Frost & Sullivan Award Underscores Novamont's Profile as Product Innovator

Novamont SpA, the world's leading producer of biodegradable polymers, is the recipient of the 2003 Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Innovation. The award recognises Novamont's demonstrated excellence in product and technology innovation within the European engineering plastics and composites industry. "For achieving an impressive level of market dominance and pushing growth in a new, exciting and ecologically sound-market, Novamont's product innovation is deserving of recognition," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst, Dr. Brian Balmer. Novamont has been the primary catalyst in the rising volume demand for biodegradable polymers. As the largest player in this market with an estimated share of 55-60 per cent at the start of 2003, Novamont has been instrumental in driving volume demand growth at an annual average of 30 per cent due to the appeal of its innovative offerings. The company's wide range of Mater-Bi(tm) biodegradable and compostable starch blends have addressed the growing demand for innovative, environmentally friendly products. Mater-Bi(tm)'s numerous applications across agricultural, industrial, waste management, catering, and retail sectors testify, moreover, to its functional versatility. Multiple uses in the packaging industry include loose-fill, thermoformed containers and transparent film. Other applications for Mater-Bi(tm) comprise biodegradable bags for the differentiated collection of waste, disposable cutlery, biodegradable film for agricultural mulching, pet products and hygiene (cotton buds, packaging for toilet paper, nappies). Mater-Bi(tm) is also employed as a bio-filler for tyres, which enhances their performance, contributes to reduce rolling resistance and greenhouse emission. In 2002, Novamont further expanded its product range with the pioneering Mater-Foam - the world's first biodegradable foam. "The significance of Novamont's new foam product is that it is the world's first biodegradable foam to be produced on a commercial scale," comments Dr. Balmer. "It is likely to have strong appeal for consumers who are environmentally conscious and who would pay for plastic packaging that was compostable." Sizeable R&D investments attest to the company' strategic focus on product and technology innovation. Since its inception in 1990, the company has spent over $80 million in R&D activities for its 'Mater-Bi' family of biodegradable plastic materials. It has ploughed a further $15 million into boosting capacity, acquiring patents from Biotec GmbH & Co KG and into developing Mater-Foam over the last two years. "Continued investment in new production capacity and product innovation -Mater-Foam most recently-is testament to Novamont's bullish outlook for the future of the market as well," adds Dr. Balmer. In choosing Novamont SpA as the recipient of this award, Frost & Sullivan analysts considered criteria such as R&D spending, new product launches, products-in-development, as well as new product features and modifications. A combination of primary, secondary, and technology research was used to evaluate market participants on additional criteria such as significance/competitive advantage of new product(s) in the industry, product innovation in terms of unique or revolutionary technology, marketplace acceptance, new product value-added services provided to customers and number of competitors with similar product(s).

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