marketplace quickly.”

BioAmber, which will retain a majority stake in the project, says the increased commitment is a strong endorsement of the plant’s value and potential.

“This investment strengthens Sarnia’s balance sheet as we ramp up production and sales,” Jean-Francois Huc, the company’s CEO, said.

The new facility, which produces succinic acid from sugar instead of petroleum products, opened last year and is expected to reach full production by 2017.

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