Versarien plc (LON:VRS), the advanced materials engineering group, this morning announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) to establish a graphene manufacturing centre in China.
Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: “We are delighted to have entered into this LOI and to be working with our Chinese partners to establish a world leading high quality graphene manufacturing facility using Versarien’s proprietary IP and manufacturing knowhow.
“It is intended that this facility will form the centre of the “Jinan Graphene Valley” and pave the way to Versarien establishing a world class base in the Asian region. We have been afforded great support from the Chinese government and we are working with all parties to deliver this facility in record time and to capture the excitement and support for our Nanene product in China.
“It is important for us to have facilities close to manufacturing centres worldwide and we will continue to build on this base. We have negotiated significant Chinese government support to protect our IP and this agreement follows from the meeting with President Xi Jinping at the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester in October 2015.
“This agreement demonstrates the world leading capabilities of Versarien in the production of graphene and other nano materials. With the significant global interest we are seeing in our graphene, this facility will go a significant way towards allowing us to meet anticipated demand and to be able to work closely with Chinese companies developing graphene enhanced products.
“This continues to be a very busy and exciting time for the Company and I look forward to providing further updates on our progress throughout 2018.”
The non-binding LOI has been entered into by Versarien together with the Shandong Institute of Industrial Technology Fund, Jinan Qing Na Material Technology Co Ltd and Jinan Innovation Zone Administrative Committee with the view to establishing the “China-UK Jinan Graphene Industrial Park” in the Jinan Innovation Zone, Shandong Province, China. The Jinan Innovation Zone, established as a national hi-tech zone in 1991, currently has ten industrial parks with businesses including software, intelligent manufacturing and life sciences.
The LOI envisages as a first stage the establishment of a 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility to produce and sell Versarien’s proprietary Nanene few layer graphene nano-platelets. Versarien will provide its intellectual property (IP) on a licensed basis together with production know how, whilst the other joint venture partners will provide the factory and funding for plant and equipment.
The second stage objective is the establishment of the first Chinese graphene industrial park, the “Jinan Graphene Valley” including a graphene research institute with funding coming from the joint venture partners. The total project cost is anticipated to be in the region of 500 million yuan (approximately GBP55 million).
It is the Company’s intention to form a wholly owned Hong Kong company which will become one of the joint venture partners, whilst ensuring the strongest protection of its IP. Further announcements will be made as appropriate, including when final agreements are entered into.