Aqua Metals stock sale imminent, outlines ‘master licensing’


Aqua Metals, the US electrochemical lead recycler, announced on November 15 it was about to sell shares of its common stock. A price will be announced at the time of the sale. Its stock was quoted on the Nasdaq at $11.37 on the day of the announcement.

Separately, the firm recently revealed that it was continuing to look at a licensing model to expand its operations and was evaluating sites for its second and third plants and transitioning into a licensing model in 2017.

The money raised from the offering will be used to “accelerate its AquaRefining product development and licensing efforts inclusive of pre-sales and post-sales support staff and infrastructure, enhance processes to improve operating margins, regulatory activities, working capital and other general corporate purposes.”

Chief executive officer Stephen Clarke said in early November: “We are generating very strong interest in licensing the third parties. And it’s been our stated goal that we would expand this business through a fully serviced licence business model in which we will provide equipment to third parties. We will maintain it and provide spare parts and continued maintenance to third parties on a licensing basis.

“We have now tested feed stocks from third parties, already successfully taking in feed stocks from third parties that have expressed an interest in licensing on equipment and we’ve made lead from them.”

He said he expected to start shipping licensed AquaRefining equipment during 2017. He said he wanted to make sure “we’d learnt everything we can and not fall in to the trap of having our licensees beyond beta testers. We’re not a software company, we are an equipment company and we live or breathe on the reliability of the equipment services that we provide.

“We’ve developed a master franchisee model. And what we want to do is complete about nine months of operation and trade before we start delivering modules to third parties, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to wait for nine months before we actually establish any licensing relationships.”

Clarke said: “We’ve been looking at how we manage very large regions like China, India and potentially the former Soviet Union. And we’ve developed a master licence approach and we are really working hard with China as an example, right now with parties who could be credible partners in China and would manage a master licence and manage the sub-licensing and all of the actions that go around that.

In terms of its operational schedule Clarke also said: “we are behind where we thought we would be in terms of commissioning”, with one single six electrolyzer model installed so far and another five commissioned, but there had already been a 50% increase in capacity in the Tahoe Reno plant in Nevada.

Clarke estimated that investors would be receiving an internal rate of return of around 30% for each 60 tons per day that was processed.