Versarien Plc (LON: VRS), the advanced materials engineering group, announced this morning that it is today holding its Annual General Meeting at 11am at the offices of Gloucester Rugby, at Kingsholm Stadium, Kingsholm Road, Kingsholm, Gloucester, GL1 3AX.
At today’s AGM the Company’s Executive Chairman and CEO, Neill Ricketts, will make the following statement:
I am pleased to report that the Company has continued to make significant progress since the release of our annual results on 17 July 2019, in particular with a number of our collaborations and our activities in China.
As reported on the 26 July 2019, the Company had signed a Letter of Intent with its Asian based textile partner. I can confirm that advanced discussions have now been held with the intent to sign a formal commercial partnership in the near future. In addition, a year-long trial of a new graphene delivery method into textiles at Leeds University has now been successfully completed, with results which show significant improvements in tensile strength and thermal conductivity through the addition of our graphene. This development will allow us to expedite further commercial trials in both consumer and industrial textile applications with our current partners in these sectors.
We are also trialling a new grade of concrete at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and at a civil engineering institute featuring a graphene based material. These trials form part of our collaboration agreement with AECOM, along with a further four projects in China and the Middle East.
Our other collaborations that we outlined in the annual report continue to progress in line with the Company’s expectations.
In China, the Versarien plc and Beijing Institute of Graphene Technology Co. Ltd (“BIGT”) teams have been working together to progress the terms of the planned partnership announced on 15 April 2019. In particular:
· BIGT has assisted Versarien in successfully setting up a wholly foreign owned enterprise (WFOE) with a registered office in Beijing;
· BIGT has secured the endorsement and support of provincial Chinese governments for the project, including the China International Industry Graphene Union (“CIGIU”, which was established as part of ‘Made in China 2025 ‘ and ‘the 13th Five-year Plan’ and partners with BIGT with the objective of establishing ‘China Graphene Manufacturing’ at a national level);
· Incubation and factory facilities within preferred key strategic provinces are currently being discussed for final consideration; and
· BIGT continues to work towards the purchase of up to 15% of Versarien’s share capital through the issue of new shares to BIGT, but BIGT acknowledges Versarien’s desire to also offer shares to institutions and private investors at the same time as any investment by BIGT.
The strategy agreed between BIGT and Versarien is to create an incubation hub in Beijing in partnership with the Chinese Government’s Administrative Committee of Beijing Petrochemical New Materials Science and Technology Industry Base, Versarien and CIGIU in return for access to a funded science park, access to a pipeline of projects and to locate a factory in a funded Sino-British industrial park within Shangdong Province.
BIGT continues to work with the Director General of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and IT. The Director General of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and IT has provided the following statement to the Company:
“The collaboration between Versarien, BIGT, CIGIU and the Beijing Government is completely aligned with the industrial strategic positioning and trend. We will lend our full support, without hesitation. We will also liaise with other Beijing Government Departments and the Beijing District Government to progress this initiative. Throughout the process we will carefully plan the deal structure and conditions and the IP matters. In conclusion we have no problem in supporting this collaboration.”
Whilst the Versarien Board wishes to conclude a deal in China as soon as reasonably possible, it re-iterates its position that it will only do so if it is in the best interests of the Company’s shareholders, The negotiations, whilst protracted, are with the objective of establishing a long-term and significant partnership between Versarien and BIGT in China.