The order is from a large US cutting tool manufacturer and follows a trial order of 33,000 ceramic blank units previously delivered by Haydale's South Carolina-based unit, Haydale Ceramic Technologies (HCT) and follows investment by Haydale in the blanks production facilities.
Additionally, HCT has received a commitment in principle from a Japanese cutting tool manufacturer set to launch in April 2020. This commitment is for 145,000 blanks units with a value of around US$600,000.
"Since production commenced in June this year, the team has worked closely with new and existing customers to ensure the product is of the highest quality. We are now able to produce high quality sintered ceramic blanks in industry expected quantities,” revealed Tom Quantrille, the president and chief executive officer of Haydale Technologies in the USA.
The order was announced on the same day as Haydale's results for the year to the end of June.
It was a year in which the company streamlined its operations and installed a new leadership team, taking around £1.6mln of annual costs out of the business.
Commercial revenues climb
The year saw commercial revenues climb to £3.47mln from £3.4mln the year before. Grant income eased to £790,000 from £830,000 the previous year.
Encouragingly, revenue in the second half of the fiscal year was 12% higher than in the first half and up 35% year-on-year.
The adjusted operating loss before non-cash items - such as impairments and one-off restructuring costs - narrowed to £4.18mln from £4.88mln in the previous year.
Talking of impairments, the carrying value of intangible assets relating to Haydale's UK (RPC) composites business was marked down by £1.78mln; this was a non-cash item but it did contribute to the loss before tax widening to £7.76mln from £6.12mln.
At the end of the financial year, Haydale had cash of £4.69mln and borrowings of £1.25mln; a year earlier, cash and borrowings were £5.09mln and £896,000 respectively.
The long-term sales order book, which includes grants, was £3.56mln versus £4.67mln a year earlier.
Focused on development areas
"The year under review has been a challenging one for Haydale,” admitted David Banks, the non-executive chairman of Haydale.
“At management level, we have recruited a new executive team lead by Keith Broadbent, who was promoted from COO to CEO in March 2019, and Laura Redman-Thomas, who joined as our CFO in December 2018,” Banks said.
“At an operational level, we have streamlined the business and rationalised our cost base, created a rigorous product and commodity analysis with subsequent clear focus, both inwardly and outwardly, introducing best manufacturing procedures and processes, created a group sales force and refinanced the business with the fundraising announced in March," he noted.
Banks said the group entered the new financial year with two new graphene-enhanced product lines in pre-impregnated composites and graphene-enhanced elastomers (elastic polymers).
He foresees significant growth opportunities for Haydale with the new and adapted approach of using the group's global footprint as one team, with cross-selling and collaborative research and development.
“Business development surrounding the major advances we have seen in the core skills on inks, functionalisation and dispersion of graphene, in conjunction with the new market segment of SiC [silicon carbide micro-fibre], sets Haydale up for the next phase of evolution and scale-up,” Banks asserted.
“Under the new executive team the group has focused its development activities on areas where it considerers there to be immediate commercial potential,” the chairman said.