Upstream integration strategy: Novamont acquires Mater-Bi feedstock plant


Novamont, the Novara, Italy-based producer of the Mater-Bi family of bioplastics, would appear to be having a busy first quarter. Not only has the company this year already introduced the first mulching Mater-Bi film for strawberries and its Mater-Bi material was selected for the coating of the new eco-packaging for frozen organic wild berries sold under the COOP brand in Sweden, the company just recently also announced an important deal with Unicoop Firenze, the first large retailer in Italy to replace shopping bags made from traditional plastic with those made from Mater-Bi. Following various successful pilots at various points of sale, Unicoop has now decided that henceforth only bioplastic bags and gloves are to be used at the fruit and vegetable sections at its 103 points of sale in Florence and throughout Tuscany.

Hard on the heels of that news now comes the announcement that Novamont has acquired a 78% majority share in Mater-Biopolymer from Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G), an Italian multinational operating in the chemicals sector Financial details were not provided, with Novamont merely saying that the deal includes an option to purchase the remaining share capital by the end of 2016. The acquisition has been fully approved by Mater-Biopolymer's labor union representatives.

Under the agreement, the Mater-Bioploymer plant in Patrica, which employs 83 workers, will produce exclusively for Novamont and M&G. One line will produce PET for M&G and another will be dedicated to the production of Origo-Bi, a range of polyesters derived from partially or wholly renewably-sourced monomers that are used to improve the technical, economic and environmental characteristics of Novamont's Mater-Bi biodegradable and compostable bioplastics.
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