Cargill, Teijin Form Joint Venture for NatureWorks
MINNEAPOLIS and TOKYO – October 1, 2007 – Cargill and Teijin Limited of Japan today announced a joint venture in NatureWorks LLC, maker of NatureWorks® biopolymer, derived from 100 percent renewable resources. On Oct. 1, the two companies entered into an agreement in which Teijin will acquire 50 percent ownership of NatureWorks, effective upon regulatory approvals.
The move comes as NatureWorks expands to the nameplate capacity of its U.S. polylactic acid (PLA) plant – the world’s first and largest commercial scale biopolymer manufacturing facility. Cargill and Teijin, a respected global polymer producer, will accelerate NatureWorks’ global sales growth and facilitate product expansion in the broad plastics and fibers markets served by NatureWorks.
“Teijin's downstream application knowledge in fibers, films and plastic compounds will be of immeasurable value as we grow production at our Blair, Nebraska facility and consider additional expansion in the fast-growing global marketplace,” said Cargill Vice Chairman Guillaume Bastiaens. “NatureWorks will greatly benefit from Teijin’s expertise in technology and end-use application development. Teaming up with Teijin will allow more brand owners, retailers and converters to address their global interest in sustainable solutions using NatureWorks biopolymer.”
NatureWorks PLA biopolymers, which are showing significant market growth, represent an important future-oriented business for Teijin and its customers. Under its commitment to developing bio-friendly chemical technology and related solutions, Teijin intends to leverage its expertise in applications for fibers, films and plastic compounds to play a key role in the development of new markets for NatureWorks biopolymer.
“We are very impressed with Cargill’s long-term commitment to NatureWorks PLA polymers and other biobased products,” said Toru Nagashima, president and CEO of Teijin. “NatureWorks LLC is a perfect fit with our strategy of pursuing strategic investments to take our environmental management technologies global. We look forward to growing our global PLA polymer business through this partnership.”
Since 2005, NatureWorks has recorded triple digit volume growth, with more than 100 leading brands & retailers in the US, Europe and Asia currently showcasing product innovations in flexible & rigid fresh food packaging, durable consumer articles, beverage packaging, apparel, home textile, personal care and hygiene applications marketed under the Ingeo brand.
“Today’s announcement marks another milestone for the world’s first and largest commercial biopolymer manufacturer,” said NatureWorks CEO Dennis McGrew. “Teijin sought to invest in NatureWorks because it recognized our leadership in an area important to them and to their customers. Cargill agreed to partner with Teijin because it recognized the opportunity to tap into the expertise and global reach of one of the world’s leading polymer companies. There is no more compelling combination anywhere in our industry.”
NatureWorks LLC’s headquarters and management team will remain in Minnetonka, Minn. No changes in senior management are anticipated.
About NatureWorks LLC
Dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow, NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available low carbon footprint polymers derived from 100-percent annually renewable resources with cost and performance that compete with petroleum-based packaging materials and fibers. The company applies its unique technology to the processing of natural plant sugars to create a proprietary polylactide polymer, which is marketed under the NatureWorks® and Ingeo® brand names. For more information, visit www.natureworksllc.com.
Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services. With 158,000 employees in 66 countries, the company is committed to using its knowledge and experience to collaborate with customers to help them succeed. For more information, visit www.cargill.com.
Teijin is a global technology-driven group operating in five main fields: synthetic fibers; films and plastics; pharmaceuticals and home health care; trading and retail; and IT and new products. Teijin Limited is listed on the Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges and has a market capitalization of USD 5.2 billion. The company had consolidated sales of USD 8.5 billion in fiscal 2006 and employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide. In line with its brand statement, “Human Chemistry, Human Solutions,” the Teijin Group continues to develop chemical technologies that are friendly to people and the global environment and to provide solutions that deliver real value to customers and society.