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Corbion acquires microalgae specialist TerraVia

Netherlands-headed Corbion, a global market major in lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives, emulsifiers, functional enzyme blends, minerals and vitamins has announced the completion of the acquisition of substantially all assets of TerraVia Holdings (formerly Solazyme), a US-based food and specialty ingredients company with a broad and diverse platform centered on ingredients derived from microalgae.

In April 2017, TerraVia announced that it has received a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) no questions letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its “Algae Butter” a non-hydrogenated, vegan solution for bakery, spreads and confectionery applications. The novel structuring fat was developed through its SB Oils joint venture partner, Bunge North America and is to be produced by the SB Oils (photo courtesy TerraVia).

Corbion announced September 29 the successful completion of the acquisition of substantially all assets of TerraVia Holdings (TerraVia) having paid a cash purchase price of approximately US$ 20 million. ThoughTerraVia’s operations are currently loss making, Corbion expects the total investments to be substantially in excess of the cash purchase price.

We are looking forward to welcoming a team of highly dedicated colleagues to the global Corbion family. TerraVia brings us a versatile microalgae-based platform which will enable us to expand into the field of producing specialty lipids and proteins, structured fats and tailored oils, said Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO of Corbion.

San Francisco-based TerraVia leverages its microalgae platform to deliver high-value ingredients with clear benefits, such as Omega-3 oils for animal nutrition and tailored oils, structured fats and proteins for food, personal care and industrial applications. It operates an R&D center and pilot facility in San Francisco, a demonstration plant in Peoria, Illinois and an industrial scale plant in Brazil, SB Oils joint venture (50.1% owned by TerraVia) with Bunge.

TerraVia’s IP portfolio and R&D pipeline, as well as its partnerships with industry leaders, provide high-growth opportunities for many years to come.  At the same time, we are of course aware of the challenge of bringing the business from promise to commercial success. Corbion’s more than 80 years of reliably and economically running industrial-scale fermentation plants and producing sustainable ingredient solutions will help us turn the TerraVia assets into profitable businesses in the coming years, said de Ruiter.

Background

In March 2016, Solazyme Inc., announced a name change to TerraVia as part of its restructing to focus exclusively on algae-based food, nutrition and specialty ingredients as well as extensive investment in building manufacturing facilities, obtaining regulatory approvals, and commercializing initial products.

Solazyme has also invested in, and developed products, technology and market opportunities in industrial markets including fuels, industrial oils, and the oilfield/Encapso business. These initiatives have been grouped together as “Solazyme Industrials” and are not part of TerraVia. Instead the company said in March 2016 that it “will be pursuing strategic alternatives over the next 12-18 months to unlock the value created” and that its objective is to identify partners who have the “operational capabilities needed” to realize the potential of those businesses.

On August 2, 2017, TerraVia filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. On that same day, Corbion announced it had entered into a “stalking horse” stock and asset purchase agreement with TerraVia, that constituted the primary bid in a sale process to be conducted under Section 363 of the US Bankruptcy Code, which included an auction process.

On September 15, Corbion announced that, following an auction process, TerraVia Holdings and its affiliated debtors determined that Corbion had submitted the highest and best bid for substantially all of the assets of TerraVia and that the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved Corbion as the successful bidder and authorized TerraVia to consummate the sale to Corbion with completion subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and full performance by the parties of all obligations under the agreement. This has now occurred.

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