Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring Ltd has made an equity investment in Montinutra Ltd, a startup converting forest industry side streams into high-value bioactive products. The financing round totals approximately EUR 1 million, and Metsä Spring is participating in the round with current and new private investors.
Montinutra intends to produce valuable ingredients for the cosmetics, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical industries using forest industry side streams as its raw material. Metsä Group has two spruce sawmills in Finland, which may provide sawdust for the production.
The company has several product ideas on the planning table. The company focus is first set clearly on SprucegumTM, an extract obtained from spruce sawdust. Sprucegum™ has potential for personal care, cosmetics and foodstuffs as an emulsifying and stabilising ingredient, for example. In addition, health beneficial Qusitol® obtained from sawdust, too, has shown potential for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).
“During 2021, Montinutra will build a pilot-scale production facility and will continue to develop bioactive products and customer applications. We are aiming to work very closely with few potential customers in commercialising the product applications. We are excited about the opportunity to have Metsä Spring on board as an industrial anchor investor. On top of the investment, Metsä Spring brings access to their skills and capabilities, their partner network and all in all a lot of credibility that will be required in executing our business plan,” says Jukka Mäkelä, Managing Director at Montinutra.
“Spruce extracts have been studied scientifically for decades. We are thrilled to support Montinutra’s efforts, which aim to make commercial successes of spruce extracts and later, other new wood-based products. The link to Metsä Group’s business ecosystem is strong, because our industrial side stream, spruce sawdust, is used as the raw material for making the extracts. The Sprucegum concept is a prime example of the circular economy in the making,” says Katariina Kemppainen, Investment Manager at Metsä Spring and new Board member of Montinutra.
Metsä Spring was established in May 2018 with the aim of strengthening Metsä Group’s business ecosystem in the long run with a versatile range of higher added-value products. Other investments in Metsä Spring’s portfolio include an equity investment in the start-up Woodio Ltd, as well as the projects developing textile fibres and 3D packaging products from wood pulp.