Bioamber Inc.  (BIOA)
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Bioamber Inc. Segments


Business Segments III. Quarter
(in millions $)
(Sep 30 2017)
(of total Revenues)
III. Quarter
(in millions $)
(Sep 30 2017)
(Profit Margin)
3.30 100 % -7.83 -

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Growth rates by Segment III. Quarter
Y/Y Revenue
(Sep 30 2017)
Q/Q Revenue
III. Quarter
Y/Y Income
(Sep 30 2017)
Q/Q Income
30.93 % -19.92 % - -

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Business Segments Description

Bio-Succinic Acid
We chose to develop bio-succinic acid as our first product because it is a platform chemical that can be used in a broad range of markets, from high value niche applications such as personal care products and food additives, to large volume applications such as bioplastics, plasticizers, polyurethanes, resins and coatings. Bio-succinic acid is also unique in terms of the limited quantity of sugar that is needed for its production. In 2004, the DOE published a report on “Top Value-Added Chemicals from Biomass”, identifying the top opportunities for the production of chemicals from biomass. The study prioritized twelve chemicals, from a group of over 300 possible building blocks that could be most effectively manufactured from sugars. Bio-succinic acid was recognized as one of the renewable building block chemicals with the greatest technical feasibility and commercial potential.
We have identified four main market opportunities for our bio-succinic acid platform:

Replacing petroleum-based succinic acid in applications where it is currently in use, such as food additives and fine chemicals.

Replacing other petroleum-based organic acids, such as adipic acid in polyurethanes and plasticizers, or isophthalic acid in PET resins and unsaturated polyester resins.

Expanding into new uses for succinic acid, such as phthalate-free plasticizers, silicone replacements and bioplastics such as PBS.

Converting bio-succinic acid into BDO and THF, which are large volume, existing markets readily accessible to our “drop-in” bio-based alternatives.
Historically, the high cost of producing succinic acid from petroleum feedstock limited its use to a narrow range of specialty applications such as pharmaceuticals and food ingredients. A study published in August 2012 by Roland Berger estimated the market for petroleum-based succinic acid at approximately 51,000 MT per year. Roland Berger projected that the succinic acid market will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of between 25% and 30% through 2020.
We are currently marketing our bio-succinic acid in several markets, using technical data to demonstrate value in use:

Polyurethanes. Adipic acid is currently used in polyester polyols, which are used to make polyurethanes. Polyurethanes are used in, among other things, soles for footwear, molded foams for automotive applications like car seats and arm rests, artificial leathers and non-foam applications such as coatings, adhesives and sealants. Bio-succinic acid can be used to replace adipic acid in some segments of this market, and it is currently the only renewable alternative to adipic acid for the production of polyurethanes. Suppliers of polyester polyols are actively looking for bio-based, cost-effective substitutes for adipic acid to improve the environmental profile, derive differentiated performance attributes, or reduce the cost of their products.

Resins and Coatings. Bio-succinic acid can be used to replace other organic acids in polyester coating resins, unsaturated polyester resins, or UPR, and polyester polyols used in urethane surface coatings. Bio-succinic acid can offer differentiated performance in some applications, as well as environmental advantages and cost-effectiveness.

Food Additives. Succinic acid is currently used for its multiple functions in food applications; as an acidulant, to increase the tartness or acidity of food, as a pH regulator for food ingredients, and as a flavoring agent. The unique ‘umami’ flavor of succinic acid gives a salty, soy-like taste to food and is used in the production of soy sauce, miso, sake and synthetic liquors in Asia. Outside of Asia, succinic acid is used in the baking industry. Succinic acid can also be used to replace malic acid, which provides a bitter salty taste similar to succinic acid, and adipic acid that is used as a flavor in fruit drinks and as a gelling aid for gelatin desserts.

Lubricants and Corrosion Inhibitors. Adipate esters are widely used in the lubricants market as base oils or as additives to form industrial lubricants and metal-working fluids. Bio-succinic acid is capable of replacing adipate esters and producing sustainable succinate esters that meet the demand for more environmentally friendly, non-toxic lubricants. Our bio-succinate esters also perform well in terms of improved flowability in cold temperatures and better prevention of oxidation, rust and corrosion.

Fine Chemicals. Succinic acid is used today in a variety of high value added applications including dyes, inks and toners. Succinic acid is also used in pharmaceutical applications. Derivatives of succinic acid such as succinimides can provide multiple functions in pharma applications, such as a pH buffer, an antibacterial or chelating agent, a coatings/sizing agent, or as a stabilizer for other ingredients.

De-icing Solutions. Chlorides are the most commonly used de-icer for roadways. Potassium salts are typical non-chloride de-icers used for roadways as well as airport runways and other surfaces. We have developed a patented bio-succinic acid-based de-icer formulation for use on airport runways. Our bio-based product is significantly less corrosive than potassium acetate and potassium formate. Bio-succinic acid based products can also be used as wetting agents for chlorides in the larger roadway market, which can in turn reduce the corrosiveness of the chlorides applied to surfaces.

Personal Care Products. Our focus in the personal care market has been the use of esters of bio-succinic acid as natural emollients and surfactants. Emollients are used in lotions, liquid soaps and cleansers to improve and moisturize skin, while surfactants are used in soaps, body washes and shampoos to allow easier spreading. We believe there is a significant opportunity for bio-based alternatives as consumers are increasingly demanding renewable products and ingredients in the personal care products they use including the replacement of silicone based ingredients in shampoos and other products.

Co-monomer in PET resins. Isophthalic acid is used as a co-monomer in the production of PET resin, which is then used to produce carbonated soft drink and water bottles, and various packaging. Isophthalic acid is added to PET resin to improve crystallinity (approximately 3% by weight). Bio-succinic acid has been shown to provide the same benefits as isophthalic acid, without negatively impacting the PET resin, while offering a significant cost savings and greater renewable content.

Polybutylene Succinate (PBS). PBS is a biodegradable polymer made by reacting succinic acid with BDO. The market for this biopolymer is currently limited by capacity and price, and the fact that it has traditionally been made with petroleum-derived succinic acid and BDO. Applications range from single use in food service ware, including cutlery, cups and lids, agricultural mulching film and compostable bags. Our bio-succinic acid enables PBS to be lower cost and partially renewable, and upon commercialization, we expect our BDO will enable PBS to be 100% bio-based.

Plasticizers. Plasticizers are organic esters that are primarily used to render polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, more flexible. PVC is widely used in multiple end-markets because it is low cost, durable and versatile. Bio-succinic acid esters can serve as replacements for the major phthalate-based plasticizers, which account for over 80% of the worldwide plasticizer market. There is increasing demand for renewable, phthalate-free plasticizers, particularly in sensitive applications such as children’s toys and childcare articles. We entered into a joint development agreement with Lanxess, a global leader in phthalate-free plasticizers, to develop a portfolio of bio-succinic-based phthalate-free plasticizers that can exceed the performance of general purpose plasticizers at competitive prices. Lanxess has begun to market a range of succinic acid based plasticizers, under the Uniplex brand.
We estimate the global addressable market for these various uses of bio-succinic acid is in excess of $2 billion.

Bio-based 1,4 Butanediol (BDO)
Succinic acid can be used to produce BDO. The major uses of BDO are in the production of polyurethanes and PBT. PBT is an engineering-grade thermoplastic that combines excellent mechanical and electrical properties with robust chemical resistance. The automotive and electronics industries heavily rely on PBT to produce connectors, insulators, wheel covers, gearshift knobs and reinforcing beams. We believe there is growing interest in the automotive industry to produce PBT and blends that are partially bio-based to enable automobile manufacturers to meet their sustainability goals. Based on information obtained from ICIS Chemical Business Magazine (August 27 – September 9, 2012), the global BDO market is estimated to be approximately $4 billion.

Tetrahydrofuran (THF)
Succinic acid can also be used to produce THF. THF is used to produce spandex fibers and other performance polymers, resins, solvents and printing inks for plastics. There is also growing demand in the apparel industry for renewable, bio-based spandex. Based on information obtained from CEH Marketing Research Reports on Tetrahydrofuran published in October 2010 and March 2013, respectively, we estimate the global THF market to be approximately $2 billion.


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