Bio-on acquired an industrial plant to produce its own special biopolymers

Marco Astorri, Ceo Bio-on
Marco Astorri, Ceo Bio-on

Bio-on, the Italian industrial biotech company, will begin producing its own special biopolymers at a new 1,000 tons/year plant to be completed in 2017 with an investment of €15 million. To announce this was Marco Astorri, chairman and Ceo of Bio-on S.p.A. who outlined to the financial community the new 2017-2020 industrial plan last week. Bio-on will manage to revive an abandoned manufactory site of Granarolo, an Italian food company which operates oin the fresh milk and dairy-cheese sector, dry pasta, deli meats and vegetable foods.

Entering the innovative sector of high-margin special bioplastics production adds to the company’s existing research and development of 100% biodegradable biopolymers and the production licensing on which it has developed since its foundation in 2007.

Thanks to the over 50 patents registered in the last 9 years, Bio-on is now the leader in eco-sustainable chemical technologies and in the industrial development of PHAs production (or polyhydroxyalkanoates). PHAs are bioplastics that can replace a number of traditional polymers currently made with petrochemical processes using hydrocarbons. The PHAs developed by Bio-on guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties with the advantage of being completely naturally biodegradable once used.

The PHAs bioplastics developed by Bio-on are made from renewable plant sources (such as sugar beet and sugar cane production waste) with no competition with food supply chains. They are completely eco-sustainable and 100% naturally biodegradable. The research conducted and the new patents registered by Bio-on demonstrate that they can also be used successfully in medicine or to make cosmetics products, because their biocompatibility makes them completely safe for human health. Bio-on now controls the entire technological chain for the production and use of various grades of PHAs bioplastic.

The new Production division will exploit the new patents and products developed particularly for cosmetics (bioplastic microbeads to replace the microplastics contained in cosmetics, which cause pollution and have already been banned in some countries, including the United States with the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015).

Based on its new development plan, Bio-on expects to have an offer of products for cosmetics from 2018. Production will also extend to products for theranostics (which uses bioplastic micro-capsules for diagnostic purposes or to give antitumor therapies) and bio-recovery or bio-remediation (which uses bioplastic to deal with hydrocarbon leaks into the sea or on land).

Licensing and Production are the two main business lines on which Bio-on’s new industrial plan is based. The plan envisages endogenous growth of 78% (CAGR 2015-2020), with a target turnover of 143 million Euro in 2020 and a target EBITDA of 59%, in line with current margins, equal to 85 million Euro, and cash generation of over 60 million Euro. The new industrial plan envisages balanced and consistent turnover growth between the new production division and the licensing arm of the business, further boosting the latter in the future.

The planned turnover for 2017 and 2018 from licensing is substantially covered by orders currently being formalised or negotiated for approximately 68 million Euro. In addition, the “sales funnel” currently includes a number of opportunities that amount overall to approximately 80 million Euro.

Bio-on’s choice to enter the production sector was guided by the extraordinary and extreme flexibility of application of PHAs bioplastics and by the rapid development of the market, which will determine various price levels depending on the application and the market segment. Consequently, Bio-on will apply a licensing policy which will have greater focus on production sectors and segments, specific geographical areas and price bands. Production, on the other hand, will focus solely on special bioplastics with high technological content and high margins.

“We are proud to contribute to such an important sector for human health,” says Bio-on S.p.A. chairman Marco Astorri, “We will continue to do so by extending our direct presence even more in the cosmetics, biomedical and nanomedical sectors.”

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