M&G Chemicals postpones Hong Kong share listing


The Ghisolfis. From left to right: Guido, Vittorio and Marco
The Ghisolfis. From left to right: Guido, Vittorio and Marco

Italian plastics group M&G Chemicals postponed a planned share listing on the Hong Kong bourse on Monday due to volatile market conditions, but said it was still committed to growing its business in China. The world’s third largest producer of PET resin used to make soft drink bottles and packaging had aimed to raise about $600 million through the initial public offering (IPO). M&G Chemicals, which is part of Italy’s Mossi Ghisolfi Group, had planned to use 50 percent of the proceeds from the IPO to fund the construction of a plant in China’s Anhui province.

“The company is committed to growing its business in China and will continue to do so irrespective of today’s decision,” M&G Chemicals said in a statement. The offering would have been the biggest new listing by an overseas company in Hong Kong in two years, and the second from an Italian company on the city’s bourse, after fashion group Prada raised $2.5 billion in June 2011. M&G Chemicals is the second Italian company to call off IPO plans in two weeks, after freight forwarding company Savino del Bene scrapped a planned Milan listing on December 5.

M&G Chemicals announced last November its decision to construct a second-generation bio-refinery in the region of Fuyang, Anhui Province of China for the conversion of one million metric tons of biomass into bio-ethanol and bio-glycols.

The project is expected to be realized through a joint-venture with Chinese company Guozhen which will make available one million metric tons of straw biomass and use the lignin resulting as a by-product from the bio-refinery to feed a 45 MW cogeneration plant which will be constructed at the same time as the bio-refinery in the same site. M&G Chemicals will be majority partner of the bio-refinery and minority partner of the power plant.

The bio-refinery will employ PROESA™ technology licensed from Beta Renewables, a joint venture between Biochemtex (a company belonging to the Mossi Ghisolfi Group), US private equity fund TPG and Danish enzyme producer Novozymes.

The second-generation bio-refinery will be approximately four times the size (measured by volume of biomass processed) of that built by Beta Renewables in Crescentino, Italy, which was recently inaugurated. The plant, which is expected to require capital expenditures of approximately half a billion US dollars, is expected to be brought on stream in mid 2015. Necessary enzymes will be supplied by Novozymes, one of the world’s largest enzymes producers and one of the partners in the Beta Renewables joint venture, which owns the rights of the PROESA™ technology.

“This is the first act of a green revolution that M&G Chemicals is bringing to the polyester chain to provide environmental sustainability to both PET beverage packaging and polyester textile” said Marco Ghisolfi, Ceo of M&G Chemicals. “The timing and scope of our green polyester revolution and our manufacturing entry in China from the green PET raw materials avenue is even more relevant considering The Coca-Cola Company has announced plans to use PlantBottle™ packaging, which is partially made from plants, for all of their PET plastic bottles across the globe by 2020”, Marco Ghisolfi added.

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