Versarien pivots from prioritising China and looks to new markets for growth

Versarien

It’s been a challenging year for Versarien, the Cheltenham-headquartered advanced engineering materials group.

The company has seen a drop in revenues to £8.3 million, down from £9.1 million the previous year and a loss before tax of £4.7 million (2019: £2.8 million).

Neill Ricketts, Chief Executive Officer of Versarien, said: “Recent times have been dominated by the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic have presented on a global basis.  However, I am pleased to report Versarien has continued to operate throughout and achieved much during lockdown. 

“I am particularly grateful for the support of the UK Government in its provision of a £5 million loan via Innovate UK to allow us the opportunity to scale up and to expand the reach of our graphene operations.

“Our global expansion plans have changed direction slightly as we have decided that progressing into the Chinese market, whilst significant commercially, must be done on the basis that we are confident that our IP is protected. We have exciting opportunities elsewhere, and the change of emphasis in China is not precluding commercial deals being done; the supply of graphene in masks manufactured in China being the first example utilising our graphene technology.

 “Monetisation of our technologies is now the focus of the Company’s attention, although we will continue our stated strategy of acquiring additional IP should suitable opportunities arise.  With a strengthened balance sheet following the Lanstead placing and the Innovate UK loan, coupled with a particular focus on those collaborative projects that are expected to deliver commercially in the near term, we are very well positioned to execute this strategy.

Highlights for Versarien over the year include a commercial partnership agreement with the Company’s textile sector collaboration partner, MAS Innovation (Private) Limited, to develop new garments using Versarien’s graphene ink materials and being awarded €350,000 grant to participate in the Graphene Flagship project, led by Airbus  to develop graphene based thermo-electric ice protection systems to prevent icing on aircraft surfaces.

The company has also entered into a partnership with Rolls Royce and the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre using chemical vapour deposition  in wiring for next generation aerospace engine systems and received a grant of £104,000 from the Advanced Propulsion Centre for the development of  low-carbon technologies to significantly reduce vehicle emissions.