Dutch biochemicals company Avantium reported total revenues of €8.8 million for the first half of 2020, compared with revenues of €7.7 million for the same period last year. However, the company also acknowledged that its Catalysis business recorded a dip in revenues due to Covid-19.
The company’s Catalysis business promotes its advanced catalyst testing technology.
The Catalysis branch was hit by global travel restrictions caused by the corona pandemic, the company said. Specifically, personnel were unable to travel to customers to install and maintain the company’s Flowrence testing systems. As a result of this, the division’s turnover decreased by 15% to €4.0 million.
Nevertheless, the company managed to reduce the net loss slightly from €12.6 million to €11.0 million.
Operating expenses also decreased, from €16.4 million to €15.7 million.
The company maintained that it was still pushing ahead with its commercialising its key bioproducts. Avantium’s main aim is to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels. Its Renewable Polymers branch continues to work towards taking an investment decision by the end of 2020 on the construction of a FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) flagship plant.
In the first half of 2020, Avantium Renewable Chemistries successfully completed commissioning and start-up of its plant-based MEG (mono-ethylene glycol) demonstration plant.
Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium, said: “We have focused our efforts on the execution of our strategy of commercialising our plants-to-plastics technologies. We continue to work towards making an investment decision on the FDCA flagship plant by the end of the year, and our plant-based MEG demonstration facility is now operating.
“With three pilot plants operational we have made good progress in developing and diversifying our business. We have recorded somewhat lower revenues in our Catalysis business, and we have taken steps to offset this by effectively managing our cash without loss of focus or compromising our progress.
“The health and safety of our employees, partners and contractors has been our top priority throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We adopted stringent measures early on to minimise the risks of transmission. In the first half of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had limited impact on our business.”
Health and safety
Giving a bit more of an insight into the Covid-19 situation, the company said: “Covid-19 has led to unprecedented global challenges. Avantium responded quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic, initiating stringent protocols to increase already strict hygiene and safety precautions in our offices, laboratories and pilot plants, in order to protecting the health and well-being of our employees and partners.
“In line with directions from the Dutch government, we initially asked our office employees to work from home, though now, again under strict guidelines, employees are spending at least some time in the office.
“Our critical laboratory and plant operations have continued running smoothly under the newly implemented protocol since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.”
In relation to potential risks going forward, the company said: “In the first half of 2020, we have seen uncertainties and volatility following the Covid-19 worldwide outbreak. A prolonged pandemic may impact the financial performance of the company and its ability to attract funding and partnerships for the commercialisation of the technologies in the Renewable Polymers and Renewable Chemistries businesses and the ability of Avantium Catalysis to close certain sales transactions.”
Looking forward, the company said that it remained focussed on delivering on its strategic objectives. It also said that discussions with potential strategic partners are ongoing.