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Avantium and BASF in dispute over Synvina JV

The Netherlands-based renewable chemistry company Avantium N.V. has revealed that it and Germany-headed global chemical major BASF are in a dispute about the future of their Synvina joint venture. The companies disagree on the timing for the fulfilment of the criteria to invest in the commercial-scale plant for FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid).

Biobased PEF bottles (photo courtesy Avantium).
Biobased polyethylenefuranoate (PEF) bottles (photo courtesy Avantium). Biobased PEF bottles (photo courtesy Avantium).

According to Avantium, BASF has served a notice to Avantium after an internal strategic review that if the investment criteria are not fulfilled by 5 December 5, 2018, it is entitled under the joint venture agreement to exit from Synvina. BASF asserts that fulfilment of the investment criteria for the reference plant must be assessed in the fourth quarter of 2018, as originally envisaged in the joint venture agreement.

Avantium disagrees with this interpretation of the joint venture agreement. Avantium is convinced that the 2-3 year extension of the polyethylenefuranoate (PEF) pilot phase announced in January 2018 “logically necessitates” a postponed final assessment.

Avantium and BASF are discussing possibilities for “an amicable” settlement to this difference of opinion. However, should BASF exit the Synvina joint venture, Avantium maintains that the intellectual property (IP), people, assets and technology for the production of FDCA and PEF will return to Avantium, allowing it to investigate alternative routes for commercializing the technology.

We are surprised by BASF’s position. Synvina is actually ahead of the timeline for resolving the technical challenges that led to the postponement announced in January. The work done to date has strengthened our belief in the YXY technology. We are determined to pursue the commercialization of FDCA and PEF – with or without BASF, said Tom van Aken, CEO, Avantium in a statement.

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