Yet another company using plants and biomass to replace petroleum products is looking to go public. On Monday morning, startup BioAmber announced it has filed for an IPO that could raise up to $150 million. Most of the greentech companies that have braved the public markets in 2011, or have filed for IPOs this year, have been biofuel and biochemical firms, like Gevo, KiOR, Fulcrum BioEnergy, and Mascoma.
BioAmber’s first product is succinic acid, which is a bio-based replacement for a petroleum-based substance used in food, pharmaceuticals, detergents and plastics. BioAmber is making this bio-succinic acid at a 350,000 liter fermenter in Pomacle, France (see image right) and has produced 487,000 pounds of the product,
BioAmber is building a facility in Sarnia, Ontario that will be able to produce 34,000 metrics tons of succinic acid, and 23,000 metric tons of another biochemical called bio-BDO. That facility is estimated to cost $200 million, including $74 million for the initial phase that will be completed in 2013.
The company has a deal with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation for its bio-succinic acid, and Mitsui and its venture arm are also investors in the company.
But like most of the biochemical companies BioAmber isn’t producing much revenue and no profits. BioAmber lost $10.8 million for the six months ended June 30, 2011 and had accumulated a deficit of $22.6 million over that period.
BioAmber also licenses its technology from players like UT-Battelle and UChicago Argonne for the organism for its bio-succinic acid, Cargill for a yeast for its succinic acid, DuPont for catalysts for turning succinic acid into BDO, and Celexion for other technologies. Investors in the company include French venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners, private equity firm Naxos Capital Partners, Japanese giant Mitsui & Co. and its venture arm Mitsui & Co Venture Partners, and the Cliffton Group.
While biochemical and biofuel companies have managed to price their IPO’s decently, many the companies’ stocks have fallen considerably in recent months.