Canadian Plastics

BASF exiting bioplastics JV with Avantium

Canadian Plastics   


Citing a disagreement over the deal’s interpretation, BASF is pulling out of its Synvina bioplastics joint venture agreement with Avantium, which was formed in 2016.

Citing a disagreement over the deal’s interpretation, chemical maker BASF is pulling out of its Synvina bioplastics joint venture agreement with Dutch biotechnology company Avantium.

The Synvina deal was formed in 2016 to commercialize the YXY technology developed by Avantium. The YXY technology catalytically converts plant-based sugar into FDCA and plastics, such as the new polymer polyethylenefuranoate (PEF).

BASF will exit the agreement effective Jan. 15, 2019, after which Avantium will acquire BASF’s equity interest in the joint venture and Synvina will continue its operations as a fully Avantium-owned company. “In addition, the YXY technology, know-how and people will revert to Avantium,” Avantium said in a statement. “This will allow [us] to pursue alternative routes for commercializing the technology.”

“We remain fully confident in our YXY technology and the unique properties of PEF, confirmed by high market interest and existing Synvina partnerships. We look forward to building on the work undertaken within Synvina and being free to pursue further options to reach the full potential of PEF,” Avantium’s CEO Tom van Aken said in the statement.


Tensions in the joint venture first became public in October, when Avantium issued a statement saying that the companies disagreed on the timing for the fulfillment of the criteria to invest in the commercial-scale plant for FDCA. “After an internal strategic review, BASF has served a notice to Avantium that if the investment criteria are not fulfilled by 5 December 2018, it is entitled under the joint venture agreement to exit from Synvina,” Avantium said at the time. “BASF asserts that fulfillment 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 PEF pilot phase announced in January 2018 logically necessitates a postponed final assessment.”


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