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Q and A with Neill Ricketts CEO and Chris Leigh CFO of Versarien plc (LON:VRS)

Versarien plc (LSE:VRS) Chief Executive Officer Neill Ricketts and Chief Financial Officer Chris Leigh caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their final results for the year ending March 2015


Q1: Chris, some good results out this week, can you give us some background on the headline numbers?

A1: Yes, Certainly. We’re very pleased with the results, the group revenues were up 69% to a smidgen under £5 million compared to the previous year which was just under £3 million. The net assets rose 180% to £7.3 million compared to £2.6 million in the previous year, following the successful placing we did last May which raised £5.5 million before expenses. That meant that at the end of our financial year, we had cash in the bank of £3.5 million compared to £0.2 million the previous year and we also have additional facilities from our banks which total about £2 million. The result for the year financially was a loss before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, exceptional costs of £277,000 and underpinning these results was the performance of Total Carbide, one of our divisions, which is a mature business which we bought at the time of the IPO back in June 2013, it’s sale were up to £4.6 million compared to £2.9 million in the previous period and it’s EBITDAE was £1.12 million compared to £0.47 million in the previous period. So a total, under our ownership, of something like £1.6 / £1.7 million of EBITDAE and if you look back at the results of that business pre our ownership, it was just a breakeven business so we’re particularly pleased with that and that business provides cash for us and underpins the technology businesses that we’ve got elsewhere within the group.


Q2: So what have been the major operational highlights throughout the year?

A2: Well what we would classify as major highlights would be the acquisition of 2-DTech last March/April time which we purchased off the University of Manchester, more significantly recently has been the product launch of the air cooled heat sinks for the Versarien copper and that has led on to being able to distribute those through an agreement with Mouser Electronics in the US plus several agents in Europe. More recently, we’ve also acquired a heat sink business to work alongside that to be able to get those products to market quicker and we managed to acquire that in February this year for about £191,000.


Q3: Good results out this week, how is the financial year going so far?

A3: What we’re seeing is it’s a buoyant with lots of good news more recently. We’ve seen that we’ve been able to introduce a high volume manufacturing process for the graphene, we’ve been able to demonstrate that and be able to exhibit that over in Korea, we’ve also got a joint venture, which we’ve talked about with you previously, with Haydale so lots going on.


Q4: What are you looking to achieve this year?

A4: This year is all going to be about consolidation and commercial wins for the copper foam business and also the graphene business. We need to scale up both of those businesses to meet the demand that we’re currently seeing and so what we’d expect listeners to look out for is commercial wins.


Q5: How well do you think Versarien are placed for the future?

A5: I think we’re in a great position, we’ve got huge amounts of support from the government, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UKTI and Innovate UK. We’ve got a good plan to diversify the core business into other areas and we’re working very close with our key clients there, completely new markets in new geographies and that’s resulted in a 30% increase in our non-oil and gas business in our Total Carbide entity and again, as I mentioned in the interims, we’ll be looking to take the show overseas and to produce better export results.

Disclaimer: Statements in this article should not be considered investment advice, which is best sought directly from a qualified professional.