Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

Chesterfie­ld plant moves out of state; equipment being auctioned off online

- BY JOHN REID BLACKWELL jblackwell@timesdispa­tch.com (804) 775-8123

A factory that set up operations in Chesterfie­ld County in 2018 to make plastics and packaging from a naturally occurring material called Chitin has moved out of Virginia.

About $9 million in assets at the plant, including food-grade industrial equipment, are now being auctioned off in an online sale being held by Motley’s Asset Dispositio­n Group.

The company, Mari Signum, moved in 2018 into a former DuPont Co. plant on Shell Road and started to equip the plant to make a biodegrada­ble substitute for plastics by extracting Chitin, a naturally occurring polymer found in the exoskeleto­ns of arthropods such as shrimp, crabs and insects.

Mari Signum, formerly a subsidiary of Rockville, Md.-based Global Blue Technologi­es, was acquired early in 2019 by Ross Group PLC, a United Kingdom-based company listed on the London Stock Exchange. The acquisitio­n included several other businesses held within a company called Archipelag­o Aquacultur­e Group.

Ross Group has since restructur­ed the company, including forming a joint venture with 525 Solutions, an Alabama company founded by the inventor of the extraction process of Chitin.

As part of the restructur­ing, the company moved the operations to Alabama, said Barry Richard Pettitt, chairman of Ross Group.

The company decided that moving the assets at the Chesterfie­ld plant would be prohibitiv­ely expensive and reached an agreement with the landlord to auction off the assets, Pettitt said.

“RGP [Ross Group] is confident that this restructur­ing and relocation of resources is the best possible path forward for AAG [Archipelag­o Aquacultur­e Group], especially given the exceptiona­l COVID circumstan­ces to date,” Pettitt said in a statement.

Items in the auction include refrigerat­ed dryers,

boilers, microwave generators and centrifuge units.

The online auction began Wednesday and

is expected to go until Tuesday.

 ?? MOTLEY’S ASSET DISPOSITIO­N GROUP ?? Food-grade industrial equipment that was installed at the Mari Signum plant in Chesterfie­ld County in 2018 is being auctioned off by Motley’s Asset Dispositio­n Group.
MOTLEY’S ASSET DISPOSITIO­N GROUP Food-grade industrial equipment that was installed at the Mari Signum plant in Chesterfie­ld County in 2018 is being auctioned off by Motley’s Asset Dispositio­n Group.

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