Louisiana rubber recycling plant wins state approval for operation; Advantage Capital Partners’ financing expected to spur growth in unique “green” technology

Advantage Capital Partners’ financing expected to spur growth in unique “green” technology  

VIDALIA, La., May 6, 2009 – Louisiana Elastomer has received approval from the state of Louisiana to begin operations at its rubber recycling plant in northeast Louisiana. The company, which provides a unique and cleaner solution to recycling scrap tires, has already begun exporting its product to China, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Germany.  Advantage Capital Partners, and its small business lending unit BizCapital, provided the $6.5 million construction loan for the new facility.
The company’s environmentally friendly technology replaces the current standard disposal practice, producing a value added product that provides a permanent solution to the hazardous waste problem relating to the disposal of scrap rubber and waste tires.  The process allows for more recycled material to be made into new rubber products, such as conveyor belting, industrial rollers and tread rubber for new and re-capped tires.

“We have turned the problem of scrap tires into a solution,” said Mike Wells, President and CEO of Louisiana Elastomer.  “Our product goes directly back into consumer products that are safe and cost effective.” A recent independent study showed that tires made with the company’s unique process have exhibited lower rolling resistance and can offer improved gas mileage.  Wells continued, “It is also important to note that for every 100 tires that are recycled, just over six barrels of oil are saved because of the petroleum products and the energy saved in the process. Our company is having a true environmental impact.”

“This is an exciting business opportunity, and we’re proud to be a part of it,” said Michael Johnson, Advantage Capital managing director. “With unemployment rates in the region historically higher than the national average, Louisiana Elastomer is expected to grow its workforce from 16 to 100, over time. This job creation softens the blow of the current economic slowdown in Concordia Parish.”

The investment in Louisiana Elastomer was made in connection with the Louisiana New Markets Development program, an economic development tool designed to encourage investment in small businesses located in distressed communities throughout the state.
“This is an example of a true public/private partnership,” said Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland. “The state of Louisiana is working to bring investment dollars to all corners of the state. We see the result of jobs, clean technology and international business opportunities all through the growth of Louisiana Elastomer. It’s a good day for Louisiana and especially good for the city of Vidalia.”
About Advantage Capital Partners
Advantage Capital Partners (www.advantagecap.com) is a leading venture capital and small business finance firm focused on early stage companies and other investments supporting state and local economic development efforts. With offices and partners in New Orleans, St. Louis, Austin and other U.S. cities, Advantage has raised more than $1 billion since 1992 and invested in companies located in geographic areas underserved by traditional venture capital.
About the Louisiana New Markets Development program
The Louisiana New Markets Development program encourages investment in small businesses located in distressed communities throughout the state and particularly those communities in the GO Zone still recovering from the devastation of the hurricanes of 2005. The program enables up to $400 million of capital investment in Louisianas small businesses. The state program attracts investment in low-income communities through a state tax credit modeled after the federal New Markets Tax Credit.



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