Recycler MBA Polymers gets new funding, plans expansion

By Mike Verespej | PLASTICS NEWS STAFF

Posted October 25, 2010

LONDON  — Industrial recycler MBA Polymers Inc. hopes to build one or two additional plants soon with the $25 million in equity funding it has just secured.

“One of my primary jobs is to figure out how we are going to grow and when,” said MBA founder and President Michael Biddle in a phone interview Oct. 22 in London a day after he accepted The Economist’s Innovation Award in the energy and environmental category for 2010.

With the company’s third plant in Worksop, England, now up and running, “we are ready to build another plant now,” said Biddle. “We don’t have a timetable, but when we find a source of materials that we can recycle and get a deal done, we’ll go ahead.”

He said MBA was looking at Asia and Europe—where the company already has plants, and North America. ““The new plants will probably be in the same range as our existing plants—40,000-80,000 tons,” said Biddle. “We don’t know which one is going to come to fruition first.”

MBA takes electronics, computer and appliance waste and automotive shredder residue and uses proprietary technology to separate out polypropylene, polystyrene and ABS and make recycled pellets. It is headquartered and has a research and distribution facility in Richmond, Calif., but does not yet have a plant in the U.S. Its plants are in England, China and Austria.

Biddle said the $25 million in equity that was raised by MBA and announced Oct. 20—“will be used primarily to fund our growth. It will provide the equity portion of what it will take to build the next two plants.” A small portion of that $25 million will be used for ongoing operations, he said.

The round of financing was led by Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures and Balderton Capital Management LLP in the United Kingdom. Participants included past investors Honeywell Capital Management, Citi’s Sustainable Development Investments and Less Plastics Limited of Hong Kong.

“MBA’s market leading ability to reclaim high-grade engineering plastics is progressing rapidly. The company is experiencing more than 100 percent revenue growth year-over-year,” said George Powlick, managing director of Doughty Hanson in a statement. “We are pleased with the recent opening of MBA’s largest plant located in the U.K. This facility extends MBA’s processing ability into the automotive waste market and will drive the next phase of the company’s growth.”

The plastics recovery plant in England is a joint venture with European Metal Recycling Ltd. of Warrington, England. “We are on a slow-ramp up at the England plant,” said Biddle. “We expect to hit 60,000 tons (on annual basis) by the middle of next year. It is designed to go to 80,000 tons” on an annual basis

MBA’s plants have less than 10 percent of the energy costs of a virgin resin plant, which earned it the Innovation award from The Economist. Its plastic separation technology not only separates various plastics from each other, it can separate different grades within the same plastic, such as injection, extrusion and flame-retardant grades of polystyrene.

MBA expects to be able to separate polycarbonate and PC/ABS from recycled streams, starting sometime in 2011.

The company’s last round of financing in 2008 raised $40 million. MBA said it has recovered more than 100 million pounds of plastic since beginning large-scale commercial operations in 2006.

SOURCE: PLASTICS NEWS

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