Graphene maker floats to ramp up miracle chemical production

A COMPANY that specialises in making the new super-strong graphene material yesterday debuted on London’s junior market, raising £32.5m in an initial public offering (IPO) that values it at £163.2m.

Graphene Nanochem, formerly known as Biofutures International, relisted on Aim following an £80m reverse takeover of Platinum Nanochem, which was announced in December.

The company said it would use the funds to ramp up production of graphene, a so-called wonder material that is lighter and stronger than any similar material, as well as being a reliable electricity conductor and rust resistant. The material can be a small as one atom thick.

Potential applications for graphene include creating rustproof cars and far more efficient electronic circuit boards, and chancellor George Osborne recently pledged £50m to support its production.

Graphene Nanochem believes it can use the material to create special fluids for offshore drilling and shale gas exploration.

“The proceeds of the placing will allow Graphene Nanochem to capitalise on the significant demand for our speciality chemicals and the numerous opportunities for graphene enhanced products,” Jespal Doel, the company’s chief executive who has joined from Platinum Nanochem, said.

Shares in the company, which went on sale at 8am yesterday morning, fell five per cent in their first day of trading to close at 137.5p.

Graphene Nanochem has been advised on the IPO by brokers at Panmure Gordon.

ADVISERS GRAPHENE NANOCHEM’S LISTING
CALLUM STEWART
PANMURE GORDON

Both the acquisition of Platinum Nanochem and yesterday’s Aim listing saw Panmure Gordon act as advisers and brokers to Graphene Nanochem, an early indication of Panmure’s expected pickup in initial public offerings during 2013.

The lead adviser on the deal was Panmure director of corporate finance Callum Stewart, who has been working for the broker since 2006. During that time Stewart has advised on a number of IPO and M&A deals, including Aberdeen-based drilling company Faroe Petroleum’s 2008 listing and Borders & Southern Petroleum’s flotation in the same year. He recently advised investment vehicle 2IL Orthopaedics on its £30m acquisition of medical devices maker Corin Group.

Before joining Panmure seven years ago, University of Edinburgh graduate Stewart served in the army.

Also working on the acquisition and listing was Tom Nicholson, the head of Panmure Gordon’s Asia Pacific office in Singapore, since Platinum Nanochem was based in Kuala Lumpur. Nicholson has been at the company for six years, having joined Panmure from Charles Stanley Securities’ UK equity sales team in 2007. He had worked at Charles Stanley for three years after a position as an analyst at ING Barings.

Recent deals Nicholson has worked on include the December 2012 IPO of Malaysian software company Fusionex, which raised £12m on Aim, and a £16m fundraising for new client Asian Plantations, a Singapore-based palm oil producer listed in London.

The listing also marks a positive beginning to 2013 for Panmure Gordon, which specialises in IPOs on Aim. The broker, which completed four listings in 2012, is anticipating increased business this year.