Circularity Capital leads growth capital round in PackBenefit

Circularity Capital LLP has continued to build its portfolio of European growth stage businesses enabling the circular economy by leading a growth capital investment in PackBenefit, a European innovator in high-performance fibre-based food packaging. The investment sees AXA IM Alts co-invest alongside Circularity Capital through the AXA Impact Fund Climate and Biodiversity1. Through this investment, Circularity Capital and AXA IM team up with JZ International, who invested in the company at inception in 2013.

Founded in 2013, PackBenefit is a Spanish designer and manufacturer of recyclable, compostable, FSC certified food trays. The company’s trays, which are based on its proprietary and patented thermoforming-coating production process, provide a compelling proposition for foodservice clients within commercial catering, fresh food and food-to-go end markets.

Following eight years of research and development into new forming and coating techniques, PackBenefit has delivered a suite of wood fibre-based food packaging solutions that can satisfy the technical performance requirements and safety standards of even the most demanding clients. Alongside being ovenproof, microwaveable and suitable for freezing, PackBenefit’s products can be recycled within standard post-consumer paper/card recycling streams and are certified as industrially compostable.

Circularity Capital’s investment will see the growth equity expert play a driving role in supporting the management team, as PackBenefit pursues international expansion with the establishment of a second, upscaled manufacturing facility in a new European territory. Ian Nolan and Andrew Shannon, both partners at Circularity Capital, have joined the board.

Andrew Shannon commented: “This is a very exciting time for PackBenefit. The company’s market-leading, commercially proven solution has allowed it to build a blue-chip client base whose demand vastly outstrips current manufacturing capacity. Growing adoption of PackBenefit’s solutions will help accelerate the transition towards a more circular packaging economy by displacing incumbent, single-use fossil-derived packaging solutions which more often than not end up in landfill or incineration.

“We are excited to be working with the company, in partnership with AXA IM Alts and JZ International, to deliver significant positive environmental impact by demonstrating the viability of thermoformed pulp as a truly scalable, sustainable food packaging solution, capable of the type of technical performance previously thought possible only with plastic.”

Philippe Fèvre, CEO of PackBenefit added: “This investment marks a significant milestone in the development of PackBenefit. The continuous support by JZ International, alongside this new partnership with Circularity Capital and AXA IM Alts, together with the additional funding this brings, will allow us to develop our production footprint in Europe and accelerate the adoption of sustainable food packaging for our ambitious customer base. We are looking forward to working with Circularity Capital as investors, given their unique position and deep insight in the circular economy.”

Jonathan Dean, Head of Impact Investing at AXA IM Alts, added: “Single use plastics are one of the biggest environmental challenges of modern times, with the rate of plastic pollution expected to double unless more sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging are adopted. PackBenefit’s products offer a sustainable and circular solution that directly addresses the environmental challenges posed by the increasing use of single-use plastics. With substantial impact outcomes, it aligns closely with the portfolio of investments we manage on behalf of our clients, composed of businesses offering scalable solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss.”

Ole Groth, Senior Partner at JZ International, concluded: “With this additional investment from Circularity Capital and AXA IM Alts, the business is positioned very well to grow and reflects on the strong foundations that Philippe and the team have developed over the years. We are proud to continue to support the business and look forward to the opening of new production facilities in the near future.”

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