Ahlström Capital has signed an agreement to acquire 20 percent of Bast Fiber Technologies Inc. (BFT). The group announces that it is investing in BFT to promote sustainable development, the acquisition fits in with the focus area forest & fiber.
BFT manufactures 100 percent plant-based natural fibers with technical ability and performance, which are suitable for a wide variety of fiber fabrics. BFT uses advanced fiber processing technology to transform raw cotton, hemp and linen fibers into solutions that meet the industry’s exacting nonwoven standards.
“When the fiber fabric industry transitions from plastic, we believe that there will be exponential growth in the natural fiber market. As a responsible investor with a strategic, long-term mindset, we want to invest in companies that focus on solutions that help reinforce sustainable development. With a strong and experienced management team, BFT is well positioned to become a global leader in the production of sustainable bast fibres. We see opportunities for sustainable value creation in the company”, says Lasse HeinonenCEO of Ahlström Capital.
BFT is to begin work on expanding capacity at its US flagship facility in Lumberton and at its European facility near Düsseldorf. This is to create the world’s largest specialist company for processing and cleaning bast fibre. With this financing from Ahlström Capital, BFT will have the opportunity to increase production to over 10,000 tons of sero™ hemp fiber in 2023 and up to 50,000 tons in 2026.
“Fabric companies, converters and leading consumer goods companies are looking to find alternatives in natural fibers to meet their sustainability goals as they transition away from synthetic materials,” says Jim Posa, CEO of BFT. “The market for natural fibers is on the threshold of rapid growth. This very strategic funding will help BFT establish its position and further accelerate its expansion to meet the demand for fibers that are neither plastic nor wood.” , continues Posa.
“Ahlström Capital has an excellent reputation as an actor that invests in cleantech companies with sustainable solutions,” says Noel Hall, chairman of the board of BFT. “For us, it is important to work with an investor who shares our values and our vision of moving from synthetic materials to solutions based on fiber fabric. Ahlström Capital has several complementary portfolio companies in the fiber fabric and sustainable fiber industry, which means that the company is a natural investor that creates added value for BFT. We are pleased to be able to welcome Ahlström Capital’s investment director Andreas Ahlström to BFT’s board,” says Hall.