QUICKSTEP Holdings is planning to list on the Australian Stock Exchange in early October as it seeks $6 million to commercialise technology used in the manufacture of carbon fibre parts. Chaired by outgoing Orbital chief executive Peter Cook, the company has developed a unique patented process used in the manufacture of lightweight composite materials for wide-ranging industries, including the aerospace and automotive sectors. Developed in Perth over the past decade, the process has attracted widespread inter-national interest because of its potential to significantly reduce the cost of parts produced from composite materials, according to managing director Nick Noble, who founded the company in 2001. "The market worldwide for carbon fibre parts is estimated at around $US11.3 billion," Mr Noble said. While he didn’t want to put a figure on the potential size of the market for the manufacturing process, Mr Noble said Quickstep would look to tap into the strong demand for the material. The Quickstep process comprises a patented suite of technologies that use fluid curing for manu-facturing carbon fibre components. The process produces the material at a faster rate and at a better quality than conventional autoclave manufacturing processes, according to Mr Noble. Quickstep launched its first fully functioning production unit at the company’s facilities in Canning Vale in 2002 and has since expanded through participation with a number of major international companies. During its development, the process has also benefited from technical input and scientific review from the CSIRO. The company has set up three pilot production facilities in Japan with Toyota, Geelong with Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing and in Manchester in conjunction with the University of Manchester and UK-based aerospace and technology giant, BAE Systems. Quickstep plans to list on October 5, issuing up to 24 million shares at an issue price of 25 cents per share. Upon listing, the company will have around 144 million shares on issue, giving it a market capitalisation of about $28 million. Specifically, the company’s prospectus states the funds will be used to expand alliances with major companies, establish additional production facilities, and develop multiple income streams by licensing its technology to major original equipment manufacturers and suppliers to the global automotive, aerospace, defence, marine, wind energy and general industrial markets. Perth-based State One Stockbroking is sponsoring broker to the issue, having earlier raised $4 million in seed capital. State One managing director Alan Hill, who is understood to have approached Mr Cook to chair the company, said the bus-iness prospects for Quickstep were promising, with research suggesting the market for composite materials was growing by around 10 to 15 per cent a year. "I’ve heard of no substantial claims that anyone else can do this," Mr Hill said.
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