Michael Laurier, CEO of Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc, speaks to Stockopedia

Wednesday, Oct 13 2010 by
Michael Laurier CEO of Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc speaks to Stockopedia

Symphony Environmental Tech Plc (LON:SYM) is currently a £17m market capitalisation AIM listed company which specialises in developing and marketing d2w additive to plastic manufacturers and commercial end-users to ensure the biodegradability of plastic in the environment.  The degree and speed of biodegradability can be ‘programmed’ into the plastic manufacturing process. The d2w additive is building brand-recognition worldwide.  The company has also created d2p anti-microbial additive which has many applications, particularly in the healthcare and food industries. Symphony does not manufacture products itself, but has subcontracted the work to specially selected and audited factories around the world - to maximise security and flexibility of supply.

To find out more, we met recently with Michael Laurier, CEO and Founder of Symphony at their new offices in Borehamwood.

Pleasure to meet you, Michael.  Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came into the business?

Yes, I was born and bred in packaging; my grandfather started in 1920 with a natural product called jute - or burlap as some people may know it, and that’s why I’ve got quite a lot of knowledge about how good or how bad are long-life shopping bags made from burlap products.  The business evolved and in my father’s time went into plastics.  In my turn I looked for ways to improve plastic and found degradable technology. So it’s evolved since the 1920s, although Symphony as the company known today was established in 1995.

Can you talk us through the evolution of the company?

Yes, Symphony was set up in 1995 and we floated on the OFEX market in 2000 and on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in November 2001. Since that date, we’ve been investing seriously into degradable plastic technology and also creating the market opportunity for the technology - which we describe as d2w - with a logo that looks like a water droplet. This is now the international symbol that appears on thousands of tonnes of degradable plastic packaging and shows that it’s an eco friendly product.  A good example in the UK might be if you were to go into a newsagent or supermarket and look at the newspapers and magazines, where you’ll find the little d2w logo on the plastic wrap, with an environmental message.  So it’s through this sort of example that…

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Symphony Environmental Technologies plc is engaged in controlled-life plastic and sells both pro-degradant additives and finished plastic products. The Company's business activities include development and supply of environmental plastic products to a global market, and the development of waste to value projects. It also supplies other flexible polythene and related products. It operates through three segments: Plastics Sales, Plastics R&D and Recycling Technologies. The Plastics Sales segment generates and maintains revenues relating to plastic additives, masterbatches and finished products. The Plastics R&D segment includes all new product development and research expenditure. The Recycling Technologies segment includes all activities involved in the development of tire and rubber recycling systems. Its technologies include d2w, an oxo-biodegradable (controlled-life) plastic technology; d2p, a protective plastic technology, and d2t, an anti-counterfeiting performance technology. more »

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4 Comments on this Article show/hide all

BertEEE 14th Oct '10 1 of 4

Great interview thanks :o)

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jmaude 14th Oct '10 2 of 4

Very useful interview-thanks. I am surprised that he did not make more of the anti microbial product as this also sounds very exciting-think of all those hospitals trying to fight MRSA

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loglorry 18th Oct '10 3 of 4

Do any knowlegable people out there know a bit more about their IP protection. ISTM that they are trying to protect what they have using a strong brand. The interview even suggests they are going to go about it using a "secret formulae - coke" type of protection.

Now this jumped out at me as a bit risky especially when also combined with the following. The interview states that it was quite hard to actually manufacture products with their addative so they now work with companies and provide the addative. This suggests that they actually had over the goods and I'd be a bit worried that their formulae could not be reverse engineered from this given enough lab time.

I totally agree that if they can get to Coke status they'll be home and dry but the market cap suggests they are a long way off that and a BASAF for example might just copy the product quite quickly and offer it in their supply chain.

I'm also a bit concerned that they have spent 10 years on it and it hasn't rocketed off. ISTM that this is a bit of a no-brainer to be added to packaging especially if it is as they suggest it is almost zero cost to the packaging companies. Surely a Rexam would have just jumped at the idea if they saw it and they'd be off to the races.

One other worry is that they seem to have a second product which is also extremely exciting. Now I'm a cynical sort of guy and I wonder how much luck/skill can a company have to be involved in two killer products? One might argue that the second is a hedging idea in case they can't get the first to work to keep the investor money coming in.

All that said it does look quite promising and worthy or a bit more investigation.

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Dave Brickell 12th Nov '10 4 of 4

Just FYI, this piece has now been published by Aimzine and can also be read here.

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About Dave Brickell

Dave Brickell

Dave is one of the co-founders of Stockopedia.  Over the last twenty years, hedge funds and the financial institutions at the heart of the City have become increasingly dominated by quantitative analysis, high quality data and computing power. They have learned to invest in ever more optimal ways designed to prey on the weaker hands in the market. Unfortunately, the resources available to individual investors have just not kept pace. We believe strongly in the power of quantitative models & analysis to improve investor decision-making and don't see why their benefits should only be enjoyed by those wealthy enough to invest in hedge funds.  more »

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