September 11, 2007 / 11:32 AM / 11 years ago

Mel Gibson-backed firm Green Rubber eyes London IPO

SINGAPORE, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Green Rubber Global, a tyre-recycling firm part-owned by Hollywood actor Mel Gibson, said on Tuesday it plans to list on London’s junior Alternative Investment (AIM) market within the next six months.

The UK-based company, in which Malaysia’s Petra Group owns more than 80 percent, has appointed UK investment bank Ambrian Partners to manage the initial public offering (IPO), Petra Chief Executive Vinod Sekhar told a media briefing in Singapore.

He said Green Rubber — whose main asset is a technology to turn old tyres into a rubber compound — is likely to be valued at more than 130 million pounds ($263 million) but shareholders have yet to decide on how many shares to sell.

Its shareholders also include actor Bruce Willis and the family of Forbes magazine publisher Steve Forbes.

Gibson will help publicise the IPO as he did by attending the launch event in Singapore, which attracted more than 40 reporters, photographers and TV cameramen in a country where local media is grouped under two state-controlled monopolies.

Green Rubber has the rights to a technological process called De-Link — invented by Sekhar’s late father — that can “devulcanise” old tyres and convert them into reusable rubber.

Vulcanisation is the process used to toughen rubber while retaining its springy quality.

The company said it is entering into a joint venture with U.S. rubber product manufacturer Apache Mills to make and sell rubber compound from recycled waste tyres, and is also in the process of setting up a factory in the U.S. state of New Mexico.

Sekhar said the new technology would not threaten Malaysia’s rubber industry due to fast-growing demand for the commodity.

“In less than a decade, the world will not be able to produce enough rubber to meet China’s demand,” he said.

He also said the technology was environmentally friendly as it would reuse some of the 1 billion old tyres that were either incinerated or dumped in landfills each year.

Gibson is best known for his roles in “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon”, and Sekhar was listed by Forbes Magazine as Malaysia’s 16th richest man with assets of $350 million in June this year.

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