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Gloucestershire Business News

Losses deepen at advanced engineering firm

A year of "great progress" is how the boss of one of Gloucestershire's advanced engineering firms describes the last year.

And indeed the Cheltenham-based business has been able to deliver plenty of exciting announcements, deals and memorandums of understanding (MOU).

But Versarien, which is a specialist in the potential of graphene, has not been able to deliver profits, with pre-tax losses for the year through to March 2019 rising to £2.8 million from last year's £1.6 million.

Revenue rose from £9.02 million to £9.14 million, with executives at the firm receiving share-based payments in the region of £0.7 million.

"The year to 31 March 2019 has, again, been one of great progress for Versarien particularly in our emerging technologies businesses, globally and in the UK," said Neill Ricketts, chief executive officer of Versarien.

"The graphene businesses have delivered on our strategy of expansion into global markets and progress is being seen in our existing collaborations, as well as new collaborations being entered into."

In China the firm is establishing a "wholly owned foreign enterprise" that will be managed by BIGT on behalf of Versarien, with planned investment from a BIGT managed fund.

"BIGT will focus on both the manufacture and sale of our graphene in China using our patented technology," said Mr Ricketts.

"Opportunities in South Korea, Japan and India are emerging as a result of the support given to us by the UK Government seconded staff and we have established operations in North America, albeit they are at an early stage.

"New graphene production equipment has been installed in the UK and is now up and running at our Cheltenham manufacturing site which will enable us to meet the initial expected demands of our graphene based products.

"Testing of new equipment is underway which, if successful, would expand our production capacity to up to 30 tonnes per annum of high quality graphene.

"Manufacture and sale of graphene at these levels requires certain permissions under EU regulations and I am pleased to report that we have been successful in our registration and are now accredited to produce significant volumes of graphene under the EU rules for chemical production."

Graphene is heralded for its super strong, super conductive characteristics and linked to a wide range of sectors from medical to electronic, from vehicle manufacture to chemical production.

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