BioAmber reports progress with Sarnia plant in Q1 results

By Erin Voegele | May 14, 2014

BioAmber Inc. has announced first quarter financial results, reporting increased bio-succinic acid sales. The company also reported progress in the development of its Sarnia, Ontario, plant, which is expected to begin operations in early 2015.

BioAmber’s sale of bio-succinic acid reached $351,000 for the quarter, up 6 percent from $331,000 in sales during the same three-month period of 2013. Gross profit for the quarter was $71,000, down from $132,000 reported for the first quarter of 2013. The company reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of $19.91 million, or $1.07 per share, compared to a net loss attributable to shareholders of $9.5 million, or 92 cents per share, for the same period of 2013.

During a call to discuss the results, BioAmber CEO Jean-Francois Huc, noted the company is making good progress with construction of the Sarnia facility. “We’ve now completed over 70 percent of the detailed engineering,” he said, adding that the vast majority of the plant equipment has been ordered and is awaiting delivery. “We are now nearing completion of the warehouse and have made good progress on the office and process building work,” Huc continued, noting that costs are coming in on budget.

The company has also begun hiring facility staff. “The commissioning and startup efforts led by our recently hired plant manager have also increased over the past two months,” said Huc. “The hiring of plant staff is ramping up according to our product schedule. We are further strengthening the operating team with process engineers and the maintenance team with an instrumentation technician. The latest hires will contribute to our ongoing drafting of standard operating procedures that will be necessary for our startup.”

Huc explained that the draft operating procedures define the plant startup and shutdown sequences, the safety procedures, and the maintenance and quality control procedures that will form the core of the company’s employee training manuals. “Our plant operators will be hired through the summer months to begin plant-specific safety and process training well ahead of startup,” he continued.

Huc also spoke about the take-or-pay agreement that was announced with PTTMCC Biochem Co. Ltd. on May 1. Under terms of the agreement, BioAmber will be the principal supplier of bio-succinic acid to PTTMCC for the production of biodegradable plastic in Thailand. PTTMCC, a joint venture of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. and PTT Public Co. Ltd., is constructing a polybutylene succinate (PBS) plant in Thailand that will have an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons. The PBS plant is expected to be operational during the first half of 2015 and will consume approximately 14,000 tons of succinic acid per year when operating at full capacity.