Forest of Dean firm sells Korean factory in £600,000 deal

Gloucestershire engineering firm Versarien has sold plant and equipment in South Korea for just over £600,000.

The Forest of Dean firm has launched a turnaround strategy after parting ways with it s chief executive and founder Neill Ricketts.

The company has been looking to reduce its debts and the South Korean deal is part of the ongoing restructuring of the business.

Versarien says it has entered into an agreement with MCK Tech to sell the Group’s plant and equipment in South Korea together with an exclusive licence agreement with MCK Tech for the use of five patents, owned by the group .

The plant and equipment acquired from Hanwha Aerospace in South Korea in 2020 were identified as non-core and marketed for sale.

The group’s mature businesses, AAC Cyroma Limited and Total Carbide Limited, continue to be marketed for sale and the company is progressing discussions with a number of interested parties, though the timing of any further asset sales and the quantum of the funds that may be received remains uncertain.

The net proceeds of the transaction will be used for the group’s corporate and working capital purposes.

The company says it continues to actively seek additional short and longer term funding solutions to support its turnaround strategy.

Under the Agreement MCK Tech is paying £604,000 for the Korean Plant, which comprises the assets of the CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) graphene business carried out by Versarien’s subsidiary, Versarien Korea Limited, and owned by the Company.

£60,400 has been paid and the remaining £543,600 will be paid in full by 31 July 2024 through the following instalments: £120,800 60 days from the date of the Agreement; £120,800 120 days from the date of the Agreement; and £302,000 payable on 31 July 2024.

As at 31 March 2023, the date of Versarien’s last notified balance sheet, the gross asset value of the Korean Plant was £844,151.  Versarien Korea Limited, which operated the Korean Plant, made a loss after tax of £771,690 in the 18 months to 30 September 2022.

In line with the Company’s strategy to monetise intellectual property through licensing, Versarien has granted an exclusive licence to MCK Tech (the “Licence”), for an initial period of five years, to use five patents owned by the Company in their business in Korea.

Dr Stephen Hodge, CEO of Versarien, commented: “As previously outlined, Versarien’s strategy is to be a manufacturing-light business in the UK and licence our patents, know-how and other intellectual property to key partners.

“In line with this strategy we are pleased that we have secured the sale of the Korean CVD graphene production equipment and licenced five patents to MCK Tech.  MCK Tech is a well-respected company that has developed graphene-based sensors for healthcare.  MCK’s CEO, Dr Seungmin Cho, is one of the pioneers of CVD graphene in Korea, formerly working as group leader at Samsung Techwin and Hanwha Aerospace, prior to founding MCK Tech in 2017, a joint venture with the Centre for Advanced Meta-Materials (CAMM) in Daejeon.  We look forward to maintaining access to CVD graphene materials and supporting MCK Tech through collaborative efforts.”


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