Novamont to Buy Eastman’s Eastar Bio copolyester technology

Novamont S.p.A. and Eastman Chemical Company have announced the sale of Eastman’s Eastar Bio copolyester business and technology platform to Novamont, a producer of biodegradable materials. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

“The acquisition of Eastman’s Eastar Bio copolyester technology, including the excellent manufacturing skills and an extensive patent portfolio, represents an important strategic breakthrough for Novamont,” said Catia Bastioli, managing director of Novamont S.p.A. “The acquisition will permit us to widen the range of Novamont’s proprietary products and speed up the internal development of polyesters from renewable resources. The patent portfolio related to Eastar Bio technology will further strengthen Novamont’s position in the sector of polyesters and starch/polyester systems.”

Novamont S.p.A. started its activity as a research center in 1989 and today is a market leader in the sector of bioplastics. Under the Mater-Bi trademark, Novamont offers a family of competitive materials based on renewable agricultural origin. Industrial applications covered by Mater-Bi are very broad ranging from separate collection of organic waste and composting to agriculture, hygiene, packaging, food service ware and additives for rubber.

“The emerging biodegradable industry is experiencing exciting market development activities; however, only limited synergies exist with markets currently served by Eastman,” said Phil Griswold, vice president and general manager for Eastman’s specialty plastics business. “As such, we believe that Novamont is a better natural owner of this innovative technology. We’re pleased that Novamont, a recognized world leader in producing biodegradable polymers, will be using the technology and manufacturing skills that Eastman has developed to further this very important market.”

Eastar Bio copolyester is used commercially in food service ware markets for cutlery and single-use disposable packaging, protective packaging, compost bags and organic waste bin liners. Eastman also had biodegradable development efforts in agricultural plastics, packaging and sporting goods. Eastman’s specialty plastics business is part of the company’s Eastman Division. Both companies are working closely to promote a smooth transition of the business and technology.

Novamont has invested more than US$90 million in the project “Living Chemistry for Quality of Life,” and is a profitable company with a turnover of US$34.3 million in 2003, employing over one hundred people. Novamont’s pioneering project “Living Chemistry for Quality of Life” has enabled the creation of dynamic partnerships with research institutes, public bodies, companies, associations and communities, whose objectives are products and solutions for sustainable development. This commitment received important acknowledgement at the United Nations summit of 2002 in Johannesburg, where Novamont S.p.A. was honored with the Sustainable Development Partnerships Award. For more information about Novamont and Mater-Bi products, visit www.novamont.com.

With headquarters in Kingsport, Tenn., U.S.A., Eastman manufactures and markets chemicals, fibers and plastics worldwide. The company has approximately 12,000 employees and had 2003 sales of US$5.8 billion.

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