Metex faces challenges amidst tough competition from Chinese lysine producers

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Just_Super
© GettyImages/Just_Super

Related tags METEX NØØVISTAGO lysine China

French company, Metabolic Explorer (Metex), has asked Euronext to suspend the listing of its shares on the Euronext Paris, with it seeking a safeguard procedure for two of its subsidiaries.

Those two units, Metex Nøøvista and Metex Nøøvistago, produce functional ingredients via fermentation for the animal feed, cosmetics and biopolymers market.

Metex, with headquarters near Clermont-Ferrand, said it faces rising production costs, and predatory pricing in the L-Lysine market amidst fierce competition from Chinese brands.

The business is determined to “overcome this transitional period” and outlined how it will leverage the quality of its assets, its unique skills, and the technologies at its disposal to do so. It noted the “hostile economic environment” over the past several months, a sharp rise in production costs, caused by soaring commodity prices, sugar being the main one, along with ongoing dumping by Chinese producers of lysine, which is driving prices down and preventing it from passing on its own production costs to customers.

In the meantime, the Paris Commercial Court has approved a recovery procedure for its subsidiaries and appointed judicial administrators.

Metex is also negotiating with authorities to address issues related to sugar price competitiveness.

“The current legal procedures aim to ensure that future injections and restructuring efforts are grounded on solid foundations. The measures enable the company to negotiate repayment terms with its creditors over an agreed period and potentially seeks new investors,” according to Swiss data intelligence producer, Kemiex.

In 2023, Metex secured a cash injection from its partners such as Bpifrance, the Sociétés de Projets Industriels (SPI) fund and key suppliers.

Financial results

In February, the company reported a revenue drop of -42% year-on-year for full-year 2023.

Sales of specialty products including tryptophan, valine, arginine, isoleucine, leucine, histidine, PDO, and butyric acid grew steadily, with +10% year-on-year growth throughout 2023. Sales of commodities, lysine and threonine, fell signficantly, by -77% year-on-year, amid the fierce competition from imported Chinese products.

Metex bought out the industrial and commercial activities of Ajinomoto Animal Nutrition Europe (AANE) in 2021 and renamed the division, Metex Nøøvistago. In doing so, it acquired the largest fermentation production site in Europe, located in Amiens. Notably, AANE also experienced difficulties in terms of achieving sustainable profitability and growth at that plant, commented Kemiex.

In March, the EU Commission authorized a L-Lysine product of Metex, which is produced by Escherichia coli NITE BP-02917, as a feed additive for all animal species.

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