Companies to dissolve j.v. for microalgae-sourced ingredients
by Jeff Gelski
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO and LESTREM, FRANCE – Solazyme, Inc. and Roquette Fréres, S.A. have agreed to dissolve their joint venture, Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals, L.L.C., which sought to commercialize microalgae-sourced, nutrition-focused ingredients. Divergent views on commercialization targets for Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals led to the decision to dissolve, the two companies said June 24.
The dissolution process may take a few weeks, but it will have no impact on Solazyme, Inc.’s revenue outlook for 2013, said Jonathan Wolfson, chief executive officer of South San Francisco-based Solazyme, inc., in a June 24 conference call.
“In fact, we believe that revenue and profit from these products will benefit Solazyme sooner than would have been likely under the j.v.,” he said.
Lestrem-based Roquette Fréres said in a statement, “Roquette has been a believer in microalgae as a raw material since 2008, and it is well-positioned to independently continue with the development of non-genetically modified, innovative microalgae-sourced ingredients for nutritional applications.”
The two companies, each owning 50%, announced the joint venture formation on Nov. 8, 2010. Combining Roquette’s ability to supply food ingredients globally and Solazyme, Inc.’s microalgae-based technology, Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals was seen as a way to create a new category of functional ingredients based on microalgae.
In the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2012, the Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals joint venture broke ground on a phase 2 production facility in Lestrem and launched Almagine HL whole algalin flour and Almagine HP whole algalin protein.
Mr. Wolfson said Solazyme, Inc., and Roquette Fréres had divergent views on the building of a phase 3 facility.
“The decision is not related to technology readiness or robustness, not related to product quality, product value proposition, or completion of the Phase II facility,” he said.
Since November 2010, Solazyme, Inc. has increased its production capacity, including a facility in Peoria, Ill., he said. Solazyme, Inc. also has become involved in a joint venture with Bunge Global Innovation, L.L.C., a subsidiary of Bunge Ltd., and has worked on fermentation projects at an Archer Daniels Midland Co. facility in Clinton, Iowa.
“Productive partnerships are a cornerstone of our business model, but it’s important to understand that not every partnership is going to end as a home run,” Mr. Wolfson said. “We hoped S.R.N. would, but it hasn’t.”