3i backed Metalysis expansion attracts industry's largest investment in 5 years

08 Mar 2005

Investors pledge £5m support for the future of a unique electrolytic metals processing method; raising the largest series A financing round for this sector in the last 5 years
Metalysis, a metals extraction pioneer, announces the completion of a £5m investment round co-led by Seven Spires Investments and new investors, 3i, along with a syndicate comprising Generics Asset Management, The Coalfields Enterprise Fund and Cambridge Capital Group. Together with national and European grant money, the round will be used to continue the scale-up and commercialisation of a unique metals extraction process.

The metallurgy market impacts on everyday life; from increasing use of super capacitors in mobile phones to critical light alloys deployed in aerospace and automotive products.  Metalysis is exploiting the FFC Cambridge process, a novel technique for the extraction of metals from their oxide. Developed by Prof. Derek Fray and his team at Cambridge University, the process works for a wide range of high value metals and offers significant economic and environmental benefits over conventional extraction techniques

Founded in Cambridge in 2002, the company relocated to South Yorkshire in late 2004 where it is building a production facility for the process. The company is also working to close a number of commercial deals with leading international metals companies to further exploit the process.

Dr Graham Cooley, Chief Executive of Metalysis said: "We are delighted to have closed this round. Metalysis has strong intellectual property, an experienced management team and commercial deals which will provide strong early revenues. Combined with the new investment syndicate we have all the elements in place to become a world class company."

3i Director and Metalysis Board Member, Laurence Garrett added "The ability to produce pure metal from metal oxides without the need for extreme heating or use of damaging chemicals is a real advance for the industry.  This kind of innovation in the refinement of key metals happens once every 50 years. It has been a pleasure working with the team over the last two years and 3i looks forward to collaborating with its investment partners and continuing the excellent working relationship with the company as it builds momentum in the future."

Notes to editors

About Metalysis
Metalysis holds exploitation rights for the new electrochemical reduction process developed by Professor Derek Fray's research group in the materials department of Cambridge University. The FFC Cambridge process, patented globally in 1998, is a novel electrolytic method for reducing metal oxide to metal in a molten salt. The process economics indicate that some metals can be produced at a fraction of the price, including tantalum, zirconium, beryllium, silicon, molybdenum, vanadium, tungsten and niobium.www.metalysis.com

About 3i 
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.  In the 6 months to 30 September 2004, 3i invested €760 million, including co-investment funds. 3i's venture capital business invested €108 million in the 6 months to 30 September 2004 in early stage technology companies. 3i's Venture Capital business is focused on early stage technology investing in the Healthcare, Software, Communications and Electronics sectors.  www.3i.com

About Seven Spires
Seven Spires Investments Ltd. is an angel investment fund established in 2003 with £25m of private money. We invest in UK, early-stage technologies and our portfolio includes companies in the fields of software, medical devices, semiconductors, materials and smart sensors. We look for internationally scalable, 'breakthrough' technologies and will invest up to £1m p.a. per company. Where appropriate we will invest even at the pre-prototype stage. www.sevenspires.co.uk

About Generics Asset Management Limited
Generics Asset Management Limited (GAML) is a Cambridge-based SFA regulated fund manager specialising in seed and early stage technology. Funds managed and advised by GAML include the ITF and The Cascade Challenge Fund as well as Generics' own investment portfolio. GAML is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Generics Group AG, the international technology development and investment company, listed on the LSE (Reuters: GEN.L) with offices in Frankfurt, Boston, Baltimore, Stockholm, Hong Kong and Cambridge.  www.genericsgroup.com

About The Coalfields Enterprise Fund  
The Coalfields Enterprise Fund is managed by Enterprise Ventures Limited on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The Fund provides finance in the range £40,000 to £500,000, in the form of equity and equity related finance to companies operating in, or employing a proportion of its workforce from the coalfield areas of the North West & North East of England, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Kent and the Forest of Dean. The Fund is able to invest in most industrial sectors and is flexible in its approach to investment and is able to consider investment in companies at all stages in their development, from new starts to early stage to ongoing development through to buy-outs & buy-ins. Companies must be able to demonstrate growth and viability, and offer the Coalfield Enterprise Fund a commercial return on its investments. www.coalfields-enterprise-fund.co.uk

About Cambridge Capital Group  
Cambridge Capital Group (CCG) is a private investor group comprising 20 successful entrepreneurs and experienced business leaders. It provides development funding for early stage technology based companies, primarily in Cambridge - the pre-eminent technology cluster in the UK. The founder members have been backing start-ups in the UK for the last 10 years. The group has a focus on spinouts from the University of Cambridge and other leading scientific institutions; the aim being to support disruptive technologies that show strong commercial promise and unique advantages to their market sectors.  CCG invests on a syndicated basis with specialist business angels and early-stage venture capital funds. We can provide seed finance for prototype development or contribute to early-stage funding rounds for companies seeking to exploit their Intellectual Property. www.cambridgecapitalgroup.co.uk