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Applied Graphene Materials secures South African distribution deal

A North East company behind a so-called wonder substance has extended its market reach with an African deal.

Applied Graphene Materials (AGM) has signed a distribution agreement with Carst & Walker, which it says will strengthen its reach into the South African chemical markets.

Based at the Wilton Centre, near Redcar, AGM produces graphene, which is acclaimed by experts for being ultra-lightweight yet overtly tough and capable of conducting electricity, despite being as thin as a human hair.

Graphene – a form of carbon and a single layer of graphite arranged in a honeycomb lattice – can also be used as an additive in lubricants to improve performance and in paints and coatings to reduce the risk of corrosion.

Bosses say its Carst & Walker deal will see the businesses collaborate to introduce AGM’s Genable® product – dispersions of its graphene that can be delivered into existing manufacturing processes – into South Africa’s coatings market.

The agreement will also see the companies work together to identify opportunities in other territories.

Adrian Potts, chief executive of AGM, which was formed as a spin-out of Durham University, said: “Our Genable® anti-corrosion dispersion technologies are achieving growing industry recognition and commercial traction.

“It is important that we establish a highly credible, robust and technically reactive distribution network as we focus on expansion into international markets.

“Carst & Walker are a great partner as we enter new geographic territories and the relationship provides an excellent route to market for our products.”

Phil Hinton, director and international business manager (adhesives and coatings) at Carst & Walker, added: “We have been tracking the technology development of AGM’s graphene and Genable® dispersion.

“Having seen first-hand the outstanding results they are achieving, particularly the area of anti-corrosion performance, we are very excited by the opportunity to support their ambitious growth plans.

“We have made extensive market soundings with our customer base and have already engaged with several key players in the South African market.”

The agreement comes after AGM revealed a distribution deal with CAME Srl to extend its commercial reach into the Italian coatings and chemicals sectors.

Based in Milan, CAME’s customer base includes organisations in the coatings, adhesives and lubricants markets.

Graphene was first isolated by scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at Manchester University in 2004. AGM was founded by Professor Karl Coleman in 2010, with its operations and processes based on technology he initially developed at Durham University.