Aviation biofuels company receives over $1 billion funding facility for supply chain projects and acquisitions
Mon 7 Feb 2011 – BioJet International, a supply chain integrator in renewable jet fuel, has acquired $1.2 billion in capital funding from Cayman Islands-based Equity Partners Fund to develop feedstock and refining projects, as well as investment and strategic acquisitions. BioJet says it has operations throughout the entire biofuel value chain, including feedstock generation, technology, refining, logistics, sustainability certification and distribution. The company, formerly JatrophaBioJet, is a collaboration of Abundant Biofuels Corporation, South Polar Carbon Asset Management and Mitch Hawkins and Company. Last year, BioJet became IATA’s first Alternative Fuels Strategic Partner and also participates in the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI).
According to Mitch Hawkins, BioJet’s Chairman and CEO, “This funding agreement with Equity Partners will form the cornerstone of BioJet capital projects and accretive EBIDTA-positive acquisitions over the next five years. It enables a clear path to the expansion of our camelina, jatropha and algae feedstock projects, as well as our Avia renewable jet refining projects in Latin America, Asia and Europe.
“We will also be seeking acquisitions of listed companies which can add value geographically and strategically.”
In June 2009, BioJet received $4 million in equity funding commitment from Lambert Private Equity Fund. The funding structure to be provided by Equity Partners is a three-year facility. The fund focuses on equity investments in public companies in all sector types with market capitalisations under $1 billion, as well as private companies that will be listed on a securities exchange within six months of a funding commitment.
Equity Partners Fund spokesman Bruce Nelson said: “The fund is considered a private fund run by its principals, similar to a merchant bank that invests its own capital. Unlike hedge funds which have significant regulatory burdens exposing their investors to higher risks, Equity Partners Fund is able to act quickly, is more flexible when it comes to structuring an investment and has less regulatory burdens.”
BioJet CEO Mitch Hawkins, who also holds a commercial pilot’s licence, is a biofuels industry representative on the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s (EPFL) Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels Industrial Biofuel Producers Chamber.
BioJet says its mission is to enable the interface of the Bio-SPK, aerospace and carbon markets and to provide a cooperative single-point exchange for the worldwide supply and forward purchase of jet biofuel. It is also looking to become “the world leader in carbon credit development of the jet biofuel application.”
A member of the company’s advisory board is Nathan Agnew, currently Senior Vice President of Strategy, Planning and Infrastructure for the Australia Pacific Airports Corporation. He was previously with Air New Zealand, where he was closely involved with the airline’s alternative fuel programme that culminated with the world’s first flight to use a jatropha-blended jet fuel.
Although BioJet partner Abundant Biofuels is a jatropha producer, BioJet says its is agnostic with regard to feedstocks and “is committed to utilising any and all sustainable and economically viable sources in the fulfilment of its mission, making it relatively unique among renewable jet fuel producers.”
These include jatropha, camelina, algae, waste biomass and designer sources. BioJet has camelina cultivation/refining under development in Argentina and is in the planning stages for large camelina projects in Eastern Europe in the US through its joint ventures. The company also recently entered into a joint venture agreement with a leading algae developer.