Versalis and Yulex partner to produce guayule-based biorubber for consumer, medical and industrial applications

 Versalis and Yulex partner to produce guayule-based biorubber for consumer,
                     medical and industrial applications

PR Newswire

MILAN and PHOENIX, Jan. 28, 2013

MILAN and PHOENIX, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Versalis, a global leader in
elastomers and a subsidiary of Eni, and Yulex Corporation, an
agricultural-based biomaterials company, announced today they are forming a
strategic partnership to manufacture guayule-based biorubber materials and
will launch an industrial production complex in Southern Europe.

The partnership will cover the entire manufacturing chain from crop science to
biorubber extraction to the construction of a biomass power station. Versalis
will manufacture materials for various applications: after an initial focus on
consumer and medical specialty markets, the target is to optimize the process
to reach the tire industry.

The partnership will leverage Yulex's core competencies including crop science
and biorubber extraction technologies, to boost Versalis' bio-based portfolio.
The investment will include an ambitious research project to develop
technologies targeting the tire industry.

Guayule (Parthenium argentatum) is a renewable, non-food crop that requires
little water usage, no pesticides and it is an alternative source of natural
rubber because of its latex allergy friendly properties, unlike Hevea rubber.

Versalis, with its market leading position in the elastomer industry, plans to
expand its leading-edge technologies in the synthetic rubber business by
including guayule rubber as a supplementary business opportunity and an
increased commercial offering.

"The partnership with Yulex is strategic to Versalis, considering concerns
over the forecasted scarcity in the butadiene market and volatility of this
chemical, which in turn causes long term pressure on the price of products
like synthetic rubber," said Daniele Ferrari, chief executive officer of
Versalis. "Partnering with Yulex represents our commitment and momentum
towards entering the global market as a major green chemistry player. All of
our green chemistry partnerships aim to enhance Versalis' bio-based portfolio
and will feed oil-based production chains with high-performance intermediates
from renewable feedstocks, in particular in the elastomers business."

"Versalis is an ideal global partner for Yulex, as they are a leading supplier
of elastomers and have the ability to rapidly scale and commercialize
processes," said Jeff Martin, chief executive officer, president and
co-founder of Yulex Corporation. "Together, through our shared vision of
expanding green chemistry,we can accelerate the positive impact that
guayule-based biorubber high-value products have on the environment, human
health and sustainable global growth."

About Versalis
Versalis, rebranded from the former Polimeri Europa, is the largest Italian
chemical company and a subsidiary of Eni. Versalis leads the market today in
a host of chemical products by offering one of the widest portfolios. It has
been acknowledged as the 2nd largest producer of elastomers in Europe and
ranks among the leading ones worldwide. The company also holds market
stewardship in manufacturing a host of basic chemicals, polyethylene,
styrenics and elastomers for every application requirement. It has recently
been refocusing its strategies on a more market-oriented product portfolio,
reinforcing R&D and Licensing, and enhancing global presence. The elastomers
business is central to the upgrading and optimization plan which also includes
expanding portfolio through bio-based chemicals. With a 2012 production to
sales of 6,1 million tons, Versalis operates at an international level and
is heavily involved in the renewable chemicals industry with Matrica (a 50:50
joint venture with Novamont, a leader in biodegradable plastics and pioneer in
third generation integrated biorefineries) through which a biorefinery at
Porto Torres, Sardinia, Italy is being built and ready for production by end
of 2013. Versalis is pursuing transatlantic elastomers joint ventures in Asia
with Petronas and Honam. The company pursues such a mission leveraging on its
proprietary technologies.

About Yulex Corporation
Yulex Corporation has developed a portfolio of biomaterials derived from the
U.S.guayule plant. The company's innovative materials are designed to replace
traditional tropical or petroleum based rubber for consumer, industrial and
medical markets, with the residual agricultural materials utilized as a
feedstock for bioenergy. Yulex closely collaborates with customers to develop
and market highly differentiated, premium performance products in an
ecologically responsible, sustainable manner. For more information, visit

Company Contacts:

Eni Press Office: Tel. +39.0252031875 – +39.0659822030
Freephone for shareholders (from Italy): 800940924
Freephone for shareholders (from abroad): +39.800 11 22 34 56
Switchboard: +39-0659821

Web site:

Yulex Press Office Tel. +1 858.344.4419

Web site:

SOURCE Yulex Corporation

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