Lanxess-Advent-DSM – Biodegradable-plastic 01-06-2022
Lanxess-Advent-DSM – Biodegradable-plastic
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Leipzig researchers have found an enzyme that rapidly breaks down PET, the most widely produced plastic in the world. It might just eat your old tote bags.
While scavenging through a compost heap at a Leipzig cemetery, Christian Sonnendecker and his research team found seven enzymes they had never seen before.
They were hunting for proteins that would eat PET plastic — the most highly produced plastic in the world. It is commonly used for bottled water and groceries like grapes.
The scientists weren’t expecting much when they brought the samples back to the lab, said Sonnendecker when DW visited their Leipzig University laboratory.
It was only the second dump they had rummaged through and they thought PET-eating enzymes were rare.
But in one of the samples, they found an enzyme, or polyester hydrolase, called PHL7. And it shocked them. The PHL7 enzyme disintegrated an entire piece of plastic in less than a day. Lanxess-Advent-DSM – Biodegradable-plastic
To test the rate at which the seven enzymes broke down PET, Sonnendecker and his team added a mixture of water, a phosphate buffer, which is often used to detect bacteria, for example, and the new enzyme to seven individual test tubes
Two enzymes ‘eat’ plastic: PHL7 vs. LCC
PHL7 appears to ‘eat’ PET plastic times faster than LCC, a standard enzyme used in PET plastic-eating experiments today.
To ensure their discovery wasn’t a fluke, Sonnendecker’s team compared PHL7 to LCC, with both enzymes degrading multiple plastic containers. And they found it was true: PHL7 was faster.
“I would have thought you’d need to sample from hundreds of different sites before you’d find one of these enzymes,” said Graham Howe, an enzymologist at Queens University in Ontario, Canada.
Howe, who also studies PET degradation but was not involved in the Leipzig research, appeared to be amazed by the study published in Chemistry Europe.
“Apparently, you go to nature and there are going to be enzymes that do this everywhere,” said Howe.
PET plastic is everyone
Although PET plastic can be recycled, it does not biodegrade. Like nuclear waste or a nasty comment to your partner, once PET plastic is created, it never really goes away.
- LANXESS and Advent to acquire Engineering Materials business from DSM for a purchase price of around EUR 3.7 billion
- LANXESS to transfer High Performance Materials business into joint venture
- LANXESS to receive a payment of at least EUR 1.1 billion and a stake of up to 40 percent in the joint venture
- LANXESS will use proceeds to reduce debt and plans to buy back shares
- New joint venture with pioneering product portfolio and integrated value chain
Specialty chemicals company LANXESS and Advent International (“Advent”), one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors with a well established track record in chemicals investings, are establishing a joint venture for high-performance engineering polymers. The two companies today signed an agreement to acquire the DSM Engineering Materials business (DEM) from Dutch group Royal DSM, which will become part of the new joint venture. The purchase price is around EUR 3.7 billion and will be financed by the joint venture via equity from Advent and external debt. Lanxess-Advent-DSM – Biodegradable-plastic
The business represents sales of around EUR 1.5 billion with an EBITDA margin of approximately 20 percent. DEM is one of the leading global suppliers in high-performance specialty materials that address key market needs in electronics, electrical and consumer goods.
In addition, LANXESS will contribute its High Performance Materials (HPM) business unit to the joint venture. HPM is one of the leading suppliers of high-performance polymers, which are used primarily in the automotive industry. The business represents annual sales of around EUR 1.5 billion with EBITDA pre exceptionals of around EUR 210 million. Advent will hold at least 60 percent in the joint venture. LANXESS will receive an initial payment of at least EUR 1.1 billion and a stake of up to 40 percent in the future joint venture. Following the transfer to the joint venture, the HPM business will no longer be fully consolidated at LANXESS, but will be included in the consolidated financial statements at equity.
This move further sharpens LANXESS’ business portfolio, which will consist of three specialty chemicals segments once the transaction is completed. LANXESS will use the proceeds of the transaction to reduce debt and to strengthen its balance sheet. In addition, the Group plans a share buy-back program with a volume of up to EUR 300 million.
LANXESS will have the possibility to divest its stake in the joint venture to Advent at the same valuation earliest after three years. EBITDA could then be significantly higher than today as Advent and LANXESS anticipate substantial synergies resulting from the combination of the two businesses.
The transaction is still subject to approval by the authorities. Closing is expected in the first half of 2023.
LANXESS CEO Matthias Zachert: “LANXESS will once again become significantly less dependent on economic fluctuations. In addition, we as LANXESS will strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds from the transaction and gain new scope for the further development of our Group. With the new joint venture, we are forging a strong global player in the field of high-performance polymers. The portfolios, value chains and global positioning of the two businesses complement each other perfectly. With its innovative products, the joint venture will be able to play a key role in shaping future developments – for example in the field of electromobility. In Advent, we have a strong and reliable partner with profound experience in the chemical industry and our customer industries.” Lanxess-Advent-DSM – Biodegradable-plastic
Ronald Ayles, Managing Partner at Advent International: “Joining forces with LANXESS in this industry transforming transaction is a highlight for Advent as we have built a trusted, long standing relationship and share the highest mutual respect. Together we plan to bring the experience, deep sector know-how, and financial resources to make the joint venture a global success story for everyone involved. The combination of LANXESS’ High Performance Materials (HPM) and DSM Engineering Materials (DEM) creates a strong platform and brings together extensive expertise, resulting in the best opportunities for employees and more value for customers.”
Lanxess-Advent-DSM – Biodegradable-plastic