Joint Venture & Partnerships

The Bioplastic Flop of the Year: Synvina

BASF announced officially that they will leave Avantium and exit the Synvina joint venture by 15 January 2019.

BASF communicated in October 2018 that they intended to leave the joint venture Synvina. The reason: some conditions to fulfil their investment were not met (Will BASF leave the Synvina Joint Venture?)

Avantium disagrees with BASF’s interpretation of the joint venture agreement and are discussing the terms and conditions of an exit. Avantium will acquire BASF’s shares in Synvina and continue business alone.

Synvina is a joint venture between Avantium and BASF formed in 2016 to convert plant based sugar into furandicarboxylic acid  (FDCA to produce PEF. The Synvina plant was meant to be built in Antwerpen but the project was delayed by 2 or 3 years. Plant-based PEF was supposed to replace petrol-based PET.

Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium said

“We remain fully confident in our YXY technology and the unique properties of PEF, confirmed by high market interest and existing Synvina partnerships. We look forward to building on the work undertaken within Synvina and being free to pursue further options to reach the full potential of PEF”.


Let’s have a look at the possible reasons of this divorce:

  • Avantium doesn’t want to sell its soul to BASF? Avantium is listed on the stock market Euronext, so the soul selling already took place a bit.
  • BASF doesn’t believe in the YXY technology anymore? Did Some technological developments made the YXY technology obsolete?
  • BASF doesn’t believe in the ROI of Synvina or PEF?

Interesting Questions:

  • Were speculations made on the stock market? Insider trading? Were financial options taken on Avantium? Should there be an inquiry?
  • Will Avantium come into an existential crisis? When is Avantium going to deliver on its promises? Will Avantium prove that it’s more than a recipient of EU grants and actually produces something?
  • Will Avantium touch the bottom of the pool and rise from its ashes?

What if:

  • What if all of this was just due to some poor PR from Avantium? Was Avantium greedy on it’s PR budgets? Should they have done a better PR?

basf avantium synvinaavantiulm synvina