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Former DuPont unit becomes new biomaterials company

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NEWARK – The former biomaterials segment of DuPont has been relaunched as a new company following its acquisition by a diversified Chinese manufacturer.

Covation Biomaterials, a private subsidiary of Huafon Group, was launched Wednesday following the close of the sale from DuPont for about $240 million. The company, which has nearly 200 employees worldwide, will be based at new offices in the Iron Hill Corporate Center in Newark.

Biomaterials was a DuPont segment dedicated to discovering and producing materials made from biologically based, renewable sources. The Delaware corporate titan began exploring the business in May 2019 and reached a deal with Huafon in October 2020.

 Recording net sales of about $200 million last year, the business line had produced three branded products to date and reportedly has a pipeline of “exciting bio-based solutions” that Covation will now bring to market.

The current products include Sorona, a partially bio-based polymer that has been used in apparel and carpeting; Susterra, a 100% plant-based, high-performance glycol used in a variety of industries from footwear and outdoor apparel to industrial coatings and inks; and Zemea, a plant-based and biodegradable material used in personal care, home care, pharmaceuticals, and more.

“We have long admired the work done by this team of biomaterials scientists and developers who are developing industry-leading, sustainable materials available at scale,” said Feifeng You, vice president of the Huafon Group and chairman of the board for Covation, in a statement announcing the new company. “The addition of Covation Biomaterials to the Huafon Group will bring bio-based materials to an even larger global customer base and drive the materials sector toward a sustainable future. We are excited for the bright future of this business.”

Leading the new company as CEO will be a familiar face to former DuPonters: Michael Saltzberg, who was previously global business director at DuPont Biomaterials.

“As a supplier of bio-based materials solutions, we are an important gateway into a more circular economy. Sustainable supply chains must begin with sustainable materials and our science allows our customers to end their overreliance on petroleum,” Saltzberg said in a statement. “By collaborating with forward-thinking value chain partners and brands globally, we will continue to push the boundaries of innovation and sustainability to deliver high-performance biomaterials at scale.”

“We are thrilled to be joining the Huafon Group, a highly successful materials company that is uniquely positioned to expand the reach of our current products and help us accelerate the introduction of new offerings and technologies to the market,” Saltzberg added.

Huafon was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in Ruian, a county-level city along the central coast of China under the administration of nearby Wenzhou City. It is one of the world’s largest producers of polyurethane materials with a variety of other products. Today, it has more than 14,000 employees and owns multiple subsidiary companies globally in chemical, metals, finance, logistics, information technology and trade.

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