Clermont-Ferrand, 28 September 2015 – METabolic EXplorer, a biological chemistry company that specialises in developing manufacturing bioprocesses for bio-based compounds used in a wide range of everyday products, including textile fibres, animal feed supplements and resins, is reporting on its operations in the first half of 2015.
Key points: the three products in the 1st half:
METEX L-Methionine, a genuine alternative to synthetic methionine of petrochemical origin. The company achieved significant progress in its roadmap to build on its leadership in this 100% bio-based molecule. L-Methionine produced with the METabolic EXplorer process is an entirely new animal nutritional additive with no equivalent on the market. Its biological characteristics are sparking strong interest among many manufacturers. METEX L-Methionine, produced in a single fermentation stage, is currently the only locally producible additive that is not subject to environmental and safety restrictions regarding the dangers of petrochemical derivatives.
MPG, a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) stemming from technological developments in the diversification of renewable raw materials. Another important event in the first half was the JDA signed with Finland's UPM, a major international player in the wood-paper sector, for the development of a technology to produce bio-MPG based on second-generation cellulosic sugars. A key factor in this agreement was the success with first-generation sugars over the past few years. It will lead to an MPG production process based on the fermentation of cellulosic sugars that have no competing uses in the food industry.
This two-party agreement is related to the one signed for the ValChem project, in which UPM and METEX are partnering (see the UPM press release of 11 June 2015 concerning the ValChem project).
PDO, pending additional adjournment by SK Chemicals. SK Chemicals and METabolic EXplorer are working together to determine the best possible initial investment scope for large-scale production of 1.3-propanediol at the SK Chemicals complex at Ulsan, South Korea.
Key points: cash position in the 1st half
The cash position was strengthened in the first half by the drawdown of two tranches of the equity line agreement (PACEO®) with Société Générale amounting €5 million. METabolic EXplorer also concluded a new PACEO agreement with Société Générale on the same terms and conditions as the first, i.e. Société Générale agrees to subscribe, if the company so requests, for successive issues during the coming 24 months in tranches of up to 500,000 shares and totalling a maximum of 2,000,000 shares.
Other agreements signed in the first half (a financial grant from Bpifrance for the L-Methionine programme and an agreement with UPM in the ValChem project) will not have an impact on the cash position until the second half of 2015.
Cash at hand on 30 June 2015 amounted to €12.2 million, compared with €10.9 million at the end of 2014.
Key points: governance
As the terms of office of Ms Anne Lange and Mr Philippe Guinot as directors ended and both wished to devote their time to other boards, two new directors were appointed:
- Mrs Catherine Dunand holds an engineering degree from ECL and an MBA from INSEAD. She has worked for over 20 year in the pharmaceutical and health sectors, including at Hoechst Marion Roussel. She is the manager of the Novinvest Partners investment fund and also the head of the consultancy Promontoires, which she founded in 2009.
- Mr Daniel Chéron has spent most of his career at Limagrain, where he has held various management positions since joining the group in 1976. Since 2006, he has been CEO of Groupe LIMAGRAIN and the Société Coopérative Agricole LIMAGRAIN. He is also COO of LIMAGRAIN Holding SA and CEO of Agence MOMAGRI SAS.
The L-Methionine programme in the 1st half
January 2015/FDA: A non-objection letter was received from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearing the way for market release of this amino acid that is essential in animal nutrition. This approval also marks the start of a campaign to obtain similar authorizations in countries where use of L-Methionine is on the rise.
April 2015/TECHNIP: An agreement was signed with TECHNIP for cooperation in the basic design of a production unit for totally bio-based L-Methionine. By uniting the expertise of the two companies, it will be possible to optimise capital investments for plants whose annual capacity will be between 10,000 and 80,000 tonnes.
June 2015/Bpifrance: After reaching a new stage in its development programme, METabolic EXplorer has obtained a €1.5 million grant from Bpifrance. This financial assistance from Bpifrance will enable an international programme of animal nutrition tests to be conducted on several animal species. This programme will help identify the performance advantages of using bio-sourced L-Methionine, which can be directly assimilated by animals.
*: FDA: Food and Drug Administration
Outlook for the coming months: In line with the four stages in its roadmap – test campaigns to quantify the performance benefits of the METEX biological product, tailored engineering services, marketing approvals, and licencing agreements – METabolic EXplorer confirms that by the end of 2015, it should be able to sign a first non-exclusive agreement in a high-value-added market segment.
The MPG programme in the first half
June 2015/JDA: For the record, this JDA project concerns METEX development of an industrial-scale process for producing MPG from cellulose sugars, using proprietary METEX technology. Achieving this objective will be a decisive step in the strategy for developing and marketing the METEX technology, since the company will then be able to grant licences with limited exclusivity to major manufacturers and to UPM in particular if it decides to adopt this process for large-scale production.
Outlook for the coming months: Achievement of these technical objectives and other milestones, with the company's revenues in this project coming partly from stage payments and partly from the reimbursement of expenses incurred.
Other developments in the PDO programme in the 1st half
PDO: With support from METEX, SK Chemicals has carried out additional studies on various scenarios, such as increased production capacity to optimize the value generated by initial investment. Discussions are continuing with a view to confirmation by SK Chemicals on construction startup for the first PDO facility in Asia, under the new scope.
Next step: Confirmation of startup of construction work on the new plant.
1st Half 2015 Results
The Board of Directors met on 25 September 2015 to make up the accounts as of 30 June 2015. The half-year financial report was filed with the AMF and is publicly available as of today. It can be found on the METabolic Explorer website.
|H1 2014 (*)||H1 2015|
|Income from ordinary activities||3 687||1 264|
|Operating costs (Research & Development, commercial & administration)||-6 034||-5 371|
|Capitalized R&D expenses||1 298||679|
|Other non-current operating costs||-24||-37|
|Operating income||-1 073||-3 465|
|Net Result||-1 064||-3 520|
(*) Data at 30/06/2014 have been restated (IFRIC 21):
The company has applied interpretation IFRIC 21 – Duties and taxes on consolidated financial statements resumed on 30 June 2015. Though application of this interpretation has no significant impact on accounts, the financial statements of 30 June 2014 have been adjusted to allow for retrospective application of interpretation IFRIC 21 (impact: +k€26 in administrative costs).
Operating income was €1.264 million, down 66% compared with first-half 2014. There was no turnover for the period owing partly to the deferment of part of a stage payment from SK Chemicals to the second half and partly to the first revenues from the UPM/ValChem agreements. The other income items are mainly subsidies and income tax credits for research activities.
Gross operating expenses declined a further 11% to €5.371 million, reflecting the company's cost control policy. However, the proportion of capitalized R&D expenses decreased a substantial 48%, as PDO and L-Methionine are nearing the manufacturing stage and no R&D expenditures are capitalized for them.
Cash at hand stood at €12.2 million as of 30 June 2015, compared with €10.9 million at end-2014. Owing to the decrease in debt, cash net of debt amounted to €4.3 million as of 30 June 2015, compared with €2.2 million as of end-2014. As previously noted, the company's debt under IFRS standards includes €1.8 million of advances repayable in the event of success.
- ENDS -
About METabolic EXplorer - www.metabolic-explorer.com
METabolic EXplorer is a biological chemistry company which was incorporated in 1999. Its goal is to help industrial businesses deal with the rise in oil prices, so that they can continue their production, in a different, sustainable way.
Based on the tried and tested principle of industrial fermentation, METabolic EXplorer's solutions replace today's petrochemical processes with the use of a wide range of plant-based raw materials. By optimizing the metabolic yield of non-pathogenic bacteria in a contained, controlled environment, the company facilitates the production of chemical compounds used in a wide range of everyday goods (textile fibres, plastics, resins, solvents or animal feed supplements).
METabolic EXplorer is currently focusing its alternative processes on the production of three compounds that together have an estimated, annual, end-market value of €7 billion. The company's strategy will be implemented through industrial partnerships in the shape of licenses and joint ventures, as well as own-account production units.
METabolic EXplorer, based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, is listed on NYSE Euronext in Paris (Compartment C, METEX) and is part of the CAC Small index and EnterNext Tech40 label.
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