Local super puts $2m in

THE $480 million WA Local Government Superannuation Plan has made two $2 million direct private equity investments into companies spurned from the University of WA laboratories.

The money brings the total level of investment by the fund in private equity to $20 million or around 4 per cent of total assets.

LSGP chairman Alex Bajada said the investments in Vitrostone and Advanced Powder Technology Pty Ltd (APT) would be used to bring the projects into commercialisation.

The commercial arm of UWA, the Office of Industry and Innovation is celebrating the APT breakthrough, which builds on nanoparticle research spanning the past 20 years.

That research spawned APT’s development and commercialisation of ZinClear suncream applying Zinc particles that are smaller than light particles effectively making the product translucent. For the past few months the product has successfully been sold on pharmacy shelves and is now on trial in the US.

Vitrostone Pty Ltd, which is developing strong but light building material such as paving bricks and partitioning, is another beneficiary of the technology.

Chaired by Clough Engineering patriarch Harold Clough, APT began life more than a decade ago. But it was not until a $7.5 million capital injection into joint venture vehicle Advanced Nano Technologies by Korean group Samsung Corning that inroads were made into the commercialisation of the nano research.

The company now employs more than 40 people at its Welshpool headquarters, even though it is yet to post a profit.

APT CEO Paul McCormick said other companies were hustling for the same space but sales figures were already surpassing forecasts.

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