Cargill says it has agreed to acquire The Dow Chemical Company's interest in Cargill Dow LLC, the 50/50 joint venture formed in 1997 to commercialise polylactic acid biopolymers.
The company said that because of the existing agreement between the company the terms would not be disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval from the monopolies commission and other regulatory bodies in Europe.
Cargill is the original inventor of polylactic acid (PLA), a polymer derived from natural plant sugars and marketed by the joint venture as NatureWorks PLA and Ingeo fibres.
NatureWorks PLA uses a corn-based material for a broad range of packaging applications used companies seeking plastics made from an annually renewable resource. Likewise Ingeo fibres are used in fiberfill applications including pillows, comforters, mattress pads, blankets and apparel.
Natureworks PLA is billed as a renewable and eco-friendly packaging solution because it uses non-polluting resources, as opposed to the more traditional oil-based products that use man-made chemicals in their production.
The production of the packaging material involves processing natural plant sugars into a proprietary polylactide polymer that can be used to produce a variety of packaging materials used in the food industry, including thermoformed containers and coated papers.
The company says that in the future it is also hoping to extend the use of the material to produce blow moulded bottles.
Currently the business employs 230 people in two sites in the US, one in Minnetonka, Minnesota and the other in Blair, Nebraska.