Ecochlor Inc. announced that it had recently completed a $4.1 million equity financing to support its growth into the burgeoning ballast water treatment market.
Investors participating in the financing included Sojitz Marine & Engineering Corporation, the shipping subsidiary of the Japanese trading company, Sojitz Corporation, and a number of individual investors.
Sojitz invested $1.8 million. As part of the financing, Sojitz became the exclusive distributor for Ecochlor’s products in Japan and Taiwan and a non-exclusive distributor in China and South Korea.
“We are pleased to have the support of Sojitz, both as an investor and as a distribution Partner,” said Charlie Miller, Ecochlor’s CEO. “With the strength of the Sojitz sales and marketing network in Asia, we are better able to take full advantage of opportunities in the emerging ballast water treatment market in that region. Coupled with recent international regulatory approvals, we are well positioned to help shipping companies around the world meet new environmental standards, and protect the oceans and waterways.”
Large, ocean-going vessels have long used seawater in their ballast tanks to stabilize cargoes. As ships fill their ballast tanks with water in one region of the world and discharge it in another, invasive plants and animals can be released into new ecosystems with disastrous effect. To address this issue, the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) adopted certain standards in 2004 which would require ships throughout the world to eliminate invasive species in their ballast water. The long process of ratification of these standards now appears to be reaching an end. When this occurs, approximately 60,000 vessels will be required to install ballast water treatment systems. Some estimates place the size of the market at over $30 billion over the next 10 years.