BioAmber Inc, an industrial biotechnology company producing sustainable chemicals, has signed a take-or-pay contract for bio-based 1,4-Butanediol ("BDO") with Vinmar International. Under the terms of the 15-year master off-take agreement, Vinmar has committed to purchase 100% of the BDO produced in a 100,000-ton-per-year capacity plant that BioAmber plans to build in North America and commission in 2017. Vinmar also plans to invest in the BDO plant alongside BioAmber.
BDO is a building block chemical that is used in a wide range of products, including engineering plastics for the automotive industry, polyurethanes, biodegradable plastics and spandex. The current size of the global BDO market is approximately $4 billion. BioAmber produces BDO by combining its succinic acid technology with a catalyst technology licensed from DuPont; the company believes its bio-based BDO is cost-competitive with petroleum derived BDO.
To date, BioAmber has validated the high quality of its bio-based BDO with more than 20 purchasers of petroleum BDO.
Following the financing, construction and commissioning of the 100,000-ton BDO plant, Vinmar will be obligated to purchase 100% of the BDO produced for 15 years, and BioAmber will be obligated to sell exclusively to Vinmar. Vinmar also plans to invest in the BDO plant, taking a minority equity stake of at least 10%. As part of the agreement, Vinmar has a right of first refusal to invest in and secure 100% of the off-take from a second BDO plant that BioAmber would build in the future.
In order to seed the market for its bio-based BDO, BioAmber plans initially to produce approximately 4,000 tons of BDO annually at a toll manufacturing facility that the company expects to commission in 2015. The tolling facility will convert bio-succinic acid produced at the Sarnia, Canada plant that is currently under construction. Under the terms of the agreement announced today, Vinmar has committed to also purchase 100% of the BDO produced at the planned tolling facility.
Vinmar International Ltd is a privately held marketing, distribution and project development company headquartered in Houston, Texas; revenues were more thanUS$4 billion in 2012. Vinmar is part of the Goradia Group of Companies that also includes Goradia Capital, which acquires and operates chemical manufacturing plants and has participation in grass-roots petrochemical projects.