Bankrupt TerraVia sold to Dutch food ingredients firm Corbion

Published on
September 15, 2017

TerraVia, the maker of algae-based fish feed AlgaPrime, has agreed to be purchased by Dutch food ingredients firm Corbion, a little more than a month after it declared bankruptcy.

Corbion’s USD 20 million (EUR 16.7 million) stalking horse bid includes a purchase agreement for most of San Francisco, California, U.S.A.-based TerraVia’s assets, including a pilot plant in San Francisco and its primary production facility in Peoria, Illinois, and a requirement that the company retain at least 50 of TerraVia’s current employees, a total that currently stands at around 77, according to court documents. The agreement must be approved by Judge Christopher S. Sontchi at a hearing on Friday, 15 September in U.S. District Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Corbion is a 100-year old company that develops lactic acid and lactic acid derivatives, with annual sales in 2016 of EUR 911.3 million (USD 1.1 billion).

Over the past several years, TerraVia developed and began producing and distributing AlgaPrime, a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid-rich aquaculture feed. The firm marketed it as a more sustainable alternative to fish oil- and fishmeal-based feeds, which are costly and less sustainable. As part of a joint venture with Bunge Limited, the companies produced the AlgaPrime the SB Renewable Oils factory in Brazil.

In April at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, Belgium, salmon farming company Lerøy, feed producer BioMar, and TerraVia announced a collaboration that has seen Lerøy using AlgaPrime as feed for its salmon.

TerraVia reported a net loss of USD 22.6 million (EUR ) through the first three months of 2017, despite net revenues of approximately USD 4.5 million. In the company’s bankruptcy filing on 2 August, CFO and COO Tyler Painter said the company’s liquidity had been reduced by half – from USD 98 million to USD 44 million (EUR 81.8 million to 36.7 million) – in the past 15 months.

“In the past year, as it became clear that its liquidity situation was unsustainable, TerraVia undertook several cost-cutting and restructuring initiatives,” Painter wrote. “While these initiatives improved TerraVia’s financial position, they did not fully resolve the underlying issues that burden TerraVia’s finances.”

Despite its bankruptcy, TerraVia stands to be honored with the Global Aquaculture Innovation Award at the Global Aquaculture Association GOAL Conference in Dublin, Ireland on Thursday, 5 October.

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