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PureCycle to go public through merger

The polypropylene recycler is the second recent startup hitched to a special purpose acquisition company

by Alexander H. Tullo
November 18, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 45


A photo of a unit that Koch Modular built for PureCycle.
Credit: Koch Modular
Koch Modular built this feedstock evaluation unit for PureCycle earlier this year.

In another instance of a sustainable polymer startup going public via unconventional means, the plastics recycling firm PureCycle Technologies is being acquired by Roth CH Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company, in a transaction that values PureCycle at $1.2 billion.

PureCycle licenses a process from Procter & Gamble that uses solvents to purify most post-consumer polypropylene. The resulting polymer, PureCycle says, has properties comparable to virgin polypropylene and is made with 75% less energy.

PureCycle raised $250 million in a bond offering last month and is building a plant in Ironton, Ohio, that will have a capacity of about 50,000 metric tons (t) per year when it opens in 2022.

Roth CH, which raised $75 million in an initial public offering this year to finance an acquisition, is backed by the investors Roth Capital Partners and Craig-Hallum Capital Group. After the transactions close early next year, PureCycle will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol PCT.

Along with the announcement of the transaction, PureCycle unveiled ambitious expansion plans. It aims to build its next plant, also with 50,000 t of capacity, in Europe by 2023. It is then eyeing a “cluster site” in the US that would house five 75,000-t plants. The firm aims to have 30 lines operating by the end of the decade.

For polypropylene, PureCycle’s technology is the “best answer” for companies “to increase their usage of recycled plastics without having to make serious compromises in terms of appearance and physical properties,” CEO Mike Otworth said in a presentation to investors.

Special purpose acquisition company transactions are gaining popularity. Just last month, Danimer Scientific, which makes the biodegradable polymer polyhydroxyalkanoate, announced a similar merger, with Live Oak Acquisition that valued Danimer at about $890 million.



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