Heerlen, NL, 28 June 2010 08:15 CET

Royal DSM N.V., the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company headquartered in the Netherlands, and Roquette Frères, the global starch and starch-derivatives company headquartered in France, today announce that they have signed a joint venture agreement for the production, commercialization and market development of bio-based succinic acid, subject to regulatory approvals and notifications.

The formation of the joint venture is a new step following the successful cooperation between DSM and Roquette pursuant to a joint development agreement (“JDA”). Since early 2008 the two companies have been working together to develop the best and most sustainable fermentative technology to produce bio-based succinic acid. The first testing volumes of this renewable and versatile chemical building block – used in the manufacture of polymers, resins and many other products – have already been produced in a demonstration plant in Lestrem (France) that was built in 2009.

The positive results from this cooperation have led to the establishment of the joint venture. DSM and Roquette will each have a 50% stake in the new entity, Reverdia V.o.f., which will be headquartered in the Netherlands.

Volkert Claassen, Vice President DSM White Biotechnology, commented: “With the adverse consequences of the world’s dependency on fossil fuels becoming increasingly apparent, fundamentally new approaches are necessary, not only for energy but also for materials that are mainly based on petroleum as a raw material. One day we need alternative sources anyway, but soon it will become economically attractive due to increasing oil prices and – on top of this – alternatives are more environmentally friendly. Today we are showing together with Roquette that we – as a Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company – have the capabilities and the commitment to develop and commercialize an important chemical building block as yet another step towards a bio-based economy.”

Guy Talbourdet, CEO of Roquette, said: “Bio-based chemistry will become important in the future as fossil feedstocks will become scarce and more expensive. We are proud that our alliance with DSM has succeeded in developing the most sustainable bio-based succinic acid technology in such a short period of time and we are looking forward to commercializing and scaling up the production in the near future.”

At the 7th annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, taking place this week in Washington D.C. (United States), DSM and Roquette will elaborate on a recent technical breakthrough and proprietary process for the manufacture of bio-based succinic acid that will contribute to overall superior economics and an improved environmental footprint.

DSM and Roquette believe that fermentation based succinic acid will be able to replace existing fossil based succinic acid as well as open new applications, while at the same time delivering a better environmental performance. This innovative technology to produce bio-based succinic acid from starch is unique in the world.

This new production route delivers a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as it sequesters carbon dioxide (CO2), and the proprietary process does not produce any salts as waste. Bio-based succinic acid will thus enable customers to produce products with substantially lower environmental footprints.

Many companies have already sampled and tested bio-based succinic acid from the demonstration plant of Roquette produced pursuant to the JDA and intend to take shipments from the joint venture upon its formation. The joint venture between DSM and Roquette, which is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals and notifications, plans to focus on applications such as 1,4 butanediol (BDO), polyurethane resins, and biopolymers such as polybutylene succinate (PBS) into applications among others in paints and coatings, automotive and textiles.

DSM and Roquette will be marketing bio-based succinic acid via the joint venture Reverdia and are also working together to further expand their joint capacity.

Roquette Frères

Roquette is one of the world’s most advanced starch and starch-derivatives businesses and world leader in polyols (sugar alcohols). Roquette derives over 700 products from six million tons of maize, wheat, peas and potatoes, and adds outstanding value to over 500,000 hectares of agricultural output. Roquette has annual sales of more than EUR 2.3 billion and employs some 6,400 people worldwide. Roquette is a private family business dedicated to long-term development in the fields of the Nutrition & Health and the vegetal based chemistry. With production facilities in Europe, North America and Asia, Roquette serves customers all over the world in the food, animal nutrition, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paper/board, biochemicals and chemicals sectors. The company is headquartered in Lestrem (France). More information: www.roquette.com.