Versarien PLC (LON:VRS) Chief Executive Officer Neill Ricketts caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their interim results, main factors for growth, progress of their collaborations and what we can expect in 2019.
Q1: Congratulations on a strong set of results, can you talk us through the highlights?
A1: So, obviously we’re very happy as a company with the results we’ve put out today. Group revenues were up by 19% to £5.22 million which is up on the £4.38 million from the first half of last year and we’ve also reduced the losses by about 16% to £0.36 million.
This means that in terms of the cash that’s available, £6 million is more than ample for us to continue to rev the business very frugally which is what we’ve done whilst also delivering huge amounts of progress which is evident in the other announcements we made today.
Q2: As you say, group revenues increased by 19%, what were the main factors driving the growth and how will you going to continue driving that growth going forward?
A2: Growth comes from predominantly from our operating companies and we were able to show strong growth in that regard. Obviously, we’re making huge amounts of progress with our graphene-related businesses and we announced today that we’ve received the second order in a couple of weeks, first one for aerospace a few weeks ago and then this one today. So, as that starts to ramp up and we start to see some of these collaborations come to fruition then that should grow the revenue line as well.
We’re obviously always keen to look at acquisitions both from a technical point of view as we did with Gnanomat but also in terms of strengthening our revenue and getting to market with some of these graphene-related businesses.
Q3: Just talking about collaborations, I think Versarien have 17 collaboration agreements signed, how are these relationships progressing and what are they adding to your operations?
A3: So, it’s very interesting that actually it’s 17 that we’ve actually let the market know about where we believe them to be significant. The collaborations in some instances enable us to talk to much larger companies, if they’re one of the small companies, so it’s about being able to develop technology in a more rapid timescale.
So, say for instance, if you look at our collaboration a few years ago with Kristan Bromley of Bromley Technologies around developing what turned out to be a medal-winning skeleton bob then that enabled us to develop a technology around 3D printing which has actually been mentioned in the AECOM release this morning. Again, the carbon fibre that developed in that bobsleigh almost 2 years when we entered into that collaboration was also the same technology that we’ve used in the aerospace application that mentioned roughly just over a week ago.
So, what we tend to find is that we develop the technology using companies that are able to move more rapidly and then use those as demonstrators for slightly larger companies.
Q4: There’s been a lot happening going on post period, can you talk us through what’s been happening there?
A4: In the period, we announced 9 collaborations, since then we’ve seen some more collaborations and we’ve seen that we’ve gone through this process of moving from enquiry to NDA, NDA to collaboration, collaboration to order and testing. So, we’ve seen more going on in that regard.
We also saw the acquisition of Gnanomat which is energy specialist based out in Spain which is an exceptional good deal, we’ve seen some certification movement. Obviously, the 3 MoU’s in China, our guys are working very very hard out there and that is continuing at a pace.
The thing is with for example, China Railway announcement we made earlier this week, it’s in multiple different verticals, it’s in multiple different applications and therefore, that’s really good in terms of being able to develop new technologies moving forward.
Q5: We’re almost at the end of 2018, what can we expect from Versarien for 2019?
A5: We’re going through this process, as I said, and what we’re seeing is customers not only becoming more interested because we’re able to demonstrate products and test results, we’re seeing more and more companies wanting to become involved with us. The whole thing is moving at a much quicker pace
So, in terms of being the largest shareholder, I’m extremely pleased with the progress the business had made over this year and 2019 has the margins of being one which will be busier. So, I’m pretty sure the team are looking forward to a productive and challenging year next year.
Versarien PLC (LON:VRS), an engineering materials company, provides engineering solutions for various industry sectors in the United Kingdom and rest of Europe, North America, and internationally.