Applied Graphene Materials Q&A: Positioned really well at the forefront of the graphene industry (LON:AGM)

Applied Graphene Materials plc (LON:AGM) Chief Executive Officer Adrian Potts caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss interim results, strong commercial momentum, and his confidence for the future.

Q1: Now, Applied Graphene Materials announced interim results earlier today for the six months and the 31st of January 2021. Adrian, could you just talk us through the commercial progress that you’ve made over the last six months?

A1: So, we’ve made good progress commercially on customer engagements over the last six months as your point out, that’s despite some setback with our clients that they’ve seen due to the inevitability of the COVID pandemic.

It’s really pleasing to see some of our established customers really starting to gain momentum now with repeat orders for our graphene dispersion products as they’re seeing a growing customer demand for their products and as a result that feeds through to us for our graphene dispersed materials.

This is mainly in the paints and coatings sector so James Briggs has become a more routine customer of AGM now, in support of its aerosol based products for the graphene enhanced primer market which their marketing under the Hycote coat and Halfords retail brands. We’re also doing development work with them to bring about a further product for that space which is an exciting area to expand that partnership and expand their product range.

We’re also really happy to see our coatings customers really starting to use the graphene enhanced products that have been launched to market already in some of the larger scale commercial projects. So, Blocksil, for example, has been applying their topcoat MT product for a while now and with the introduction of a new primer to enhance what they’re doing and expand their product range. That is proving to be a great product proposition for a number of applications for them including RTE antenna, refurbishment, and trackside enclosures for Network Rail in the construction application area. So, as I mentioned, Blocksil have approved a new primer to add to their product range as well.

Then other customers like AllTimes, they’re doing great work in terms of having our products and their products in turn specified by architects and other specifiers in the construction coatings industry. That in turn is starting to yield momentum now so they recently completed a first contract on a Wickes building suppliers commercial building. So, again, great to see that pickup in commercial momentum and then repeat business starting to gather pace.

We’ve seen some growth activity as well, it’s really great to see, in the in the car care sector which we class as a subsector of protective coating, with customers like EZ Car Care and Infinity Wax bringing new products to market which again, creates further traction for us.

Q2: It’s great to see the stronger commercial momentum, what do you think is driving it?

A2: So, it’s kind of repeat business, it’s about engagement and about the quality of what we do and it’s a real testament to the quality of that engagement that the AGM team brings to the table in terms of the end to end success with our customers. As we know, graphene is something of a challenging material to use and we feel we’ve got a great toolbox of technology to be able to offer customers, to enable them to be successful.

Over the years, we have developed market leading IP in terms of dispersion technology for graphene and that knowhow on how to enable customers to achieve successful outcomes. We’re also continuously increasing the depth of the depth and breadth of data that we generate to really act as examples where graphene can be successful.

So, it’s this kind of close collaboration with our customers, working with them, not just with supply of graphene and letting them get on with it, but servicing them with all the data that goes with that and the knowhow and the capability to be able to achieve successful outcomes with our customers.

Other areas along with that as well, of course, is putting together a platform of products which really work on a broader platform and we’ve supported that latterly with the establishment of the global distribution network that we’ve put together. So, this is a group of really well-trained, capable distributors who are able to represent our products well in the market. We now have around 79 representatives who are actively presenting our Genable products to the liquid resonant and coating space.

Lastly, in this area, just what I would call maturity of the industry so things like regulatory approval and the EU REACH accreditation that we announced previously, and we talked to in the in the results. It’s a great Testament to the progress that’s been made, not just with AGM but with the EU REACH Graphene Consortium and also the industry as a whole, it’s really pleasing to see that the industry is moving on. There’s recognition through the REACH organisation under ECHA, that graphene can be regulated and supplied well, and we continue our dialogue to support our distributors with the regulatory authorities in other territories.

Q3: It sounds like you’re feeling really confident for the future?

A3: I am, full of ambition really. Our successful £6 million fundraise that we that we wrapped up in January, that’s extended our cash runway well into 2023, I believe this gives us every opportunity to push forward in developing that solid platform of sales from our unique product offerings.

Our commercial pipeline is looking extremely, extremely robust currently, particularly in the paints and coatings sector, but 80% of everything that we do is in the protective coatings market, including car care. We’re really hopeful, in terms of the quality of engagements that I’ve talked to, earlier that those yield a continuing growth in customer product launches, they in turn will attract volume sales that in turn will deliver dispersion sales for Applied Graphene Materials.

So, I’m really confident that we’ve developed that platform of world-leading expertise that positions us really well at the forefront of graphene industry and the potential associated with that is really large.

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