Chromatin lands $12.5M credit facility for sorghum seed expansion

July 9, 2014 |

From Illinois, we hear that Chromatin has closed a three-year, $12.5 million credit facility with The PrivateBank. The credit facility represents Chromatin’s first financing with a commercial lender and provides capital to support the company’s rapidly expanding sorghum seed business. Chromatin has also raised over $70 million in equity financing.

The company last appeared in the financial pages when it announced the first closing of its Series E financing round, expected to total $36 million, in January. Wood Creek Capital Management, an investment manager focused on investing in real assets and intellectual property, including agricultural resources, led the round. Other participants included GE Capital, Equity, as well as funds that had participated in earlier rounds of financing: BP Alternative Energy, IllinoisVentures, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, and Adventures IV, LLC.

On the technology side, the company was in the news in the late winter when   Chromatin revealed that it has created sorghum plants containing elevated levels of the energy-rich compound farnesene. This was a milestone in the ARPA-E program Plants Engineered To Replace Oil (PETRO).

Like sugarcane, sorghum has traditionally been used as a source of sugars that can be subsequently converted to biofuels by microbes. By creating farnesene within sorghum, it becomes possible to bypass expensive microbial fermentation and directly harvest biofuels from the crop itself.

But we never did hear a figure on “how elevated”.

Reaction from the partners

“We are pleased that Chromatin has qualified for commercial lending rates that significantly reduce our cost of capital. This deal reflects Chromatin’s predictable recurring revenue and strong balance sheet,” said David Woodburn, Vice President of Finance and Development at Chromatin. “The funding facility will be available for working capital and general corporate purposes.”

“We are pleased to announce this relationship with The PrivateBank,” said Daphne Preuss, Chromatin’s CEO. “Their focus on rapidly growing, middle-market companies makes The PrivateBank an attractive growth partner for Chromatin and its shareholders.”

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