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Mercer Launches Performance Biofilaments with Resolute to Commercialize Cellulose Filaments

Published on 2014-06-24. Author : SpecialChem

NEW YORK, NY -- Mercer International Inc. ("Mercer" or "the Company") has announced the launch of a new joint venture company called Performance BioFilaments Inc. ("Performance BioFilaments") established to commercialize an innovative biomaterial derived from wood fiber called cellulose filaments. The joint venture will be equally owned with Resolute Forest Products Inc. ("Resolute"), one of the leaders in the forest products businesses.

Cellulose filaments are derived from wood pulp which has been processed using innovative technology licensed from FPInnovations Inc. ("FPInnovations"), one of the world's leading forest products research organizations. The cellulose filament's exceptional strength and high aspect ratio make it a unique cellulose-based biomaterial. We believe it has the potential to make a wide array of consumer and industrial products stronger, lighter, more flexible and more durable, while leveraging a sustainable and renewable resource with a low carbon footprint.

"Commercializing cellulose filaments represents a compelling business opportunity developed through our focus on collaborative innovation and takes one of our initiatives to the next level," said Jimmy S.H. Lee, President and Chairman of Mercer. "We are excited to be working jointly with Resolute, which allows us to leverage our respective global research knowledge and resources to implement the commercialization process for this high potential material."

Performance BioFilaments will seek joint development partners from a range of industries – from automotive and manufacturing, to construction and high-end consumer products – to develop new commercial product applications for cellulose filaments. While we are optimistic about the potential for commercialization of this product, we recognize that, as with the development of all novel product applications, the process can be lengthy and without assurances.

Performance BioFilaments will build upon the significant investment made by FP Innovations in technology development and production through its current C$43.1 million cellulose filaments project. All of the know-how gained from their project, as well as commercial development quantities of cellulose filaments, will be available to Performance BioFilaments for its commercialization efforts.

About Performance Biofilaments Inc.

Performance BioFilaments Inc., a joint venture between Mercer International Inc. and Resolute Forest Products Inc., is focused on the development of commercial applications for cellulose filaments, one of the world's most exciting new biomaterials. Cellulose filaments can be used to enhance the performance characteristics of a wide variety of products. Derived from wood fiber – a renewable and natural resource – cellulose filaments optimize the strength, stability, flexibility and longevity of a variety of materials including composites, coatings and consumer products.

About Mercer International Inc.

Mercer International Inc. is one of the world's largest producers of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft ("NBSK") market pulp and has become a leader among forest products companies in embracing the bio-economy and maximizing value derived from residual forest resources. Mercer has three modern, large-scale pulp mills located in Germany (Rosenthal and Stendal), as well as BC, Canada (Celgar). The Company's total NBSK pulp production capacity is 1.54 million tons per year.

The mills utilize all parts of the wood they process to create not only pulp, but also valuable by-products. These by-products often provide renewable alternatives to traditionally petrochemical-based materials. For example, Mercer's mills have a combined green energy generation capacity of 305 MW. All of the mills are net exporters of energy, meaning they produce more energy than they consume. Biochemicals have become an increasingly important by-product of Mercer's pulping process, as well.

About Resolute Forest Products Inc.

Resolute Forest Products Inc. is one of the global leaders in the forest products industries with a diverse range of products, including newsprint, specialty papers, market pulp and wood products. Resolute owns or operates nearly 40 pulp and paper mills and wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea, and power generation assets in Canada. The shares of Resolute trade under the stock symbol RFP on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Source: Mercer International Inc.

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