Durham University spin-out floats on AIM for first time

Bosses at Durham University spin-out, Applied Graphene Materials, are planning to create more than 20 new jobs following a strong first day's trading on the stock market, which saw their company's value rise by more £10m

Jon Mabbitt, CEO Applied Graphene Materials

Bosses at Durham University spin-out, Applied Graphene Materials, are planning to create more than 20 new jobs following a strong first day's trading on the stock market, which saw their company's value rise by more £10m.

The Redcar firm, which is floating on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), raised £11m through the placing of around 7m ordinary shares yesterday.

The initial price of £155p per share gave the group, which manufactures graphene materials and owns the intellectual property behind the process, a market capitalisation of approximately £26.2m.

By the close of the market, however, the price per share had risen to 216p, valuing the company at more £36m.

Chief executive Jon Mabbitt said: “We knew there was an interest but we didn’t expect this kind of response; it’s fantastic.

“It’s good to see there’s an appetite for shares in high-technology, and particularly our company. Graphene is particularly topical - now the hard work really starts.”

Graphene - a crystalline form of carbon that can be used in everything from tennis rackets to computers - has attracted worldwide attention for its high performance electrical, thermal and mechanical properties. The idea of creating a business from it came from founder Dr Karl Coleman, a professor of inorganic chemistry who based the firm’s operations and processes on technology he initially developed at Durham University.

Since then, Applied Graphene Materials has received support from a range of investors, including Northstar Ventures, IP Group and North East Finance.

The firm’s commercial strategy now is be a value-added supplier of graphene-based speciality chemical products to partners manufacturing products incorporating graphene, rather than simply being a commodity producer of the material.

Chairman Bryan Dobson said: “We are delighted with the investor response to the placing, which recognises Applied Graphene Materials’ proprietary, scalable manufacturing process and its associated intellectual property and know-how. Joining AIM marks a significant milestone for the group.”

Mabbitt added: “This funding will allow us to begin the next phase of development and to strengthen relationships with our partners.

“Applied Graphene Materials is now well positioned to meet the growing global appetite for graphene as a wonder material for the 21st century.”

The news of Applied Graphene Materials’ flotation comes shortly after the entrance of another Durham University spin-out, technology firm Kromek, to the AIM.

Within a month of its initial public offering, the company secured orders worth almost £4m.

 
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