Clean Technology: Investors Latch On To Biobased-Chemical Makers | June 6, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 23 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 23 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: June 6, 2011

Clean Technology: Investors Latch On To Biobased-Chemical Makers

Department: Business
Keywords: biobased chemicals, cleantech, IPO

In signs of rising investor interest in green chemistry companies, the algae-based materials firm Solazyme has made a successful initial public offering (IPO) of stock, and the biobased chemicals developer Myriant has filed for an IPO of its own.

Solazyme raised almost $200 million in its May 26 IPO. With only a fraction of the company sold to the public in the offering, that amount pegs Solazyme’s overall value at an impressive $1.2 billion. Myriant, meanwhile, said it intends to sell $125 million worth of shares in its IPO.

The stock moves follow on the heels of IPOs by Gevo, which is developing biobased isobutyl alcohol, and Amyris, which is producing bioderived farnesene and other specialty chemicals.

Dallas Kachan, managing partner of the clean technology advisory firm Kachan & Co., says Solazyme’s lofty valuation is due in part to the investing public’s outsized appetite for cleantech companies. But Kachan, who has followed Solazyme for years, says it also represents recognition of a solid business plan that gives equal weight to algae-derived fuels and chemicals. “I think they are, in fact, the best example of an algae company that’s poised to do good things,” he says.

Federal filings by Solazyme and Myriant reveal that most of their revenues to date come from government grants, R&D programs, and license fees. Myriant’s filing disclosed that it is planning a 220 million-lb-per-year biobased succinic acid facility in China in partnership with China National Bluestar, in addition to a smaller plant it is building in Louisiana.

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