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Q&A with Neill Ricketts CEO at Versarien PLC

Versarien PLC (LON:VRS) Chief Executive Officer Neill Ricketts caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their latest interim results, his transformational San Francisco trip and Versarien’s role in a multi-billion dollar market


Q1: Now, you’ve got interims out this morning, could you talk us through the highlights?

A1: Yes, certainly. Obviously, following the over-subscribed placing last year, we’ve been able to put a bit more fire into our technology spend and that’s resulted in a whole range of new products in almost all of the divisions which I’m pleased to be able to report today in the interims.


Q2: Brilliant. What are the, in your eyes, key milestones achieved in the first half of the period?

A2: Well as you know the main news last year was the purchase of our graphene business out of the University of Manchester, at that stage it was a very early stage business and we’ve been able to report in the last few months that we’ve been able to secure the patent in the US which is unlocked an awful lot of enquiries and interest over there. So gaining that patent has really opened up the graphene field for us.


Q3: Definitely. You talk about your trip to San Francisco Neill, can you give us some colour as to why you were over there and how it helped highlight even more potential for the graphene business?

A3: Certainly, it was actually really good for all of our businesses but especially graphene as you’ve highlighted. Versarien PLC were selected as one of the fourteen most successful scale-ups in Europe and as a result of that we were put on the main stage of the European Innovation Day in San Francisco in front of 600 corporate investors and an interest from people in Silicon Valley. As a result of that, we’ve got some very interesting conversations going on with some very large international companies so for us it was absolutely transformational.


Q4: What are you looking to complete in the next 6 months?

A4: So what we’d like to achieve in the next 6 months is really to accelerate our progress in all of those businesses and keep a good eye on our more conventional businesses. What we want to see is more traction on the graphene, we want to see it being taken out of the laboratory into real applications, start to work with our customers to get these products actually into market and we’re very close to that now.


Q5: You say the graphene industry is due to be worth multi billions of dollars, how do you see Versarien PLC’s role evolving in that market?

A5: Well currently we’ve got a very unique position being right at the centre of the University of Manchester’s development, obviously there’s significant government assistance going on in that area at the moment and we’re right in the middle of it. So my view that 2D-Tech and Versarien at the moment have the opportunity to be a world-leader in this particular type of technology. Over the last 6 months, we’ve been making sure that we are extremely well positioned to be able to really grasp that opportunity.

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