Cargill Acquires Full NatureWorks Ownership


Jul 01, 2009

Cargill announced that it will assume full ownership of NatureWorks LLC, as part of Teijin Ltd.'s general portfolio restructuring in response to the global economic downturn. Previously a 50-50 joint venture, NatureWorks is now an independent company wholly owned by Cargill.

NatureWorks, maker of Ingeo bio-based plastics and resins, derived from 100% annually renewable resources, had operated as a Cargill-Teijin joint venture since October 2007. It was the first biopolymers business with commercial scale for Teijin. Teijin and Cargill officials indicated they are dissolving the joint venture in a friendly manner and intend to maintain close relations.

The ownership transfer will not affect day-to-day operations at NatureWorks. CEO Marc Verbruggen indicated the company retains strong prospects for continued growth. NatureWorks operates the only production facility of its kind with the economies of scale needed to compete with traditional oil based plastics.
“We like our position right now,” said Verbruggen. “While the economic downturn slowed sales growth, we still show growth, which can’t be said of many conventional materials today. Sales have notably rebounded since January – a clear demonstration that the Ingeo product traits and environmental advantages are important to customers, even in times of lower oil prices.”

Cargill officials said that establishing the business as an independent, wholly owned Cargill entity provides NatureWorks with the flexibility to pursue a wide range of opportunities.

“The green product space is ripe for investment and expansion as never before,” said Cargill Senior Vice President Paul Conway. “As a green pioneer, NatureWorks is well established with a broad product and customer base. While others put up pilot plants, NatureWorks has been commercial for six years, is increasing Ingeo production availability at its first facility and exploring possibilities for a second plant. We’ve rounded the first turn while others are at the starting gate.”

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