Versarien reassures shareholders as it announces a 'streamlining' of its operations

Advanced engineering materials firm Versarien has sought to reassure shareholders after revealing economic conditions had delayed the commercialisation of its products, but the Gloucestershire business was still able to declare a rise in turnover to more than £11 million.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
Versarien's just-published financial report for the 18 months to the end of September 2022 shows the company is adjusting its expectations in the face of global economic challenges.

Forest of Dean-based Versarien has announced an increase in turnover to £11.1 million, but also sought to reassure shareholders about its slower than hoped-for progress unlocking the commercial potential of its wonder material, graphene, in a challenging economic climate. 

The firm said it continued to work to introduce more companies to the potential of the carbon-based material as an ingredient to enhance their products, but said 'the current macro-economic conditions' meant it would be ‘streamlining’ its operations, as well as seeking support in the form of grant funding.

The Forest of Dean plc, no stranger to funding wins having secured the highest ever grant from UK Innovate to scale up the company, said it would be focusing on ‘primary opportunities’ in construction and textiles.

Its just-published results for the 18 months ended 30 September 2022 also revealed widening losses of £8.4 million for the period, compared to an £8.1 million loss for the year to March 2021.

Diane Savory, former chairman of GFirst LEP and now non-executive chairman of the Longhope-headquartered engineering firm, said despite 'traction in the graphene market proving challenging' the firm was well-placed to take advantage in a sector expected to be worth $7.55 billion by 2028.

‘Of this potential market, our focus is on construction where the market is estimated to be US $900 million per annum; and leisure/footwear where it is estimated to be US $360 million per annum.

'Longer term we are still involved in the automotive sector where the market is expected to reach US $340 million and aerospace US $70 million per annum,’ said Savory, also the ex-chief operating officer of fashion label Superdry.

She added: ‘We continue to focus our efforts on construction and textiles which we believe are at the highest technology readiness level and therefore closest to commercial revenues.

‘Our production capability at Longhope, Gloucestershire, has increased in readiness for commercial traction, but challenging macro-economic conditions have delayed the progress we were anticipating.’

Its report also highlighted notable achievements include securing more than 130 patents and trademarks; completing 18 innovative UK projects; embedding connections with the University of Cambridge and the University of Manchester, which is home to the National Graphene Institute; and becoming a member of the European Union’s €1 billion Graphene Flagship scientific research initiative.

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