Green Biologics raises $76 million to support plant conversion

By Erin Voegele | January 21, 2015

U.K-based Green Biologics Inc. has raised $76 million to support the acquisition and conversion of a Minnesota ethanol plant to produce n-butanol and acetone. The funding will also support continued development of the company’s process technology platform.

Last month, Green Biologics announced it had closed on the sale of Central MN Ethanol Co-op, a 21 MMgy corn ethanol plant in Little Falls, Minnesota. The company plans to continue ethanol production for now, and transition to the production of n-butanol and acetone next year.

The $76 million includes the closing of an internal follow-on equity round of $42 million co-led by Swire Pacific Ltd. and Sofinnova Partners. According to Green Biologics, existing investors Capricorn Venture Partners, Oxford Capital Partners, Morningside Technology Partners and ConvergInce Holdings LLC also participated in the round. The balance of the $76 million includes $34 million that was raised predominantly in debt financing from Tennenbaum Capital Partners, along with equity and debt investment rolled over by existing members of Central MN Ethanol Co-op LLC in Central MN Renewables LLC, a U.S. affiliate of Green Biologics. The company said the new $76 million follows its previous equity round of $25 million in December 2013, bringing its total fund raising to more than $100 million since late 2013.

“We are grateful for the strong support from our board, and the continued support of our existing investors as well as from our new investors and partners, TCP and CMEC,” said Sean Sutcliffe, chief executive of GBL. “Our objective since last year has been to demonstrate our technology and secure our first U.S. commercial plant in Minnesota, and raise the necessary capital to repurpose the plant to begin production of renewable n-butanol and acetone for our customers – this financing sets us squarely on our course.” 

Ocean Park Advisors acted as a financial advisor to Central MN Ethanol Co-op on the Central MN Renewables consideration ethanol structuring and process. “CMEC was well represented with OPA in its corner throughout the entire process,” said Dana Persson, CEO of Central MN Ethanol Co-op. “There were various agreements to be negotiated between the parties and the OPA team brought invaluable expertise and provided excellent advice in structuring the option of investment for our shareholders.”

“We are delighted with the outcome of this transaction and look forward to the leadership role that Green Biologics will play as a global leader in renewable chemicals,” said Mark Fisler, managing director of Ocean Park Advisors.” In addition, we are pleased that we were able to structure the option for the CMEC founding shareholders to remain an investor in this exciting proposition.”