Versarien looking forward to making significant further commercial progress in 2021

Versarien Plc (LON:VRS), the advanced engineering materials group, has announced its interim results for the six months ended 30 September 2020, a period in which the Company continued to progress its graphene commercialisation strategy.

Financial Highlights

·   Group revenues reduced to £3.12 million (H1 2019: £4.38 million), reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on the Group’s more mature businesses

·    Graphene and graphene product sales of £0.35 million (H1 2019: £0.07 million)

·    Adjusted LBITDA* of £1.13 million (H1 2019: £0.57 million**)

·    Reported loss before tax of £4.34 million (H1 2019: £2.14 million)

·    Cash of £2.50 million at 30 September 2020 (31 March 2020: £1.66 million)

·    Cash received in the period from Lanstead Sharing Agreement of £0.93 million and from Innovate UK of £1.96 million

*Adjusted LBITDA (Loss Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) excludes exceptional items, share-based payment charges and other gains/losses)

** The comparative has been restated in accordance with the adoption of IFRS 16 “Leases”

Operational Highlights

·    Successful launch of graphene enhanced protective face masks utilising PolygreneTM, Versarien’s graphene enhanced polymer

·    Awarded £5 million Innovate UK loan with first tranche of £1.96 million received for the Company’s GSCALE project

·    Project commenced with Rolls Royce and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre to understand and create technological advances in the aerospace sector utilising CVD graphene and other 2D materials

·    Commencement of project with the Advanced Propulsion Centre for reduction of vehicle emissions

·    Formation of the Versarien Graphene Advisory Panel (“VGAP”)

·    Board strengthened by the appointment of James Stewart as the Company’s new independent Non-executive Chairman

GSCALE Highlights

·    G – Trials ongoing to achieve capacity greater than 10 tonnes of graphene powder per annum

·    S – Working with partners to develop rail carriage door side panels; phase 3 tests underway with aerospace partners

·    C – GraphinksTM in concrete has demonstrated an almost 40% improvement to the compressive strength and 25% increased resistivity

·    A – Infrastructure bridging solutions in course of development using knowledge gained from rail arch

·    L – GrapheneWearTM   base layers produced and in course of distribution for wearer trials

·    E – Graphene in tyres shows a 30% increase in tyre rubber stiffness without degrading wear resistance

Post Period Highlights

·    Independent report by Ankara University confirming that Versarien’s graphene materials significantly inhibit viral infection and possess anti-viral activity towards SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

·    Second generation graphene enhanced face mask prototype test results show a 99.92% anti-viral activity rate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus

·    Awarded a £1.95 million development agreement by the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory, a part of the Ministry of Defence

·    Acquisition of CVD graphene assets and IP from Hanwha Aerospace Company Limited, South Korea, supported by the second Lanstead subscription and Sharing Agreement

·    Award of EU Grant of €357,000 to Gnanomat for scale-up and development of electrode materials

·    Appointment of Steve Hodge to the Company’s Board as Chief Technology Officer

Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented:

“Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am pleased with the level at which Versarien has continued to operate and particularly with the progress achieved within the graphene businesses where we have commenced the sale of our graphene enhanced face masks, as well as making further progress with a number of our collaborative projects.

“Following the launch of our face masks, we are excited that testing carried out by Ankara University has demonstrated that our hybrid graphene nanomaterials have the potential to provide protection from COVID-19 in real-world applications, including clothing and surface treatments. Prototypes for the second generation face masks have also been tested against SARS-CoV-2 and demonstrated a 99.92% resistance to the virus.

“With the acquisition of the CVD assets and IP from Hanwha Aerospace, South Korea, we now have a broad portfolio of graphene products and technologies that can service the addressable market available to us, particularly in Asia, and we intend to fully capitalise on these and other opportunities, such as our GSCALE collaborations, in the year ahead.

“In addition, we were delighted to announce the formation of the VGAP, which, thanks to the calibre of its members will play a key role in advancing our strategy to commercialise the many opportunities and applications we have. The panel will provide a platform for the debate and advancement of our graphene technology and its application both for the present and the future.

“We continue to be greatly appreciative of the support the UK Government has shown Versarien and its subsidiaries and, as such, we are proud to have provided essential supplies for the NHS and UK infrastructure at this crucial time. The employees in our businesses have been both flexible and supportive during these difficult times and it is their dedication which continues to facilitate our progress.

“Test results from the GSCALE projects have been extremely encouraging with highlights including almost 40% improvement in compressive strength in concrete and a 30% increase in tyre rubber stiffness without degrading wear resistance.

“We remain both determined and confident in meeting our objective of being the leading global graphene technology business and we look forward to making significant further commercial progress in 2021.”

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