North East dealmakers played a crucial role in the recent flotation of Durham University spin-out, Applied Graphene Materials.
In the Redcar company’s first day of trading last week, its share price climbed from 155p to around 216p, valuing the firm at more than £10m.
Bosses have now confirmed that they want to create 20 new jobs at their Wilton base, as they ramp production of graphene, a versatile one-molecule-thick layer of graphite that is 20 times stronger than diamond and conducts electricity 20 times better than copper.
For the purposes of the flotation, N+1 Singer Advisory LLP acted as nominated adviser and broker to Applied Graphene Materials.
Newcastle law firm Ward Hadaway, meanwhile, provided legal advice through a team led by partner and head of corporate Martin Hulls. Associate James Nightingale and consultant Emma Sewell also offered support, along with members of Ward Hadaway’s employment law and commercials teams.
Hulls said: “We are absolutely delighted to see the successful flotation of Applied Graphene Materials plc.
“The company is truly leading the way when it comes to commercial application of this exciting new material and it is fantastic to see businesses like this grow and thrive in the North East.
“As a firm, we have advised on many AIM flotations, as well as on various other public fund-raising, so we were able to bring all that experience to bear when it came to the initial public offering for Applied Graphene Materials.”
The Newcastle office of KPMG LLP also provided financial advice to Applied Graphene Materials on the flotation.
Partner Chris Stott said: “The level of interest from some investors in the business was very encouraging and should certainly provide some comfort that the IPO market is very much open for good management teams with robust business plans.”
The company received investment support from Northstar Ventures, which recognised that it had the capacity to become a significant player in the North East technology world. The Finance for Business North East Technology Fund, managed by IP Group, and the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund, meanwhile, account for 24.9% of the firm, while Durham University holds about 7%.
Nick Edgar, investment manager at IP Group, said: “It is fantastic to see the company attract such positive endorsement from both existing and new shareholders and to see it list on AIM.”
Andrew Mitchell, chief executive of North East Finance, said: “We are delighted that two of North East Finance’s funds have provided investment and advice to help make this happen, and believe AGM is an excellent example of how venture capital investment can help ambitious businesses grow, creating new opportunities and jobs in the region.”
John Mabbitt, chief executive of Applied Graphene Materials, 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.”