BluGlass (ASX:BLG) Managing Director, Giles Bourne talks 1H FY19 results, progress at its Silverwater demonstration semi-conductor foundry, its EpiBlu contract services business and collaborations.
Rachael Jones: Hello I’m Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me from BluGlass Limited (ASX:BLG) is Managing Director, Giles Bourne. Giles welcome back to FNN.
Giles Bourne: Thank you Rachael.
Rachael Jones: First up Giles. Can we talk about your first half results for 2019, what were the highlights?
Giles Bourne: The highlights have really been about focusing on our strategy. Our strategy was and continues to be, taking our technology, the results that we achieved from our RPCVD technology. And taking that to the market with a view of collaborating, ultimately to licence our technology and deliver equipment, and so we’ve been very much focused on that. And that was underpinned by some results we put out very recently, on tunnel junctions.
And tunnel junctions we’ve talked about previously with you, is a very exciting bit of technology and we’re now taking that data to the industry as a whole. And that happened recently at a key industry conference, called Photonics West, where our CTO presented that data for the first time and got really positive reaction. Now we’re exploring what that means commercially for us, and so that will be a lot of our focus.
We raised money in 2018, calendar year 2018, and that’s being used for a facilities upgrade. So it’s well underway and we expect that to come to fruition around, early second quarter of this year. And then part of that is to do with the scaling of our technology. So we’ve got industry machines there and we’ve got now a much larger machine onsite, which is one that is typically used by the industry. So we’re scaling up our technology onto a widely used industry platform.
So underpinning all of this and we’ve got a big patent portfolio, we’ve got 63 granted patents in eight patent families and we’ll keep building on that. So as we get more experimental data out, we look at all the validity of that data and how we can use it commercially. And that will then drive our patent strategy, so that will continue to grow.
Rachael Jones: In your review for operations for the year, you present the technology Value Proposition Roadmap. What is this?
Giles Bourne: The technology that we’re working on is a very complex bit of technology, the remote plasma chemical vapour deposition, RPCVD for short. It’s taken years and years of development. And what we’re trying to do is actually solve multiple problems across the industry. If you like, we’re having a portfolio of products. So we looked at one particular area where we could solve a problem, initially with LEDs. So we had some breakthrough data that came in 2015 and we started at looking at ways we can solve issues, with the LED industry about addressing performance.
And then subsequently gone on and looked at other applications, in other applications where just performance, light output or just performance of other types of devices, like power electronics. So ultimately, what we’re trying to do in our technology roadmap is get to a broad portfolio of products, where we become an integral part of the manufacturing of these devices. And so really that’s the focus for calendar year 2019, is on that.
Rachael Jones: Can you tell us about the expectations for any collaborations?
Giles Bourne: We’ve been talking about collaborations for a while. So we’ve had a collaboration with Lumileds, which is on the go and we continue our discussions and negotiations with them. Recently we announced a collaboration equipment partner, which is AIXTRON (FSE:AIXA). They’re helping us with our upgrading of our machines, so providing support to upgrade that machine. And they’re obviously interested in future equipment building opportunities as well. We also have collaborations in the microLED space that we’ve talked about before.
Now that we have greater capacity coming online, not only will we be looking at driving the collaborations that we have in place, but we’ll also be looking at what else we can do with our technology, who else should we be partnering with? And so we will be opening that up. Helping us do that, we have this services business, which we talked about before, called EpiBlu and that’s a foundry service. So we do contract manufacturing from people.
But ultimately what that does, it's a strategic vehicle, it opens up solutions for our technology, where people can try it out, pay us money to do it, as we do small run contract manufacturing. But it provides future collaboration potential for the business. And ultimately, licensing opportunities and ways we can provide equipment.So that’s going to continue to grow during the course of this year.
Rachael Jones: Now to financials and your share price. Can you provide a snapshot?
Giles Bourne: We’ve just reported that we have $11.7 million on our balance sheet, which is a reasonably healthy position to be in. So we’ll continue to invest in the facilities upgrade, which is important and that’ll come online as we said, in the second quarter of this year. Our burn rate has gone up slightly since last year and that’s because we’re investing more in our IP. We’ve got more people driving technology and obviously expanding our facilities out. So that’s a good thing for the business, as we’re driving it through to commercialisation. And we’re seeing continued support from our shareholder base, a good mix of institutional and retail investors.
Rachael Jones: Last question now Giles. What can investors look forward to in the second half of financial year 2019?
Giles Bourne: First and foremost as we’ve spoken about recently, is this tunnel junction work that we’ve talked about. We’ve got that data out there, that’s going to be a lot of our focus in the coming weeks and months, to exploit that tunnel junction data and get industry interest. So that’ll drive a lot of the activity in the commercial and tech team, but equally in parallel will be upgrading our facilities. That’s coming to fruition by the second quarter of this year. We expect our first machine to come online in the second quarter, as the facilities come to completion.
We will then plan to have an investor open day and actually open up our facilities, and show it to everyone. And as I said, we will continue building our IP portfolio. So I think for us, it’s going to be a year of focusing on collaborations and turning those collaborations, into meaningful commercial outcomes.
Rachael Jones: Giles Bourne, thanks for the update.
Giles Bourne: Thank you Rachael.