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Gloucestershire Business News

Versarien remains optimistic after reporting loss

Versarien chief executive Neill Ricketts expressed "optimism and confidence" despite reporting a £4.7million pre-tax loss.

The Cheltenham-based advanced materials engineering group, who last week launched a graphene enhanced face mask, saw group revenue for the year to March 31 fall to £8.3million (down from £9.1million the previous year).

Since the period covered by the figures, the firm has been awarded a £5million loan facility from Innovate UK for the production of sufficient quantities of graphene to meet market supply.

And earlier this year the company completed a £6million fundraising and share agreement with US investor Lanstead.

Mr Ricketts said: "Recent times have been dominated by the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented on a global basis.

"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 both in its provision of a £5million loan via Innovate UK to allow us the opportunity to scale up and to expand the reach of our graphene operations."

He said plans for global expansion have changed direction slightly with the need for confidence that IP is protected to progress into the Chinese market.

"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," he said.

"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 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."

He continued: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank our continually supportive investor base and our employees for their hard work as we look forward to the future with continued optimism and confidence."

Ongoing collaborations include working with Rolls-Royce and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre on electrical components and four projects with Coats Group, the world's largest manufacturer of sewing thread.

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