Former chief executive to take legal action against struggling business

Neill Ricketts

The founder and former chief executive of advanced materials group Vesarien is launching a legal action against the business.

Neill Ricketts parted company with the business last March amid a dramatic reshuffle. At the time a short statement announced the resignation of Ricketts from the board.

The Gloucestershire firm has been struggling for some time and is undergoing a major cost-cutting drive.

News of the legal action emerged this morning with a statement on the Stock Market.

The statement said: “Versarien, the advanced materials engineering group, announces that it has received various unquantified claims under the Employment Rights Act 1996 against the company and its directors made by Neill Ricketts, a former director of the company. A preliminary hearing for case management has been scheduled for 17 July 2024.

“The company and its directors intend to vigorously defend the claims and are taking legal advice. A further announcement will be made in due course as appropriate.”

Earlier this year the firm announced it had raised £400,000 by way of placing 500,000,000 new ordinary shares.

The business, which makes products using graphene for the automotive, clothing, biomedical and aerospace sectors, said the funds would be used for corporate and working capital purposes as it seeks to capitalise on the “growing number of opportunities”.

In December, Versarien announced it was looking to sell off parts of the business, including equipment and intellectual property it acquired from South Korean firm Hanwha Aerospace in 2020.

Stephen Hodge, chief executive of Versarien, said: “In the short time since the company update announced on 20 December, the commercial, licencing and grant opportunities have continued to grow. This further funding will help us to progress the conversion of these leads while the asset sale discussions continue.”

Last year Versarien announced a pre-tax loss of £3.4m for the six months to March – compared with a £2.1m loss for the same period last year.

The AIM listed business said last year that as part of its turnaround strategy it would look to reduce manufacturing and infrastructure costs at its Longhope facility.