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Plastics recycler MBA wins $15 million investment, plans expansions

Post-consumer plastics recycler MBA Polymers (Richmond, CA) has secured $15 million of additional equity funding from Italian private equity company, Ambienta SGR, with plans to use the money to build new factories in Europe and Asia. As part of the investment, Ambienta founding partner and CEO Nino Tronchetti Provera has been named to MBA's board of directors.

MBA's most recent financing round, which commenced last summer, has generated a total of approximately $40 million. Mike Biddle, founder and president of MBA Polymers told PlasticsToday that the most recent round of financing is the same size as its last one, completed in 2008. MBA Polymers currently operates three plants in Guangzhou, China; Kematen, Austria; and Worksop, England. The company says its customers include top global brands in electronics and appliances. MBA Polymers' 259 employees generated approximately $36 million in revenue in 2010, doubling its 2009 figure.

"Our growth was driven equally by an expansion in sales volume and sales prices," Biddle said, "due mostly to selling of our premium EvoSource products to increasing numbers of sophisticated customers."

Founded in 1993, MBA Polymers uses proprietary processes to recover plastics from complex waste streams, extracting the material from items including appliances, automobiles, and computer and business equipment. The plastics are then separated from each other and from the residual waste, with the reclaimed resins then resold into the converting market.

Ambienta SGR, which came to being in 2007, describes itself as the only Italian asset management firm created exclusively to manage environment‐friendly investments. MBA will be part of Ambienta SGR's Ambienta I fund. The company says it plans build Ambienta I into a portfolio of about 15 investments, with the average investment size ranging from €10 to €30 million. The company expects 80% of the investments to be made in Europe, with the remaining 20% in the rest of the world. Thus far it has invested in five other companies, all Italian, representing biomass, pollution control, and renewable energy. 

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