NuSeed acquires Agrisoma carinata assets

November 25, 2019 |

In Louisiana, longtime industry executive Glenn Johnston said that NuSeed has acquired the carinata assets of Canadian agricultural pioneer Agrisoma. Johnston was speaking at the IATA Sustainable Aviation Fuels Symposium in New Orleans and confirmed that five Agrisoma staff members have joined NuSeed, with the asset acquisition. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

NuSeed is a subsidiary of the Australian agricultural giant NuFarm, and Johnston indicated that NuSeed will carry forward development and especially deployment of Agrisoma’s carinata seeds to growers in the Americas and internationally.

NuSeed focuses on the development and deployment of speciality crops including non gm canola, sorghum, and carinata.

“NuSeed has even more capabilities and team members to bring carinata to more growers and increase the acreage,” said Johnston. “It’s very good news for the technology and those who worked at and with Agrisoma to bring the technology forward.”

The Agrisoma backstory

We reported in March last year that Agrisoma completed a C$12 million investment round. In addition to new investor Desjardins Capital, the lead investor Cycle Capital Management and existing investors BDC Capital and Lune Rouge also participated in the round.

Back in 2017, Agrisoma Biosciences closed its $15.4 MM Series B financing round, co-led by new investor Groupe Lune Rouge and current investors Cycle Capital Management, and BDC Venture Capital. And, the company raised $8 million in its Series A investment round in 2014. That round was led by Cycle Capital Management and included participation of BDC Venture Capital. In April 2015, we reported a group led by its management team made an equity investment in the company that gave it a 22 percent stake in the company. The group includes key members of Agrisoma’s senior management, board members and advisors.

Carinata: making a move in South America

Agrisoma and UPM sign long-term supply agreement to grow Carinata in South America

In 2017 we reported that Agrisoma and biorefinery giant UPM signed a long-term supply agreement that will expand the world’s only oilseed crop, developed to produce renewable fuels in South America. Under the deal, the two companies will grow Carinata oilseed crops with third-party farmers in Uruguay and Brazil.

Yep, it’s sustainable, and RSB-certified, and off to Europe too

Last July, we reported that Agrisoma hired Germany lobbying firm Alber and Geiger to help it get carinata included in the Renewable Energy Directive’s list of approved feedstock, a move that would allow for production across the EU-28 (future EU-27 by the time it’s likely approved). Already they report that the proposal has made it through a first hearing in the European Parliament, promoted by Hungarian and Czech MEPs, with the European Commission and Council currently looking at it.

Carinata in flight

It’s been flight-tested. in 2018, we reported that Agrisoma, Australia’s Qantas Airways and World Energy partnered on a transpacific flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne that used 10 percent biojet fuel produced from Carinata.

A second international commercial flight powered by biojet fuel made from Carinata seed oil, the nonstop San Francisco-to-Zurich flight on a Boeing 787 departed Sept. 14 at 2:10 p.m. from San Francisco International Airport and arrived Sept. 15, at 10:10 a.m., at Zurich Airport, making it the longest biojet flight, then, to date. The biojet fuel made from Agrisoma’s Carinata and refined by World Energy’s Paramount facility replaced 30 percent of the petroleum jet fuel needed for the United Airlines flight. While they could have gone higher, 30 percent just worked out to be the number with all the logistics, said Fabijanski.

Agrisoma CEO Steve Fabijanski told The Digest in an exclusive interview that these flights are demonstrating that the carinata crop has “legs beyond the diesel market. We’ve done over 20 million liters of diesel fuel, and this shows we can graduate to the jet market as well.”

The Multi-Slide Guides

Carinata Cover Cropping: The Digest’s 2019 Multi-Slide Guide to Agrisoma

Agrisoma Biosciences, Inc. has the world’s largest collection of Carinata and an extensive modern crop improvement program that allows them to select high yielding varieties ideally suited for production across a broad range of geographies. Agrisoma has commercialized Carinata in North and South America, working with hundreds of farmers on over 50,000 acres of production.

Glenn Johnston, Executive Director of Regulatory Affairs for Agrisoma gave this illuminating overview of carinata’s role as one of the lowest carbon feedstocks available to the biofuels industry and a feedstock optimized for efficient biofuel production, as well as a source of non-GMO protein available at scale for animals and more.

Carinata Rising: The Digest’s 2018 Multi-Slide Guide to Agrisoma

The production of Agrisoma’s Resonance Carinata is being expanded to multiple locations globally to provide a supply of sustainable, non-food oils for meeting the demand for sustainable biofuels. Resonance Carinata is certified sustainable by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), the global standard and certification scheme for sustainable biofuels. It is one of only four crops in the world to achieve that status.

Resonance Carinata meal has recently received regulatory approval as an animal feed, further underscoring the value of this crop to meet the increasing demand for renewable fuel and providing meal for the production of livestock. Additionally, Resonance Carinata is grown on semi-arid farmland, creating new economic and production opportunities for growers.

What’s happening with Agrisoma?

The Digest’s understanding is that Agrisoma will continue to be active with some contracts the company will continue to manage, after which the Agrisoma board will decide the future direction or any potential operations.

The Bottom Line

The potential for Resonance Carinata to expand to multiple locations globally to provide a supply of sustainable, non-food oils for meeting the demand for sustainable biofuels — that’s the promise of this move. And, some good news for farmers pursuing off-season cover crops that make money, and potentially for other fuels as well, and for farmers seeking new feed options. There are geographies and times of the year where carinata fits like a glove, and NuSeed is well positioned to build on Agrisoma’s success.

Every small company looks for a great exit, and here’s one. Kudos Agrisoma, kudos NuSeed.

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