Polish tire recycler raises €15 million to increase recovered carbon black production
Contec S.A., a company specializing in producing sustainable raw materials by upcycling end-of-life tires, has successfully secured a total of €15 million in funding this year. Pruszyński – one of the largest Polish manufacturers of steel roofing and facades – has contributed an additional €5 million to the funds already provided by VINCI and the Warsaw Equity Group. These two entities had initially invested €10 million in Contec back in March 2023.
The investment will be used to triple the capacity of Contec's current facility in Szczecin, Poland, and to position the company for the construction of several new commercial plants across Europe.
Moving towards an end-of-life tire circular economy
Each year, over 1 billion end-of-life tires (ELTs) are discarded worldwide, often ending up in landfills or incinerated. Improper disposal of ELTs leads to environmental issues such as land and air pollution. However, with the adoption of a circular economy, ELTs can now be given a second life.
ELTs are a prime example of a valuable resource that can be transformed into high-quality feedstock for reuse in a circular manner. Virtually all major tire producers have set targets to incorporate at least 30 percent of sustainable materials in the production of new tires by 2030.
"Contec's circular products significantly reduce the carbon footprint by more than five times compared to traditional fossil fuel-based raw materials. That's why there is a great deal of interest in Recovered Carbon Black for the tire, manufactured rubber goods, plastics, and pigment industries," says Krzysztof Wróblewski, CEO of Contec.
Three large investors
An investment of €15 million has been secured from three prominent investors: VINCI, Blachy Pruszyński, and Warsaw Equity Group.
The €15 million investment will be used to expand the capacity of Contec's plant in Szczecin, Poland, almost threefold. Following the completion of the expansion project, the Contec plant will have a nominal capacity to process 33,000 tons of end-of-life tires per year. Contec says that this will bolster its production capacity for its circular products like recovered carbon black and tire pyrolysis oil.
The demand for circular products has far surpassed the existing production capacity of the Szczecin plant. The raised capital will help Contec to meet this growing demand by expanding production. The expansion of the Szczecin plant is already in progress, with additional production lines set to commence operations in the first half of 2024. Contec is also looking for more locations to construct several new commercial plants across Europe.
At a total of €15 million, Contec says that this investment is one of the largest in the clean tech sector across Europe in 2023. The Net Zero Future50 report, produced jointly by PwC and Wolves Summit, highlights the promising trajectory of clean tech investment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), including Poland.
The CEE region has experienced a remarkable compound annual growth rate of around 57 percent between 2013 and 2020. During this period, more than 170 start-ups from the region secured a total of $1.7 billion in funding. Of this investment activity, Poland, Europe's sixth-largest economy, ranked fifth in terms of investment volume. These statistics underline the growing importance and potential of clean tech investment in the region and demonstrate a positive trend toward sustainable and environmentally friendly initiatives.
- VINCI (a subsidiary of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego), led the round with €8 million.
- Blachy Pruszyński contributed €5 million.
- Warsaw Equity Group, an existing investor and majority shareholder, participated with €2 million.