Cheltenham-based Versarien, the AIM-listed advanced materials group which is working to commercialise graphene, has reported group revenues up by 19 per cent to £5.22 million for the half year ended September 30, 2018.
The company, which now has three factories, in Cheltenham, Banbury and Aylesbury, also raised £5.15 million via Primary Bid in September, which helped it secure the purchase of 62 per cent of Madrid-based Gnanomat S.L, for £2,647,000. Thecompany is capable of using Versarien’s graphene products in an environmentally friendly, scalable production process for energy storage devices that offer high power density, almost instant recharging and very long lifetimes for use in electrical vehicles and portable electronics products.
The offer was hugely over-subscribed, and Versarien chose to take the money in order to be able to look at further acquisitions and technologies. The offer was supported by many private investors who have followed the company from its beginning, and also institutions, according to CEO Neill Ricketts.
Versarien said that, after gaining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification, it has also received its first order for 1kg of its graphene nano platelets for use in fire retardant aircraft interior parts for a major global airline, with further orders anticipated. Neill said: “This is a world first for graphene in aerospace.”
The platelets will be manufactured in Versarien’s Cheltenham facility which is scaling up production to be able to achieve the manufacture of three tonnes per annum.
American infrastructure engineering firm Aecom has also placed its first order for compounded material as part of a very large UK transportation project. Neill refused to be drawn on the project but promised more information at the end of January.
A significant achievement for Versarien over the last monthsis the signing of a number of memorandums of understanding with Chinese organisations, including Tungshu Optoelectronic Technology Ltd, one of the world’s leading suppliers of optoelectronic display materials and Jinan High-tech Financial Investment Co., Ltd to establish a manufacturing centre in the Jinan Innovation Zone, Shandong Province.
Neill said: “Memorandums of understanding, which define the projects we are working on with each partner, are extremely difficult to negotiate in China, and it is a significant challenge for any UK company to do business in China. There are over 300 Chinese companies working on graphene products, so for us to achieve such a strong collaboration shows huge confidence in the quality of our products.”
Graphene is a single-atom-thick material made up of carbon. An extremely diverse material, it can be combined with other elements (including gases and metals) to produce different materials with various superior properties.