First published in Cleantech Infocus: 2010 - Equity Deals of the Year, January 2011. Copyright Cleantech Investor Ltd
The most significant deal in the biofuel sector in 2010 was the agreement in February between Shell and Brazilian ethanol producer, Cosan, to enter into a joint venture involving a merger of the Brazilian assets of the two companies (in the case of Shell, certain assets in Brazil only) and an equity injection by Shell into the combined company of $1.6 billion. However, that deal only cleared regulatory approval in the EU at the start of January 2011 and the final documents are still to be signed.
Brazil aside, biofuel deals in 2010 were notable for an emphasis on next generation technology. NASDAQ saw two significant IPOs, Amyris Biotechnologies and Codexis. Of these, Amyris is focusing on Brazil and next generation technologies for sugarcane, and the other, Codexis, has received investment from Shell – and Shell’s stake will be held by the Cosan/Shell joint venture once it is approved.
In the US, LS9 and Gevo, both focused on innovative next generation biofuels – and both believed to have been considering an IPO – settled for raising private funding.
A number of failed or postponed fund raising efforts featured on the news wires during the year – notably in the algae biofuel space. These included PetroAlgae, which filed for an IPO in the US, and Algae.Tec, which was understood to be planning to list on the ASX.
In the broader bioenergy space, Canada’s Plasco Energy Group, which has developed plasma technology for the conversion of municipal solid waste, raised $110 million in July.