Bio-on, the Italian manufacturer of PHA biopolymers who made headlines in July 2019 when it was accused by U.S. hedge fund Quintessential Capital Management of being a ‘Parmalat in Bologna’, is for sale.
A report published by QCM at the time characterised the company as 'a massive bubble based on flawed technology and fictitious sales thanks to a network of empty shell companies’, causing shares in Bio-on to fall 50% and be suspended from trading. Italian prosecutors then opened a probe over the alleged market manipulation and accounting irregularities at the company. Five months later, on 20 December 2019, the company was declared bankrupt.
Since then, the company has kept operating at minimal capacity, mainly to keep the assets in running order. The number of employees has fallen from around 100 to 28 today.
The court in Bologna, Italy recently announced that the liquidation programmes of the curators Antonio Gaiani and Luca Mandrioli have been approved and that the the company’s assets are to be put up for auction at a public sale on 5 May 2021.
A Virtual Data Room has been opened by the trustees for the purpose of due diligence investigations, to which interested parties will be given access.
The starting price for the assets has been set at just under €95 million and subsequently raised by a minimum bid increment of €100,000. The assets include the plants, brands and patents of the company, as well as a selection of vehicles - among which a Porsche Cayman and a Harley Davidson.
Bio-on founder Marco Astorri is hoping that the assets will be sold as a single package to one buyer, in order to keep the patents and know-how together.
While the names of various potential buyers, including Versalis and Novamont, have recently been circulating, nothing has yet been made public.