Symphony Environmental Technologies plc (LON:SYM) Chief Executive Officer Michael Laurier caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss equity injection from Vincel Investment Holdings, huge market in the US for d2p, approval from Health Canada and thoughts for the future.
Symphony Environmental Technologies is a world leader in the development of additives to make ordinary plastic biodegradable, and protective technologies to enhance plastic products. Now, today we’re talking to CEO Michael Laurier.
Q1: You announced on Friday an equity injection from Vincel Investment Holdings, you must be delighted. What are the broad terms of the placing and what will the proceeds be used for?
A1: This was a very important placing because it actually consolidates Vince’s investment into SYM and increases their stake in the company to 14.8%. As the market would have seen, Vincel has been gradually increasing their holding in the company over the last few months but to get a sizable tranche of our shares, it wasn’t possible to buy that at the market price. That indicates a premium of around about 13% odd to the market price, just to increase their holding to a level where they felt more comfortable.
That was linked, as you can see, to warrants at 40p per share, valid for a 6-month period so the expectation obviously is that the valuation of the company should significantly improve over the very, very short as well as a long-term.
The proceeds will strengthen our working capital, we were adequately funded prior to this and we’re in an even better position having this funding in play. Vincel, as you know, are owned Mr. Lohia’s family and he is the Chairman of the Indorama Corporation, the world’s largest producer of PET. PET is a material that’s used in a lot of clothing as well as bottles such as Coca Cola bottles.
So, being linked to a very large corporation is certainly aligned with our corporate commercial strategy and thinking.
Q2: The company seems to be getting real commercial traction now. You received regulatory approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for your d2p technology, that was in July of this year, I’m thinking this must open up a huge market in the US? Can you tell us more about that?
A2: You picked up a really important development because it’s been nearly 10 years in the preparation, which is an awful long time, and to get the FDA approval is a mega development for us.
That now allows us to do as we did, get the approval in Canada because Canadian approval was based on US approval, and that then allows us to accelerate our commercial steps into the bread industry in the America’s where the FDA is applicable.
The market is big, just in the United States alone, the bread market itself exceeds $20 billion, that’s not the packaging element, that’s of course the bread, but it would be realistic to assume that packaging would probably be worth in excess of $1 billion dollars so we’re looking at getting into a billion dollar market with our technology. So, yes, really exciting times and the results as we’ve indicated to the market is showing very pleasing developments as to the value of the technology to the bread industry itself.
So, we’re confident that very soon we’ll be updating the market further, but this time not on the regulatory steps, because we’ve already done that, but on the commercial progress, whereby we’ve moved from development into commercial sales.
Q3: Now, another major achievement in September was the approval from Health Canada, as you’ve just mentioned. Can you just expand on that for us?
A3: Health Canada is linked to the US FDA approval. As I mentioned just a moment ago, the FDA approval, which took a number of years to be able to get, set the foundations to get approval in the same market sector as United States so that further extends us into the foods/bread industry.
We now have obviously all United States of America, we’ve got the Canadian and we’re also looking at areas in now Latin America that also follow the same approval process.
So, FDA-approved bread technology is part of our commercial progress going forward.
Q4: These developments, they all come hot off the heels of Symphony Environmental’s significant collaboration with Meditech who are based in Hong Kong and have a huge global network. What are your thoughts now for the future of the business?
A4: These are all very transformational pieces to the foundation that we’ve been preparing for a number of the years.
The Meditech relationship, not only is there the corporate deal that links to that which I’ll remind your listeners is an up to 2.5% to 20% equity that they could buy into the company i.e. directly through the market if the market value is suitable or other methods of bringing them up to the 20%, at a value of not less than 35p.
So you can see how the valuation of the Meditech deal links quite nicely into the Vincel 30p cash today, plus 40p warrants going forward.
Now, the commercial links to that and Vincel’s got their own strategy ongoing, but Meditech, we announced to the market that we’re looking at nitrile gloves, but there’s also other products that are linked to gloves. As far as Meditech, they’re excited and going through this process of doing the trials at the moment, and then completing the regulatory documents that are required to go to market.
So, it’s a technology, it’s a business that we believe will go commercial in a very big way during 2022.