Bicester-based Hardide plc, which develops advanced surface coating technology has conditionally raised £2.5 million before expenses in new ordinary shares following significant demand from new and existing investors. The Board said the placing was significantly oversubscribed.
With these new funds the company plans to invest £1.5 million in replacement and additional modern equipment in connection with a move to new premises in Bicester during 2020.
The company says this will enable it to achieve greater operational efficiency and environmental performance. Plans include upgrading the existing three coating reactors to the latest technical specifications along with new pre-treatment and component cleaning equipment and a new development reactor. In addition to the capital investment, the new funds will allow the Company to meet the additional fit-out costs of approximately £350,000 that are associated with the new site. A further £500,000 of additional capital expenditure requirement has been identified by the company in order to enhance the technical, quality control and analytical facilities, as well as for equipment to improve health and safety and additional future proofing of the Martinsville and Bicester sites.
As set out in the Company’s annual results that were announced on 9 December 2019, the move to the new facility in Bicester remains on track, and will result in improvements to capacity, capability and environmental performance.
A major factor in the decision to buy new equipment is the need to keep the processing capability for Airbus components at the present UK site during the move to the new Longlands Road site. This is because Airbus approval is specific to equipment and its location. Accordingly, the new site will require its own audit and approval, which is now unlikely to be finalised by Airbus until early 2021. There will be minimal operating costs for the residual operations at the current Wedgwood Road site until then.
The Company has also announced that Hardide’s Finance Director, Peter Davenport, has notified his intention to step down to pursue a career in education. The Board has identified a talented successor and is in the process of finalising contract terms. Peter will remain with the Company as Finance Director until his successor is appointed and for a short period thereafter to ensure a smooth handover. A more detailed announcement outlining the change will be made in due course.