As part of Teijin Ltd.’s portfolio restructuring in response to the global economic downturn, Cargill will assume full ownership of Minnetonka, Minn.-based NatureWorks LLC. Prior to the announcement, NatureWorks, maker of Ingeo bio-based plastics and resins derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources, had operated as a 50-50 joint venture between Cargill and Teijin since October 2007.
NatureWorks officials say the ownership transfer will not affect day-to-day operations at NatureWorks and the company retains strong prospects for continued growth. In fact, NatureWorks confirmed in July that personnel at its Blair, Neb., Ingeo manufacturing plant had successfully installed and commissioned additional equipment, allowing the facility to increase production from 70 metric tons to 140 metric tons, bringing that plant up to full design capacity.
Cargill officials also say that establishing the business as an independent, wholly owned Cargill entity provides NatureWorks with the flexibility to pursue a wide range of opportunities.
“The green product space is ripe for investment and expansion as never before,” says Cargill senior vice president Paul Conway. “While others put up pilot plants, NatureWorks has been commercial for six years, is increasing Ingeo production availability at its first facility and exploring possibilities for a second plant. We’ve rounded the first turn while others are at the starting gate.”