Trellis Earth Products, a leading maker of bioplastic bags and food service disposables headquartered in Portland, OR, will pay $2.6 million for substantially all of Cereplast's assets including production equipment, patents, inventory, and trademarks, plus pay certain contract cure costs, as part of Cereplast's Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings. Cereplast's petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy was approved at the end of March by an Indiana bankruptcy court. Now, United States Bankruptcy Judge Basil H. Lorch III has entered the sale order for the assets of Cereplast, including its former Seymour bioplastics factory.
Trellis Earth has long wanted to set up production in the United States, and this acquisition makes that possible. As founder/chairman Bill Collins blogged on the company's website: "Our company is now officially a U.S. manufacturing entity!"
He added: "This acquisition will fast track our large scale injection molding and thermoforming operations in the United States, as we bring in new finishing equipment to this facility in the weeks and months ahead, enabling us to quickly become the pre-eminent American supplier of bioplastic food service disposables."
Trellis Earth is a seven-year old company with over 500 customers in the food service industry including Kroger, Trader Joe's, and Wegmans. Key products provided include bio-based cutlery, food containers, and shopping bags.
"Of our 100+ products, we hope to make at least 50 percent of them in the U.S. within six months and the balance within a year," said CEO Mike Senzaki.
Trellis Earth is a privately held company with nearly $20 million of sales since its founding in 2007. The company is targeting $8.5 million in revenue for 2015 based on strong forecast demand from customers seeking its U.S.-made, corn starch based, proprietary bioplastic finished goods. Trellis uses starch and biomass materials that are grown as industrial ingredient sources, without genetic engineering. The 105,000 square foot facility acquired from Cereplast has existing annual bioplastic manufacturing capacity to produce materials worth over $50 million.
"We will be launching an all-new product line with over 35 new cutlery SKUs, new clamshells, and many other thermoformed products in what promises to be the pre-eminent vertically integrated bioplastics factory - anywhere," wrote Collins exuberantly in his blog.
Bob Crosby, Trellis Earth Vice President of Sales, said, "We have worked diligently over the last three years to build a pipeline of marquee customers seeking our sustainable, cost-neutral alternatives for cutlery and food containers. We hope to make several announcements in the coming weeks and months about key contracts that will drive the growth of our U.S. manufacturing strategy."