Brazilian forestry company Fibria, the world's leading producer of eucalyptus pulp from planted forests, has partnered with Spinnova to further develop the Finnish startup's sustainable technologies for making cellulosic fibres.

As part of the collaboration, Fibria has signed an agreement to acquire a minority interest in Spinnova and partner in the development, production and marketing of new materials using its technologies. The Brazilian company will pay EUR5m (US$5.7m) for 18% of Spinnova's capital, and will have the right to appoint one member to Spinnova's board of directors.

Spinnova develops low-cost and environmentally sustainable technologies for making fabrics, using wood fibres to produce filaments and yarns that can replace cotton, viscose and other raw materials in both woven and non-woven applications.

"The partnership strengthens Fibria's positioning for the development of new high-value products that go beyond the commodity concept and complement our global leadership in eucalyptus pulp production," says Fibria CEO Marcelo Castelli. "The acquisition of an interest in Spinnova strengthens our portfolio of investments in companies with the capacity to offer solutions for problems related to climate change and the low-carbon economy."

With an annual pulp production capacity of 5.3m tonnes, Fibria strives to meet - in a sustainable manner - the growing global demand for forestry products and exports its pulp to more than 40 countries.

Meanwhile, the agreement also features a joint investment in the development of a pilot production line for testing the feasibility of Spinnova's technologies and production on a pre-commercial scale. If the project reaches the commercial phase, the two companies could create a joint venture for producing and marketing products.

"The new partnership with Fibria will help Spinnova grow our business faster and significantly enhance our global competitiveness," adds Spinnova CEO and founder Janne Poranen. "We value highly this win-win partnership with a lot of strategic level synergies and a shared vision. We have been impressed with Fibria's ability to work with a small technology company when actively looking for new business opportunities."