An Ottawa enzyme maker well known for its development work on cellulosic ethanol from straw and other ag wastes wants to see what it's worth in the open market.
Iogen Corp. announced Tuesday its board of directors has started the process to "explore strategic alternatives for enhancing shareholder value and funding the deployment of its world-leading renewable energy technology."
Companies that announce such a process aren't usually putting themselves up for sale as such, but want to see whether such a move would be in their shareholders' interest.
Iogen is now a joint venture partner with fuel company Shell in Iogen Energy, which bills itself as "the industry leader in developing commercial technology for making cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residue."
Iogen Corp. thus holds "significant independent rights to commercially exploit" Iogen Energy's cellulosic ethanol technology.
An energy-efficient and commercially cost-effective process to make ethanol from the cellulose of the farm and forestry sectors' inedible plant wastes has been seen by many as the grail of ethanol research.
The ethanol sector now generally relies on corn, wheat and other food and feed crops rich in the necessary sugars and starches for biofuel production, spurring what the sector's critics call the "food versus fuel" debate.
The company "has developed advanced biofuel technology that is ready to be deployed and enjoys a valuable set of commercial development rights for that technolog," Iogen chairman Clive Mather said in a release Tuesday. "Fully exploited, these rights offer a tremendous business opportunity."
Iogen's board thus "feels that it is appropriate to examine all alternatives which will allow the company to realize the potential of this technology and thereby maximize shareholder value."
Apart from its 50 per cent stake in Iogen Energy, Iogen Corp. also owns and operates Iogen Bio-Products, a commercial enzyme business and manufacturing plant with customers worldwide.
Iogen has investment management firm Goldman Sachs on retainer as its "exclusive financial advisor" while it undergoes the review process, the company said Tuesday.