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Novozymes Welcomes New Competition from DuPont in Biofuels Enzymes

11.01.2011 -

Danish industrial enzymes producer Novozymes said on Monday it welcomed new competition from U.S. chemicals giant DuPont in biofuel enzymes, as this could help establish the fledgling industry.

DuPont said on Sunday it would pay $5.8 billion in cash and assume $500 million in debt to acquire Danish food ingredients and industrial enzymes group Danisco, Novozymes' main rival.

Novozymes and Danisco's Genencor enzymes division have a near duopoly as suppliers of enzymes to the bioethanol industry. Enzymes are used to break down biomass into substances that can be distilled into biofuel to be blended with gasoline.

The industry, and especially the production of advanced second-generation biofuels from non-food crops, is in its infancy but is seen by analysts with big growth potential as the U.S. tries to wean itself off imported fossil fuels.

"I welcome more competition in that field," Peder Holk Nielsen, head of Novozymes' enzymes division, told Reuters. "The more horses pulling on this one right now the better off we will all be because, in the short to mid-term, the task is to establish a whole new industry in the United States. A company like DuPont, with their presence in the U.S., can be a forceful entity in trying to establish that industry ... I do not think DuPont ownership (of Danisco) will change the competitive nature and innovation power of the two enzymes competitors," he said.

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