In a significant development for the sustainable fashion sector, Swedish investment firm Altor has acquired the remaining assets of the bankrupt textile-to-textile recycling company Renewcell. The acquisition includes the company’s intellectual property and the production site in Sundsvall, Sweden, marking a new chapter for the pioneering recycler now rebranded as Circulose.

Renewcell, renowned for winning the Best Sustainable Textile Innovation at Drapers Sustainable Fashion Awards in 2023, faced financial difficulties earlier this year. The company filed for bankruptcy at the Stockholm District Court in February after failing to secure sufficient financing. Last month, its production site in Kristinehamn, Sweden, was acquired by the biomaterial company Biosorbe.

Under Altor's ownership, Circulose is set to thrive with new investments aimed at expanding its global presence. Although the financial specifics of the deal remain undisclosed, the move is expected to inject the necessary resources to bolster Circulose’s innovative recycling technology. Circulose produces textile pulp from end-of-life garments and textile waste containing natural fibres, a revolutionary product in the drive towards a circular economy in the textile industry.

Magnus Lundmark, CEO of Circulose, expressed optimism about the new ownership. “Together, we will continue to drive positive change, leveraging Altor's expertise and resources to enhance our capabilities and secure a confident future for Circulose and the broader textile community,” he said to Drapers.

Clara Zverina, Principal at Altor, underscored the importance of this acquisition. “We don’t shy away from a challenge, and this one is worth taking, both for the uniqueness of the patented technology and the urgency of scaling circular solutions for the entire textile and fashion industry, particularly to replace virgin cotton and MMCF [man-made cellulosic fibres],” she stated. Zverina also highlighted Altor's commitment to collaborating with key stakeholders to unlock the full potential of Circulose.

The acquisition has been well-received by prominent fashion retailers Mango and Zalando. Andres Fernandez, Mango’s Head of Sustainability and Sourcing, commented: “Mango has a goal to incorporate circular design into all of our collections by 2030. We are so excited that Renewcell’s, now Circulose’s, low-carbon circular product is staying online. We look forward to continuing our collaboration to bring quality, next-gen fashion to the market.”

Pascal Brun, Zalando’s VP of Sustainability and Diversity and Inclusion, echoed this sentiment: “Congratulations to the new owners of Circulose. We are committed to producing fashion in a sustainable way, and we are proud to be part of the collective effort to bring circular materials to the fashion marketplace.”

With Altor’s investment, Circulose is poised to further its mission of revolutionising the textile industry through sustainable practices. The rebranding marks a new era for the company, promising advancements that could significantly impact the global fashion industry's move towards sustainability. The commitment from major industry players like Mango and Zalando reinforces the strategic importance of Circulose’s innovative approach to textile recycling, ensuring its pivotal role in the future of fashion.

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