BluGlass Highlights Key Half Year Milestones

Australian technology innovator looks forward to building on collaborations in remaining half of 2017


Australian technology innovator BluGlass has presented its interim financial report for the half year ending 31 December 2016, highlighting a number of key technical and commercial milestones.

Revenue has decreased by $198,367 down 13.6 percent to $1,260,579 due to no Commonwealth government grants (2015: $192,479). Gross expenditure has increased by $106,089, up 3.3 percent due to employee benefits expense up 7.7 percent to $1,352,667 (2015: $1,255,294). Patent and trademark expense up was up 116 percent to $145,688 (2015: $67,270)

The consolidated loss for the period amounted to $2,062,428 up 17.3 percent (2015: $1,757,972). The company's net assets as at 31 December 2016 were $20,177,030 (30 June 2016: $14,236,750).

The company's principal activity during the half year was the further development and commercialisation of novel technology for the manufacture of epitaxially grown GaN at low temperature. BluGlass is also engaged in research activities in developing other high efficiency nitride devices.

Half year highlights

In September 2016, BluGlass announced that it had commissioned its upgraded low temperature Remote Plasma Chemical Vapour Deposition (RPCVD) chamber (the smaller of BluGlass' two RPCVD systems) designed to help address the scalability and uniformity required for commercial demonstrations.

The upgraded chamber was designed to build on and improve on past performance data as well as create a platform RPCVD design that can be easily scaled to larger deposition areas.

Subsequent to this, at the BluGlass AGM in November, the company reported showing good initial thickness uniformity improvement with the new deposition chamber. Since the AGM, BluGlass has made further improvements with the thickness uniformity to a level that satisfies itsrequirements for industry demonstrations for 2 inch wafers.

In October 2016, BluGlass announced that it has successfully completed the technology demonstration outlined in Phase I of its Exclusive Evaluation Agreement with industry leading LED company, Lumileds.

The two companies are now collaborating on Phase II of the evaluation, where Lumileds will further investigate the integration of BluGlass' RPCVD technology in Lumileds LED applications.

Also in October, BluGlass raised $5m in an institutional placement to support the companies three existing evaluation and collaboration agreements, and to enable BluGlass to explore additional strategic industry discussions and opportunities.

Following the BluGlass 2016 AGM in November, BluGlass' Chairman, George Venardos retired from the company's board after serving as chairman for the previous six years and prior to this, as a non-executive director since December 2008. The board appointed William Johnson to replace Venardos as chairman. Johnson was previously a non-executive director and was appointed to the board in September 2010. Johnson was the former president and CEO of SPTS Technologies, a manufacturer of capital equipment for the semiconductor and related industries.

In November, the company announced a significant order commitment from a new UK customer for ~$600,000 of specialist epitaxy (foundry) development. This order is scheduled to be delivered over a 12-month period. The customer is developing GaN technology targeting LED and other applications. 

BluGlass has placed additional emphasis on growing its Foundry Customer business in Financial Year 2017. The foundry business continues to introduce BluGlass to new and emerging applications including novel LED, micro-LED, laser diode and power electronic applications.

In November, BluGlass announced a formal collaboration with IQE  to develop specific enabling technology for high quality nitride films deposited by RPCVD on silicon wafers and on specially engineered substrates; cREO on silicon.

In December 2016, BluGlass completed its Share Purchase Plan which raised $3.1m. This combined with the October $5m Institutional Placement has put BluGlass in a strong financial position to execute its commercialisation plans, according to the company.

The half year ahead

The BLG-180 chamber has demonstrated improvement in thickness uniformity and based on this design, the new and larger chamber for the BLG-300 was built to improve uniformity and address scaling of the RPCVD technology. The new chamber has recently arrived at BluGlass and is being prepared for installation.

The BluGlass technology team are finalising the plans for its installation onto the larger RPCVD system, to ensure minimal disruption to BluGlass' partner evaluations, in particular the Lumileds Phase II project.

While BluGlass continues to make steady progress on the Phase II of the Lumileds project it is anticipated that the new BLG-300 chamber design will help with the technical performance for the Lumileds project beyond simply scaling aspects and it is assessing options for its implementation to assist with the Lumileds' milestones and timelines.

The BLG-300 scaling is critical for other industry projects such as IQE, Veeco and HC Semitek to progress on commercial size wafers.

BluGlass continues to explore new strategic opportunities, including collaborations, partnerships and expanding the foundry business within the opto-electronic value chain, according to the company.

"As we head into the remaining half of the 2017 financial year, we continue to make progress towards delivering successful outcomes in our current industry partnerships. These discussions and collaborations are in different stages of development, but each one of them has large market potential once fully realised," stated the board.

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