An Indian company can help secure its graphite needs
Tirupati Graphite, a specialist graphite and graphene producer with operations in Madagascar and India, became the newest Indian company to list on London Stock Exchange's (LSE) Main Market, raising £6 million in equity capital from both institutional and retail investors. It is also the latest issuer to receive the exchange's Green Economy Mark, which recognises equity issuers in London with green revenues of 50 per cent or more. In this interview, CEO Shishir Poddar reflects upon what this listing means for the company and some of the revolutionary uses of graphite, the mineral composed of graphene.
What does this LSE listing mean for the company and for UK-India relations?
The successful IPO [Initial Public Offering] is an enabler for the company to build the three legs of its business for its second stage. Simultaneously, it provides global visibility to the company and it sees this as a starting point not only in graphite but also in the field of advanced materials where it sees itself to have a big role to play.
The London markets provided support to the endeavour of Tirupati Graphite and having laid the foundations of building the company, it achieved a successful IPO. This is a new route for sourcing of growth capital for entrepreneurs with the vision and ability of building a solid business. India is a storehouse of entrepreneurs and UK a global financial centre. Therefore, this could offer a lot of synergies.
What will the funds raised with the IPO go on to achieve in the longer term?
The company shall use the funds to complete its Stage 2 investments, which will see a three-four times' expansion in its current capacities. It will also kickstart the availability of speciality graphite used in advanced applications for which India and the globe are currently substantially dependent on Chinese sources. The developments will therefore lay the foundations for diversification of flake and specialty graphite source and that too manufactured in a more eco-friendly process.
India is a huge net importer of graphite, with limited new sources under development. An Indian origin company shall help it secure its needs too.
What are your views on the innovative uses of graphite/graphene?
Tirupati Graphite (TG) is focused on composite materials with graphene, both with metals and non-metals, which could revolutionise the world of advanced materials providing extensive reduction in consumption of resources with improved properties and lifespan. Additionally, we are working in the arena of coatings and energy storage.
A few highlights include:
TG graphene in polymers has yielded exceptional results in a project undertaken by the University of Manchester. We intend to continue the development, which could lead to new materials with advanced applications.
The addition of TG graphene in rubber has yielded improved properties thus opening the possibility of application in elastomers.
TG is developing graphene-based composites with metals, which could lead to significant reduction in consumption.
Graphene coatings are the target for the reduction of erosion and corrosion in marine and similar applications.
Use of Graphene in batteries has the potential of improving the current generation of lithium-ion batteries. We intend to expedite working on it.
And there are more target areas in industrial applications we will continue to engage with.
What does Tirupati Graphite offer investors?
Our admission to trading on London Stock Exchange is an historic moment for Tirupati, which provides us with greater visibility and opportunity for growth as we build our market share in the high demand graphite and graphene market. Our multi-asset, cash generative, “green” portfolio offers significant scope for further value creation and we have a defined development strategy in place to deliver upon this.
We now look forward to building meaningful, sustainable value for the benefit of all stakeholders, many of whom we welcome to our register thanks to this successful IPO.