India, July 27, 2022: Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management firm financing high-growth opportunities at the nexus of climate-tech and plastics, recycling and the circular economy, today announced a follow-on investment in current portfolio company, Lucro Plastecycle Private Limited (Lucro). The additional capital is expected to allow the company to triple its capacity in order to meet the growing demand for its products.
Created in partnership with leading global corporations including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Chanel, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC and Mondēlez International, Circulate Capital has committed to investing half of its US$112 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF I) into India, and today has the largest portfolio dedicated to fighting plastic pollution and advancing the circular economy in the country. The fund’s activities are complemented by the US$53 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund I-B (CCOF I-B), which acts as a companion venture and private equity fund to CCOF I.
A homegrown Indian company, Lucro specializes in recycling difficult-to-manage post-consumer flexible plastic packaging and converting it into granules and high-value end products. The company’s trademark Plast-E-Cycle™ process sets new standards for the industry and helps to close the loop in plastic usage. It buys back and recycles end-of-life flexible plastic and films, which are then washed and converted into granules sold to converters or made into end products such as shrink wraps, polybags and other primary, secondary and tertiary packaging for various industrial applications. Rapidly evolving into an innovative material sciences company, Lucro is as of today the first and only Indian company able to make customized single compounded granules and end products from this waste.
Since Circulate Capital’s initial investment in March 2020, Lucro has made strides towards advancing the circular economy in India, increasing its capacity to process waste by more than tenfold with the opening of eight new collection centres across the country. The company is also working with municipalities on ground to collect post-consumer waste from direct sources, alongside waste pickers, helping to improve supply while enabling the informal sector to earn more.
Additional funding from Circulate Capital will enable Lucro to triple its capacity, with the company projecting that it will recycle more than 315,000 tonnes of flexibles and rigid plastic waste by 2031 and expand employment and contract opportunities to over 1,000 individuals.
Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO, Circulate Capital said, “We are proud of Lucro’s amazing growth over the past two years. They have demonstrated tremendous resilience through the pandemic and their success proves that the creation of financial and environmental value can go hand in hand. We are excited to support them as they expand their world-class operations to meet the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions.”
“Circulate Capital’s additional investment is a strong endorsement that we are delivering on our vision of closing the loop on plastic packaging and becoming a leader in advanced recycled materials to support the global shift towards circularity. Their ongoing support will enable us to strengthen our capacity to meet the growing demand for post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging and accelerate our impact across India’s waste management and recycling industry” said Ujwal Desai, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Lucro.
Over the past two years, Lucro has also cemented its position as a leading innovator in India’s recycling industry, implementing waste traceability software, “SATMA CE” (www.satmace.com), to bring transparency into the supply chain and increasing the market demand for new post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging products through long-term agreements with top international brand names. In February 2021, Lucro and Circulate Capital’s founding investor, Dow, entered a memorandum of understanding to co-develop a PCR polyethylene film solution. This partnership embodies Circulate Capital’s vision of being a value-added investor by bringing the power of relationships to support product development and market access.