Funds to the tune of $15m to spur Unibio expansion globally

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Olivier Le Moal
© GettyImages/Olivier Le Moal

Related tags Protein Natural gas Saudi arabia Texas Pig

Unibio International plc has raised US$15m from existing and new shareholders in a Series D funding round.

The financing was led by West Hill Capital. Unibio said it was still in discussion with potential additional corporate and financial investors.

Since its formation, the Danish single cell protein (SCP) producer has raised a total of US$35m in financing, including the current round.

Unibio CEO, Henrik Busch-Larsen, told us about the implications of the investment:

"We are very pleased to have closed this round and happy that both existing and new shareholders are backing the company. This is significant amount for Unibio as it allows the company to execute on our global roll-out strategy, with immediate focus on the US project, [it gives us] the time to close more license agreement with new partners. In parallel, it allows the company to strengthen the organisation and expand our R&D capabilities."

In collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark and others, Unibio has developed a range of technologies under the U-Loop brand that allows large-scale conversion of methane from natural gas or biogas into protein using methanotrophic [methane consuming] microbes.

Aquaculture and pig production are the biotech company’s current target markets. 

Its pilot plant and R&D facilities are located at the Technical University of Denmark near Copenhagen and it operates a demonstration plant in Kalundborg, Denmark.

The first full-scale production plant, constructed and operated by Unibio’s partner, Protelux, is being commissioned in Russia. The company has also signed two license agreements, one for the Russian Federation and one for the US.

Saudi Arabia, Texas production plans

Indeed, August saw a raft of announcements from Unibio with the Danish player also revealing​ at the start of the month that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the General Investment Authority of Saudi Arabia (SAGIA) to initiate a project to produce SCP in that market.

In terms of when construction of a production plant in Saudi Arabia using Unibio technology would likely get underway, Busch-Larsen indicated the build would start in the second half of 2020.

Construction of the factory would take 18-24 months from ground-breaking, he said.

“We are currently looking at two potential locations - one site on the east coast and another one on the west coast. The final decision is expected within a few months.”

The anticipated capacity for that facility would be 50,000 tons per year, he added.

And, last week, we talked to the CEO about Unibio’s new US partnership with Core Protein​. That deal is aimed at establishing a methane-to-protein production facility in Texas. Such a facility would supply the US and international feed markets with single cell protein.

Texas is an ideal location for such a project because of the existing infrastructure, said the CEO.

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