Gary Economo explains what the MOU means for Grafoid and why it will also impact Focus Graphite.
Grafoid, a private graphene R&D and investment company, took a big step forward on Wednesday by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s Xiamen Tungsten (SSE:600549). Under the MOU, the companies will take several strategic measures to introduce Grafoid’s clean energy technologies to the Chinese market.
Speaking to the Investing News Network, Gary Economo, CEO, director and founding partner of Grafoid, emphasized that the deal makes sense for both companies. “It’s a terrific fit for both companies based on mindset and model,” he said, noting that Grafoid and Xiamen, a leader in the smelting, processing and export of tungsten and other nonferrous metal products, follow similar mine-to-market models.
Grafoid’s press release lays out exactly how the MOU will work to bring Grafoid’s technologies to China, highlighting its three key components. Here’s a brief overview:
- Equity investment: Xiamen will acquire up to a 20-percent equity stake in Grafoid through the purchase of common shares, including Grafoid common shares held by Focus Graphite (TSXV:FMS,OTCQX:FCSMF).
- Joint venture (JV) plan and CAPEX for production facilities: Grafoid and Xiamen will set up a JV in China under which they will produce Grafoid’s Mesograf™- and Amphioxide™-based products.
- JV plan and CAPEX for graphene applications: In addition to producing those graphene-based products, Grafoid and Xiamen will set up a JV to develop graphene applications for the Chinese market.
Jeffrey York, chairman and founding partner of Grafoid, is also pleased with the MOU, and in Wednesday’s release said that it represents Grafoid’s “first expansionary step into China.” He added, “[t]his future alliance bodes well for Grafoid and Xiamen, our affiliates and our shareholders.”
Based on the above statements from Economo and York, it’s clear that the MOU is a big step for Grafoid. However, it’s worth noting that Grafoid’s Wednesday news will also impact Focus — as mentioned, Xiamen will be acquiring a 20-percent equity stake in Grafoid, in part by taking control of Grafoid common shares held by Focus.
Focus explains what that means in a separate press release, noting that the MOU will provide it “with a portal in China for the sale of value added graphite products.” Perhaps more notably, the deal will also help Focus fund its Lac Knife graphite project in Quebec. The company plans to use the money gained through the sale of its Grafoid common shares to move forward with development at the project.
“[T]his injection of funding could enable Focus to advance our Lac Knife detailed engineering and finalize the advance work required for permitting,” Economo, who’s also CEO and director at Focus, explained. “And, it enables us to move to the next stage in assembling our mine CAPEX financing.” That, of course, is also positive for Grafoid, which has two definitive, 10-year offtake agreements with Focus for graphite from Lac Knife.
In the more immediate future, Economo said that Grafoid and Xiamen will look to set up shop in China and identify graphene applications that are ready to be commercialized. Already, he said, the companies have five applications in mind, three of which will be ready to go in the immediate future.
“The key thing is to let the investment community know that our vision of an integrated mine-to-market energy business is coming together as planned,” Economo concluded. “The pieces are falling into place and it’s going well. Opportunities are growing every single day, and Grafoid is positioned to capture a lot of business going forward.”
The multimillion-dollar deal is expected to close at the end of May.
Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any of the companies mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Focus Graphite and Grafoid are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.
The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.