Despite growing losses, the Teesside-based Applied Graphene Materials plc says it is making good progress towards converting customer sampling into actual orders.
The company, a Durham University spin-out that produces high purity graphene nanoplatelets for use across a wide range of applications, was admitted to AIM in November 2013, raising £11m.
Interim results for the six months ended January 31 showed its EBITDA loss widened from £0.8m compared to the same period in the previous year to stand at £1.8m.
AGM’s loss before tax likewise grew from £1.2m to £1.9m, while its cash at bank dropped from £9.9m to £6.6m.
However, the six months also represented a record period as far as customer sampling is concerned, generating encouraging early stage feedback.
The company has likewise established a presence in all target markets as it looks to expand production.
Chief executive Jon Mabbitt said: “Over the last six months, we have established a global profile for Applied Graphene Materials through our market development activities.
“We have extended the scope of our customer engagements in our target markets where our existing partnerships are becoming more advanced and we are seeing appetite from further new potential partners.
“As we progress towards production orders we have successfully increased production volumes over the period whilst maintaining consistent dispersion quality on a larger scale to ensure the best enhancements for our customers.”
Founded by Professor Karl Coleman in 2010 - and based on technology he initially developed at Durham University - Applied Graphene Materials has developed a proprietary bottom-up process capable of producing high purity graphene nanoplatelets using a continuous process.
This is based on sustainable, readily available raw materials and does not rely on the supply of graphite, unlike a number of other graphene production techniques.
The so-called ‘wonder material’, which is extremely thin despite being stronger than diamond and a noted conductor of electricity, can be used in a host of industries.
During the six-month period, Applied Graphene Materials gradually increased its run rates as it evidenced the consistency and quality of production at higher volumes - an activity that will continue into the second half of the year.
Mr Mabbitt said that it was difficult to predict when customer demands would translate into production scale orders.
However, operations were being scaled up, with the internal team having expanded and an experienced internationally-recognised company being engaged to assist with the engineering design and build.
During the half-year, more than 50 material samples were provided, generating positive responses, and Mr Mabbitt expressed confidence that the firm would play a leading role in meeting the growing global appetite for graphene.
“Customer feedback received to date has been encouraging and support our focus on creating graphene formats that deliver optimal enhancements and performance.
“We continue to concentrate of those areas where we believe our graphene dispersions can have most impact and, accordingly, to target three principal markets: advanced composites and polymers, functional fluids and coatings.
“No other material has the combination of fundamental properties that graphene possesses.”