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February 2002

A new plastics substitute.

A cornstarch polymer to replace plastic in some applications has been developed after more than six years of research by the Co-operative Research Centre for International Food Manufacture and Packaging Science and scientists from the University of Queensland, Melbourne's Swinburne University and the CSIRO.

It is a biodegradable product, made from cornstarch, has the appearance and feel of plastic and is capable of colouring, cutting and moulding. Wet, the  product dissolves and enzymes break it down into its original ingredients, carbon dioxide and water. Unlike previously developed plastic alternatives, the new cornstarch product could be produced as cheaply as plastic. 

Plantic Technologies Limited, the company with the commercial rights to the new product, hopes to begin production within five months with negotiations with the Queensland and Victorian governments for a site for the new factory. 

About A$10 million has already been spent developing the product and Plantic is now seeking a further A$6 million to begin production. 

Plantic was close to signing contracts with two multinational food companies that produced some of Australia's best-known brands. All the ingredients were approved for human consumption but the product does not have a pleasant taste but could be used for example in pet food where the dog eats the food and then eats the bowl its served in.

 

November 2001

Asia Pacific Specialty Chemicals Ltd to become a subsidiary of Symex Holdings Ltd. (November 2001)

Brothers Frank and Valentino De Fazio, of De Fazio Chemicals, and third shareholder and director designate Sergio Tribuzio, held a 33 per cent stake in Asia Pacific Specialty Chemicals (APSC) announced a merger with Symex Holdings Ltd.

Their position began with APS when they overturned the board at an extraordinary meeting on June 29, 2001 instigated because of its “poor performance and the board's lack of vision”.APSC chief executive Frank De Fazio said that while generating recent revenues of around $200 million, the company had been unable to deliver profits and returns to shareholders. De Fazio will join the Symex board following the completion of the merger.

Symex chairman Alan Stockdale said "the merger is the first move by the company since listing to invest in complementary businesses whose growth potential will be realised from the injection of Symex's proven management expertise and manufacturing capacity," Under the scheme of arrangement, APSC shareholders would be offered a payment 55 cents per share represented by a fully franked dividend of 25 cents and 30 cents cash, valuing APSC at $37 million.

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