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  • 17 Dec 2023 11:51 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    New Zealand-owned and operated global digital trading platform for agricultural products, Nui Markets is pleased to announce the successful acquisition of PrimeXConnect, an Australian sales and order management software company currently operating in the red meat industry.

    Nui Markets has been revolutionising how the world trades agricultural products since 2016, operating digital platforms in New Zealand, Europe, North America and Brazil, delivering buyers, sellers, and traders visibility of real-time data for up-to-the-minute price discovery in specific market categories. To date, over $NZD 1.4 billion of products has been traded on a Nui platform across 75 countries.

    Nui Markets Co-Founder and CEO Kevin O’Sullivan says the acquisition of PrimeXConnect, activated by a recent capital raise, is an integral part of the company’s growth strategy. By combining Nui’s strong roots in dairy with the PrimeXConnect product, they aim to create a stronger and more comprehensive offering to the agricultural sector.

    “Nui has the ability to bring many buyers and sellers together in one place, either one-to-many across our private Enterprise platforms or many-to-many on our open Marketplaces. Now, with the purchase of PrimeXConnect, we have the capability in direct one-to-one sales and logistics, enabling us to reach further down the supply chain for new and existing customers in retail and food service.”

    PrimeXConnect Co-Founder Michael Chandler says the integration with Nui is logical, with both companies seeking to offer innovative trading strategies with increased efficiencies and price transparency across market-specific categories in the agricultural sector.

    “I am proud of how we have grown PrimeXConnect over the past five years, and I am excited for our company to join Nui and bring our innovative tech to a much broader trading environment. Our work so far complements Nui’s strategic partnership approach with the companies it works with and will be a valuable addition to the digital platform’s product suite.”

    On completion of the acquisition, Nui Markets will transition all PrimeXConnect business operations and employees into its company structure. The two company founders, Michael Chandler and Jean-Claude Abouchar, will report to the Nui senior management team. PrimeXConnect is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and employees will remain there. A new sales role based in the U.S. has also been established to introduce the product.

    Existing PrimeXConnect customer ANZCO will continue to use the sales and order management software as usual in the immediate term. Moving forward, Nui Markets plans to integrate and further develop the offering under its umbrella of products and services.

  • 10 Dec 2023 9:41 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    United Airlines will become the first US carrier to fly into the South Island with the arrival today of UA730 from San Francisco to Christchurch.

    United is now the only airline to offer direct flights between the South Island and the US and it is the first to offer direct San Francisco services. Air New Zealand was the last airline to link Christchurch to the US, with services to Los Angeles ending the 2002.

    The new United direct route is three times a week using a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner during summer although it will use the larger 9-series of the the plane for the first flight. To commemorate the inaugural flight, the aircraft has been adorned with a symbolic silver fern.

    It is scheduled to touch down at 10.35am although Flightradar24 shows it running up to 40 minutes early.

    Christchurch Airport has said that based on government data, the seasonal service is forecast to bring in $44 million in visitor spending for New Zealand, with $32 million of that in South Island regions.

    The inaugural aircraft has been christened with the name ‘Kiwi Cruiser’, featuring the fern, signifying a ‘‘defining moment’' in aviation history, and the strengthening of United Airlines’ relationship with New Zealand.

    The United Airlines service is part of a big push by US airlines into New Zealand over the summer, with Delta Air Lines entering the market into Auckland for the first time and American Airlines returning with an expanded service.

    Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of global network planning and alliances, said he had wanted to see the Christchurch route for a long time.

    ‘‘I had the opportunity to backpack in New Zealand earlier in my life and it’s such a special destination that offers travellers an experience unlike anywhere else in the world,” Quayle said.

    Christchurch Airport chief executive Justin Watson said the service will supercharge tourism in the region.

    ‘‘The American travel market is buoyant, with Americans travelling widely again and we know they want to experience what the South Island offers. In addition, the service brings much-needed air freight capacity for South Island producers and enables South Islanders direct access to the US and beyond.”

    Because of United’s partnership with Air New Zealand, customers can easily connect from Christchurch to 19 other destinations across New Zealand.

    By the end of 2023, United will operate 66 flights between the US and the South Pacific region each week.

    With nearly 50 per cent growth over the past year, the airline says it is the largest expansion to the region in US aviation history.

    The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner has 28 Polaris business class, 21 Premium Plus, 36 Economy Plus and 158 Economy seats.

    The airline also flies into Auckland.

    United is the world’s biggest airline by available seat kilometres.

    Air New Zealand chief transformation and alliances officer Mike Williams said the new direct Christchurch to San Francisco service is an expansion of the already strong alliance partnership between the airlines.

    “This new route is great news for customers, who now have even more connection options between New Zealand and the US.’'

    UA731 will depart Christchurch on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 2.15pm and UA730 will depart San Francisco on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays at 11.30pm.


    By Grant Bradley

  • 07 Dec 2023 2:37 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    On Friday, November 24, a distinguished assembly of 1,000 esteemed professionals from the hotel industry convened for the 21st HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence.

    The 2023 awards, held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney, acknowledge and celebrate exemplary properties and individuals from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, recognizing outstanding achievements across people, departments, properties and chains.

    Franz Mascarenhas, Managing Director of Cordis Auckland, was bestowed with the esteemed Ashley Spencer Service to the Industry Award.

    As a long-serving senior hotel executive in New Zealand, Franz has been a dedicated and passionate advocate of the hotel industry for more than 35 years.

    During this time he has held senior leadership positions across three global hotel companies - ITT Sheraton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels Corporation and the Langham Hospitality Group.

    For the last decade, Franz has been the Managing Director of Cordis Auckland where he is highly regarded as a strong, intuitive leader who brings a great sense of composure to everything he does.

    It is often said that the calibre of the competition is a good indication of the true value of an award. In this instance, Franz has competed with the best across Australasia for many years, setting an exceptional benchmark and consistently enabling his team to deliver the standards now expected by their valued customers.

    Further to this for Cordis Auckland, Sarwan Singh, Director of Sales, won the award for Top Sales Associate NZ/South Pacific – a testament to the work that he has done for years, delivering value and genuine heartfelt service to a growing number of appreciative key clients.

    Martin Dunlop, another long-serving member of the team, took out the award for Top Concierge NZ/South Pacific. In an important role, Martin is a familiar face for Cordis Auckland’s guests.

    Cordis Auckland was also Highly Commended in the categories for Best Australasian Hotel and NZ Luxury Hotel.


    Martin Dunlop, another long-serving member of the team, took out the award for Top Concierge NZ/South Pacific. In an important role, Martin is a familiar face for Cordis Auckland’s guests.

    Cordis Auckland was also Highly Commended in the categories for Best Australasian Hotel and NZ Luxury Hotel.

  • 26 Nov 2023 3:49 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    With rich landscapes, a multi-layered cultural heritage, and untouched wilderness, New Zealand has captured the imagination of some of the world’s most creative minds. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® is embarking on a journey to this iconic destination with Robertson Lodges, a distinguished collection of three resorts, each offering a unique and luxurious escape. As of December 1, 2023, Rosewood Kauri Cliffs, Rosewood Cape Kidnappers and Rosewood Matakauri will join the Rosewood portfolio. Capturing New Zealand’s unique geography, the three properties provide for the ultimate journey across the North and South Island, together offering access to its expansive coastline, rolling hills, soaring mountains and more.

    The latest milestone of Rosewood’s intentional and ongoing growth strategy, these additions mark Rosewood's entry into the Oceania region. They also underscore Rosewood’s commitment to championing storied properties in some of the most remarkable destinations around the world. Founded by philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson in 2001, the three resorts have garnered a reputation as some of New Zealand’s top accommodations providing bespoke and warm hospitality set against stunning backdrops. Under Rosewood’s management, the quintessential spirit of each property and the collection at large will live on, reinforced by the brand’s intuitive approach to service and experiential programming.

    “New Zealand's inspiring natural beauty and warm hospitality have truly captivated us, and we are thrilled to embark on this remarkable journey with Robertson Lodges" said Sonia Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “It is with great respect and admiration that we seek to honor the Robertson family’s original vision by further elevating the guest experience offered at each resort with Rosewood’s singular approach to ultra-luxury hospitality.”

    Staying true to Rosewood’s guiding A Sense of Place® philosophy, New Zealand’s authentic and unique spirit will inform every element of the refreshed guest experience, inviting both legacy and first time visitors to revel in surreal settings. With great respect for the heritage of the properties and the foundation that the Robertson family has built, Rosewood will carefully preserve and sustain the friendly service style and care for native culture that have defined these destinations over the decades.

    Three Dynamic Destinations

    Set against a pristine shoreline with all-encompassing views of the Pacific Ocean, Rosewood Kauri Cliffs sits within a 6,000-acre coastal estate near the Bay of Islands. This region, known as Northland, is most frequented by travelers eager to explore the coastline and better understand the land’s history. Known as the “birthplace of a nation” for its historical significance as the signing place of New Zealand's founding document, Northland offers visitors the chance to experience the influences that have forged the destination’s culture today. A quintessential expression of iconic New Zealand motifs, the resort’s grounds provide access to three private beaches, a sheep and cattle farms, a peaceful native forest and Kauri Cliffs championship 18-hole golf course.

    Home to 26 rooms and suites, Rosewood Kauri Cliffs encourages exploration with destination activities including fishing, swimming, golf, heritage tours, sailing the Bay of Islands, and miles of walking trails. The resort is complete with a well-appointed dining outlet, fitness center and spa. The vastness of the local geography comes to life at this elegant seaside escape, inviting guests to embrace their sense of awe throughout their entire journey.

    Rosewood Cape Kidnappers is located in Hawke’s Bay on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, a region most known for its wineries, thriving food scene, and the Art Deco architecture of the nearby city of Napier. Perched atop the rolling hills and rugged cliffs of this fertile countryside, the property is set  against expansive views where the ocean meets the horizon. While the region’s vineyards are world-renowned, the property itself is a haven for golfers and nature lovers with a golf course designed by Tom Doak, and is home to the largest privately funded wildlife restoration project in New Zealand, the Cape Sanctuary.

    With a footprint of only 24 rooms and suites, this intimate hideaway invites guests to surrender to a slower and simpler pace of living. The property is known for its destination experiences such as farm tours, nature walks, and golfing, all of which immerse guests in the area’s peaceful and picturesque surroundings. Additional on-site amenities include one dining outpost and spa treatment rooms with a tranquil infinity pool.

    “My family and I are delighted to partner with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to continue the personal style of hotel management our parents put in place when they opened The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs over twenty years ago. Rosewood’s origin story also began with an individual family’s dream and an unwavering passion for hospitality. These are values they held on to while growing into one of the world’s most impressive hotel groups” said Jay Robertson. “This new chapter is an exciting one as we continue to share the quintessential New Zealand experience that Robertson Lodge guests love so much.”

    Moving inland, Rosewood Matakauri is located in Queenstown on the lower South Island of New Zealand. An adventurer’s dream, Queenstown offers a full spectrum of experiences year-round including snow sports in the winter, and hiking, wine touring, and art experiences throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Lauded as an alpine lakeside retreat, Rosewood Matakauri is surrounded by what are considered to be Queenstown’s big three peaks—The Remarkables, Cecil, and Walter Peak. The resort celebrates these striking mountainscapes and the natural elements of the land through understated yet luxurious design and architecture.

    With 13 accommodations and one dining outlet, the resort has a familial and intimate feel, allowing for attentive service that invites guests to build close connections with the associates and each other. Made complete with spa treatment rooms, wellness facilities, and outdoor pool, Rosewood Matakauri affords every indulgence.

    Rosewood’s entrance into this highly captivating area of the Pacific is the latest demonstration of the brand’s commitment to expanding the horizons of luxury travel. Channeling a differentiated approach to service that has contributed to the collection’s notoriety around the world, Rosewood is poised to bring a new level of luxury hospitality to this destination, that already exists in the imaginations of so many affluential explorers.

    For more information, please visit

  • 05 Nov 2023 3:55 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    MHM Automation is pleased to announce it has entered into a Scheme Implementation Agreement.

    We have officially entered into an agreement to be acquired by Bettcher Industries, a leading US-based company renowned for its innovative equipment in the food processing industry.

    Bettcher Industries has rapidly expanded its global presence through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. The strategic alignment between MHM and Bettcher is exceptional, and this partnership promises to usher in a new era of growth and opportunity for both organisations.

    This exciting development will equip MHM with the essential capital, resources, and enhanced market presence needed to continue our journey of innovation, excellence, and customer satisfaction. We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the quality of service and products you have come to expect from MHM, while exploring new possibilities that will benefit all our stakeholders.

    Our focus on providing exceptional products and services remains unwavering. This strategic alliance with Bettcher Industries will only strengthen our ability to serve your needs and exceed your expectations.

    To gain more insights and context about this significant step in our journey, please read the official announcement on our website in the link below.

    MHM Automation Enters Into Scheme Implementation Agreement

  • 19 Oct 2023 10:08 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    AFT Pharmaceuticals (NZX: AFT, ASX: AFP) today announces it has been notified overnight that the US FDA has approved Maxigesic IV®, the intravenous form of its patented pain relief medicine, for sale in the US, which represents AFT’s second FDA approval within one year.

    The medicine is now positioned to go on sale either at the tail end of FY’24 or early in FY’25, an event that will trigger a milestone payment of US$6 million to AFT from the US licensee of the medicine Hikma Pharmaceuticals. AFT is entitled to 65% of this under its profit share arrangements with Hyloris. AFT also qualifies for a US$2.9 million reimbursement of regulatory fees paid to the FDA for Maxigesic IV that it expects to receive in the current financial year.

    If the commercial milestone for the launch of Maxigesic IV is triggered within this financial year (FY’24) then this license income will be in addition to the current $22-24m guidance.

    AFT Co-Founder and Managing Director Dr Hartley Atkinson says: “We are delighted with the FDA approval of this prescription medicine. We are also proud of the achievement, which is the second approval in one year.

    “The US analgesic market is the world’s largest, worth US$6.83 billion in 2023, and is forecast to grow by an estimated 4.89% a year until 2028 . We now have two medicines that can begin to take a share of this market – Maxigesic IV and Maxigesic Rapid®, the rapid dissolving tablet prescription form of the medicine that was approved by the FDA in March 2023.

    “The FDA approval of Maxigesic Rapid was the first time the US food and medicine regulator had given the green light for sale of a New Zealand-developed patented medicine based on clinical trial data.,” Dr Atkinson said.

    “It is a real credit to the determination, commitment, and capability of the AFT team and our research and development partner, Belgium’s Hyloris Pharmaceuticals. We thank them all for their efforts.”

    Maxigesic IV is a novel, unique combination, intravenous formulation for the treatment of post-operative pain that aims to provide an effective alternative to opioid pain relief medicines, offering a significant alternative therapeutic option. Maxigesic Rapid offers similar benefits, which AFT is still working through the best way to approach the US market for this dose form of the medicine.

    In the United States chronic opioid usage in patients following surgery averaging around 9%, which is a concern . Drug overdoses involving opioids meanwhile resulted in over 80,000 deaths in the US in 2021 . Patients who experienced an opioid overdose accounted for nearly US$2 billion in annual hospital costs .

    Maxigesic was invented by Dr Atkinson and was first introduced in New Zealand in 2009 in tablet form. The medicine has since been licensed in more than 100 countries worldwide and is sold in a variety of dose forms in 62 countries.

  • 17 Oct 2023 11:50 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Says agreements must be future-proofed to allow greater ambition

    Washington, D.C., October 16, 2023 – Today, the American Association of the Indo-Pacific (AAIP) released a report at the beginning of what may be the final round of IPEF negotiations in Kuala Lumpur. This report and the negotiations come at a pivotal time, as the IPEF grapples with challenges on multiple fronts—skepticism among members, the evolving nature of U.S. domestic politics, and the continued quest for tangible economic benefits.

    Jackson Cox, AAIP Interim CEO, commented, "While we welcome the IPEF, there are several key areas of doubt among IPEF members that must be acknowledged and constructively addressed. These pertain to the very essence of the agreement, the uncertainty generated by U.S. domestic politics, and the aspirations for direct economic gains.

    “But it's important to highlight that the current U.S. administration has fortified its commitment to the IPEF. This is a nuanced but significant shift in policy and a point of optimism."

    "While the IPEF may not explicitly offer market access," Cox added, "our analysis shows that even modest trade facilitation measures can bring substantial economic benefits. Streamlined customs procedures and electronic document exchanges, for instance, have significantly reduced time and costs for exporters in other contexts."

    Cox acknowledged that the key requirements for the IPEF to be considered a great success by private sector organizations like AAIP might not be met. These include commitments to address market access, broader trade liberalization, and chapters on digital trade, technical barriers, health, and intellectual property.

    "However," Cox concluded, "it is critical that we can build on what is in the final agreement going into the future. The agreement must be future-proofed to adapt to evolving economic landscapes and be receptive to stakeholder input. AAIP looks forward to being an engaged and constructive stakeholder during IPEF’s implementation period."

    Click here to see their report 
  • 08 Oct 2023 2:38 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Rocket Lab USA, Inc, a global leader in launch and space systems, has acquired SailGP Technologies’ world-class manufacturing complex in Warkworth, New Zealand – bolstering the company’s New Zealand business and retaining more than 90% of SailGP Technologies New Zealand based staff. SailGP Technologies is relocating its operations to the UK to more effectively support the growing league.

    SailGP Technologies has been a close partner and supplier to Rocket Lab, providing selected advanced composite materials and components for the Electron rocket. From this week, Rocket Lab – who pioneered the use of carbon composites in space by developing the world’s first carbon composite orbital rocket – will lease SailGP Technologies’ 70,000 square foot development and manufacturing complex in Warkworth.

    More than 50 SailGP Technologies New Zealand based team members will remain at the facility and join the Rocket Lab team, supporting a growing production rate for the Electron rocket and the rapid development of Neutron, Rocket Lab’s new 13,000 kg payload class rocket. As part of the transition, Rocket Lab will retain the facilities’ advanced manufacturing equipment including an autoclave, ovens, composite material cutting plotters, CNC metal machining equipment, and large-scale CNC composite machining equipment to support accelerated R&D and production.

    Founded in 2001 as Core Builders Composites (CBC), the Warkworth facility has in recent years become heavily focussed on building and maintaining the cutting-edge F50 catamarans used in SailGP’s global racing league – one of the world’s fastest growing sport leagues – which accounts for around 80% of its work.

    With 85% of SailGP events being staged in the northern hemisphere – growing from five to thirteen events since its inaugural season, the league will relocate its manufacturing facility to Southampton near SailGP’s global headquarters in London, England. SailGP Technologies will transition its operations to the South Coast of England from November this year, with the aim of being fully operational by April 2024.

    Rocket Lab CEO and Founder Peter Beck said: “We’ve had the privilege of working with the SailGP Technologies team for a number of years now supporting advanced carbon composite manufacturing for Electron.

    "They’re an absolutely world-class team and we’re excited to welcome them into the Rocket Lab fold. The transition from sea to skies ensures we keep advanced composites talent and expertise in New Zealand, supporting the ongoing growth of the nation’s thriving aerospace industry. We wish SailGP all the very best as they embark on an exciting new chapter in the UK and will be cheering the sport on as it continues to grow globally.”

    SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts said: “As we continue a steep growth trajectory in markets around the world, we are looking forward to moving our technology and innovation arm closer to our global headquarters, events, teams, and world-class racing, most of which are located in the northern hemisphere.

    “The knowledge and commitment of our Warkworth team has been vital to the success of SailGP. With experience honed across more than two decades, they’re among the best in the business and we’re delighted that their skills, expertise and experience can remain in New Zealand for many years to come. We know the team at Rocket Lab will benefit from their skills and the staff are all really excited to be joining Rocket Lab for what promises to be an incredible future ahead.”

    The news follows the implementation of a new regional structure in Asia Pacific to enhance the league’s commercial program in New Zealand, Australia and other Asian markets.

    This includes the recent appointment of Chae Blewitt as Head of Commercial, APAC. Blewitt – who will be responsible for driving the growth of partnerships across the region – brings with him extensive marketing and business growth experience from working across Spark Sport, Reel Factory, and Warner Bros. Discovery (then Mediaworks) and other properties. After delivering what many regarded as one of SailGP’s best events, the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix in Christchurch earlier this year, Karl Budge stepped down as APAC Commercial Director at the end of September to pursue other opportunities.

    SailGP will continue to maintain a strong presence in New Zealand, including the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, which alternates between Auckland and Christchurch as part of a four-season partnership with New Zealand Major Events and the respective host cities, as well as the New Zealand SailGP Team, led by co-CEOs Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.


  • 06 Oct 2023 3:12 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Cropsy Technologies, the New Zealand-based agritech startup, is proud to announce the successful completion of its second funding round, raising an impressive $1.7 million in an extended and over-subscribed capital raise. This achievement marks a significant milestone for the company and positions it for global expansion, thanks to the backing of prominent U.S. investor Seraph Group.

    The trailblazing company is poised to reshape the future of fruit growing with its ground-breaking crop monitoring technology. Their cutting-edge solution combines automated, continuous, and GPS-tracked high-definition image capture with AI-enabled software.

    Each Cropsy scanner analyses over 30,000 vines per day in real-time, integrating with growers existing tractors to seamlessly profile critical aspects of a vineyard – leaves, shoots, fruits, canes, and trunks – with no extra labour. Sunlight, shadows, and reflections are no match for Cropsy’s scanner, ensuring accurate details like colours and textures are preserved, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.

    Cropsy’s transformative technology is currently crafted specifically for vineyards, providing a multitude of benefits with no additional effort from the grower; localising disease presence in its earliest stages, tracking missing and dead vines, analysing pruning status, counting buds, inflorescences, and bunches for yield estimation – all on a per-vine level, tracking each plant down to the centimetre. The focus on global enterprise winegrowers means the team has a deep understanding of problems and challenges at scale, keeping them ahead of the competition.
    Cropsy's capital raise not only received continued support from existing investors such as Angel Investors Marlborough, NZGCP, Icehouse Ventures, and K1W1 but also attracted its first U.S. investor, Seraph Group – a milestone for the company.

    Seraph Group, founded in 2003 in San Francisco and Atlanta, is an American venture capital firm known for its unique network of 370+ accomplished investors who support entrepreneurs. Seraph Group’s Founder and CEO, Tuff Yen, expressed his enthusiasm for Cropsy, stating, “they apply their technology to enhance the bottom line for growers in viticulture using machine vision and intelligent software, leading the way to a new era of improved productivity while reducing costs. We invested because this is the way of the future, and the founding team exhibits the commitment to see this through.”

    The round was so successful that it extended beyond its original oversubscription limit, from $1.5 million to $1.7 million, to accommodate the interests of new investors, even amid global capital market uncertainties.

    Lead investor, Tracy Atkin, of Angel Investors Marlborough says it has been an extremely tough year for start-ups raising in a post-pandemic and recessionary environment. “For Cropsy to not only reach their target but exceed it is a testament to their team and technology. It is a fantastic achievement and one I was proud to support as lead investor for their second round on behalf of Angel Investors Marlborough.”

    “2023 has shaped up to be a momentous year for us,” says CEO Ali Alomari. “We’ve reached our first international customers in the U.S. and France, and the support of Seraph Group aligns perfectly with our attention on the U.S. as a key market.” Earlier in 2022, Ali mentioned that Cropsy’s internal milestone is to scan 10 million vines by the end of 2023. “We’ve passed 6 million new vines right now, and at this rate, we’ll reach our target of 10 million new vines by the end of this year.”

    With 30 scanners deployed, and more in the pipeline, Cropsy is set on a clear path forward. COO Leila Deljkovic emphasised the company’s focus is all on expanding geographies and scaling the technology. New Zealand is a character-building place to grow deep tech companies like Cropsy. “We’re extremely efficient simply because of where we’re based. It’s a distinct advantage.”

    Founded by four young engineers fresh out of university in 2019, Ali (26), Leila (26), Rory (26), Winston (24), Cropsy Technologies has grown to ten full-time staff and is actively recruiting brilliant talent who thrive on solving challenging problems in hardware, big data, AI, and computer vision with a multi-disciplinary engineering team.

    “Working at Cropsy has provided some of the most challenging yet interesting problems I have gotten to work on. Being on the bleeding edge of technology allows us to push the envelope, and keep our skills top-notch,” says Cropsy’s senior software engineer Cedric Bournville.

  • 06 Oct 2023 2:59 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Commercialisation of biographite planned in Europe and the US as CarbonScape announces USD18m investment.

    New Zealand-based battery material innovator CarbonScape to commercialise production of biographite in Europe and the US, enabling cleaner lithium-ion batteries for EVs and grid-scale energy storage.

    • Biographite, produced from forestry and timber industry by-products, is a sustainable alternative for battery supply chains currently dependent on petroleum-based or mined graphite. 

    • Biographite, produced locally, provides security of supply for European and US based battery manufacturers in the face of increasing supply chain instability, while also on-shoring production of a critical material to meet rapidly growing demand.

    • Investment round led by Stora Enso Oyj, joined by Amperex Technology Ltd (ATL) and other partners, bringing expertise from all sides of the supply chain to accelerate growth and speed to market.

    19 September, London, CarbonScape, the first-to-market producer of biographite - a carbon-negative alternative to the critical material for lithium-ion batteries - today announces new investment of USD 18m led by Stora Enso, and joined by ATL and other strategic partners. The investment will support the commercialisation of biographite, and further plans to establish production in Europe and the US.

    Biographite will provide a much-needed alternative for EV and grid-scale battery supply chains, by sustainably creating a critical raw material that currently depends on costly and high-emission production processes. CarbonScape’s patented process is the result of seven years of development and testing and uses timber and forestry industry by-products, such as wood chips. It is a sustainable alternative to synthetic (petroleum based) and natural (mined) graphite, the raw material which fills the largest portion of a lithium-ion battery. The result is a cleaner, competitive and more secure raw material for the global market. 

    Graphite deficit threatens global battery market growth 

    Graphite makes up to 50 per cent of the weight of a lithium-ion battery and, as a result, is an essential element in the shift to clean energy and transport, with over half of global demand for graphite now coming from the battery sector. Graphite production is also one of the largest CO2 emitters in the battery raw materials supply chain and represents a significant proportion of the cost of a battery. Adding to the problem, today’s battery supply chains are long and complicated, with petroleum-based and mined materials crossing the globe from source, through processing to battery assembly, to reach end consumers. 

    With countries increasingly competing for raw materials, securing supplies of graphite is key to ramping up production of EVs and renewable energy systems - as reflected in the recent EU Critical Raw Materials Act and US Final Critical Materials List. Recent analysis predicts a global supply deficit of 777,000 tonnes by 2030, with EV sales alone due to more than triple by this date.  

    Ivan Williams, CEO of CarbonScape, said: 

    “CarbonScape’s biographite enables the establishment of localised battery supply chains from the ground up. If we are to truly move away from fossil carbon and power our economies through mass electrification, we urgently need sustainable alternatives like biographite to scale quickly.” 

    “This investment represents a strong statement of support for sustainable sourcing of battery materials for global decarbonisation. With these partnerships, CarbonScape is another step closer to bringing biographite to market on a commercial scale.”

    A carbon negative solution to scale domestic battery production

    Biographite has a carbon negative footprint, saving up to 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions per tonne of material compared to synthetic or mined graphite. Using biographite will enable battery manufacturers to cut the carbon footprint of each battery by almost a third (30 per cent), potentially reducing sector emissions by more than 86 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030.

    To meet the demand for batteries with synthetic graphite would require more than tripling existing production capacity, using fossil fuel feedstocks and high-emission processes. To use mined graphite would require almost 100 new mines, each taking around 10 years or more to come online and costing hundreds of millions of dollars, with enormous social and environmental costs. 

    By contrast, using less than five per cent of the forestry industry by-products generated annually in Europe and North America, CarbonScape’s cleaner, faster process could produce enough biographite to meet half the total global projected graphite demand for EV and grid-scale batteries by 2030.

    Crucially, biographite production can be localised to EV and battery manufacturing hubs, vertically-integrating domestic and regional supply chains. This reduces geopolitical risk as countries compete for minerals and as mineral producers seek a greater share of the value, as seen recently in Chile, which plans to nationalise the lithium industry, and in Indonesia, which has banned exports of nickel ore in an attempt to build domestic industry.

    Commercialising biographite production

    The new investment will support CarbonScape to scale the business and further develop plans for production facilities in Europe and the US. The strategic partnerships with investors Stora Enso, a leading provider of renewable products in biomaterials, packaging, and wooden construction and one of the largest private forest owners in the world; and ATL, a global lithium-ion battery innovator, will bring expertise from all sides of the supply chain, significantly accelerating the company’s growth and biographite’s speed to market. 

    Juuso Konttinen, Senior Vice President, Biomaterials Growth Businesses at Stora Enso, said:

    “Partnering with CarbonScape marks another step on our journey to serve the fast-growing battery market with sustainable, local materials made from trees. With this partnership, we are exploring a sustainable alternative for critical battery materials, creating a positive impact on society.”

    Joe Kit Chu Lam, ATL Executive Vice President, said: 

    “As a premier global innovative technology corporation, our central vision is to contribute to the green energy revolution for the future.”

    “Demand for low cost and low emission solutions is increasing and it is our objective to ensure we remain a leader in the market by adopting innovative solutions. Our partnership with CarbonScape allows us to continue to create the technology of the future and brings us one step closer to a net zero economy.”

    New Zealand-based deep tech biomaterials company CarbonScape began development of biographite in 2016, with an aim to replace fossil carbons with a sustainable alternative. Its pilot facility in Marlborough produces biographite for customer testing and validation, while providing the necessary scale-up data for global commercialisation.

    About Stora Enso

    Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials and wooden construction, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. It believes that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Stora Enso has approximately 21,000 employees and sales in 2022 were EUR 11.7 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy (STEAV, STERV) and Nasdaq Stockholm AB (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY).

    About ATL

    Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) is a global lithium-ion battery producer and innovator. Headquartered in Hong Kong, it provides high quality rechargeable lithium-ion battery cells, packs and system integration solutions, providing services and products across the consumer electronics industry. It is committed to innovating to power our lives. 


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