Eco-friendly material maker TBM gets investment from SK Group

05, Jul. 2021

Nobuyoshi Yamasaki (R), CEO of TBM Co., attends an online ceremony about a capital tie-up between TBM and SK Group. (Photo courtesy of TBM Co.)
Nobuyoshi Yamasaki (R), CEO of TBM Co., attends an online ceremony about a capital tie-up between TBM and SK Group. (Photo courtesy of TBM Co.)

SEOUL, NNA - TBM Co., a Japanese maker of environmentally conscious materials, has forged an agreement on capital participation from South Korean conglomerate SK Group.

SK Group will take a 10 percent stake in TBM to engage in the development and sale of the startup's LIMEX recyclable materials through the 13.5 billion yen ($123 million) deal struck through SK Japan Investment Inc., the group's local investment unit.

TBM was founded in 2011 and is known for its signature technologies on LIMEX, a sustainable material derived from limestone that could be an alternative to plastic and paper.

LIMEX can be used for a wide range of products including name cards, calendars, clear folders and food containers, and is easily recycled. TBM says it has been used by more than 6,000 companies and municipal governments in Japan.

TBM also agreed with SKC, a chemical material company of SK Group, to form a joint venture to develop more competitive and cost-effective biodegradable LIMEX products with a mixture of TBM's technologies with SKC's biodegradable material.

Generally, cost issues remain the key obstacles of marketability of conventional eco-friendly biodegradable plastics.

TBM and SK Group hope the latest agreement, the first investment deal for Tokyo-based SK Japan Investment, will help explore overseas sales channels on the strength of SK Group's global networks.

TBM, in particular, looks to take advantage of SK Group's rapid business expansion outside South Korea, including Southeast Asia, in promoting its products globally.

"We are aiming to develop a low carbon and circular economy through our LIMEX business and become the world's top player in the field of sustainability," Nobuyoshi Yamasaki, CEO of TBM, said. (NNA/Kyodo)