Robot bricklayer FBR to raise $10m for commercialisation

Robot bricklayer FBR to raise $10m for commercialisation

Perth-based robotic bricklaying technology company FBR (ASX: FBR) is topping out a busy month of international deals with a $10 million placement to fund its growth, receiving firm commitments from institutional and sophisticated investors from Australia, the UK, Hong Kong and the US.

Having recently secured a contract for its Hadrian X construction robot to build up to 5,000 homes in Mexico, followed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure to identify opportunities for the technology, FBR is now laying the cash foundations for carrying out its commercialisation pathway.

"We are pleased to have attracted support from both existing and new institutional and sophisticated investors to help us progress the commercialisation of FBR’s technology," says the company's managing director and CEO Mike Pivac.

"The funds raised will position the company well to execute on and expand its current committed work pipeline and to capitalise on commercial opportunities that are frequently presenting themselves globally, particularly in North America and Europe."

The placement will involve issuing 222,222,222 new shares at 4.5 cents each, representing a 14 per cent discount to the five-day volume weighted average price (VWAP).

At the time of writing, FBR shares are down 5.66 per cent at 5 cents each, but are still well above the 3.5-cent level before the announcement with GP Vivienda, a master-planned community developer in Mexico.

Shortly after revealing that deal the company announced it had secured a $630,000 contract to supply prominent Perth builder Inspired Homes with its Wall as a Service (WaaS) and concrete slabs for 16 townhouses in a development in Willagee, WA.

Under the contract, FBR will supply the load bearing walls, the internal partition walls, and the concrete footings and slabs. Work on the project will start as soon as practicable after all necessary approvals have been granted, and is due for completion in May next year.

"We are excited to be adding another large project to our pipeline of work. This will be our largest project to date and we are looking forward to working with an industry leader in Inspired Homes," Pivac said on 8 November.

"FBR’s game-changing Hadrian X robot is in high demand, and we are seeing the industry participants with a strong customer focus working to ensure they are able to offer the benefits of building with the Hadrian X to their customers."

Two days later the UAE deal was announced alongside plans to set up an operating entity in the country over a time period of 24 to 36 months, as the Gulf region is known for attracting cutting edge construction technologies.

"The innovative thinking and appetite for new technology in the UAE presents an ideal environment for the introduction of our robotic technology to a new market, and the work that we’ve been doing to achieve acceptance of the Hadrian X and the Fastbrick Wall System in the UAE over the past three years is beginning to yield results," Pivac said at the time.

"With our Gulf representative embedded in the Dubai market since 2018, we have a firm intention to offering our solution to the region’s construction challenges."

A day after making that announcement, FBR then revealed it had completed an outdoor pilot build with global brick producer Weinerberger in Australia using porotherm clay blocks.

The two parties had intended to build the structure in Europe, and the house structure was built in a style commonly found in Europe with gable ends approximately five metres high, but the pilot took place in Australia instead due to travel restrictions.

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