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Avantium raised €103m in oversubscribed IPO

Tom van Aken (centre), CEO Avantium, which was selected European Cleantech Company of the Decade by Cleantech Group in 2015, © Cleantech Group

According to main investor Sofinnova Partners, the Euronext IPO of Avantium, the front runner in renewable chemistry, was oversubscribed multiple times resulting in a market capitalisation of €277m. 

Last October, the 2000 Shell spin-out had pulled its IPO following weak investor demand. Avantium had already tried to float before in 2007. In early March, the producer of high performance plastics from sugars rather than petrochemicals said it expected to raise €90m and get a capitalisation of €264m. Now, it issued 9,401,793 shares at €11 to diverse investors including RobecoSAM and pension fund manager APG. Trading begun today at Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Brussels under the symbol AVTX

After its IPO, the company has enough money in its war chest to build the first ever commercial-scale reference plant for furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), a building block for its high performance plastics polyethylenefuranoate (PEF). Last October, Avantium and BASF formed a joint venture named Synvina to establish FDCA production and PEF commercialisation at a BASF site in Antwerp. 

Some weeks before Avantium’s IPO, CEO Tom van Aken told European Biotechnology: “I believe the power of renewable chemistry will have a major impact on the materials that we use on a daily basis.” Now, his vision can become true. 

Avantium’s produces PEF and FDCA using its proprietary YXY technology PEF is a high-quality plastic made from plant-based fructose that outperforms the current gold standard PET in beverages packaging. PEF is 100% recyclable, it is lighter and outgasses significantly less CO2 that PET. As it offers a cost-effective solution for applications ranging from bottles to packaging film and fibres, Avantium has positioned it to become the next-generation packaging material. Coca Cola Company, Toyobo, ALPLA and Mitsui and Danone have also signed in to use PEF produced at BASF’s Verbund Site, which will have an annual capacity of up to 50,000 metric tons. PEF applications include packaging of soft drinks, water, alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, and food and non-food products. Its products comprise PEF bottles, fibers, and films; furanics biofuels and biofuels components; and furan-di-carboxylic-acid-based polyamides for engineering plastics, nylons, and fibers. 

Denis Lucquin, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners and Avantium Board member since 2011, commented: “Avantium has completed one of the most successful IPOs in this emerging and promising renewable chemistry sector.” Just a few weeks before, Sofinnova Partners announced the first closing at €106m of its Sofinnova IB I Fund entirely dedicated to renewable chemistry.