A statement from I-Tech CEO Philip Chaabane:
“As we sail into 2019 I look back at the series of monumental milestones achieved by I-Tech in 2018 and am energised for a prosperous year ahead. 2018 was a big year for I-Tech. We reached the highest highs as a company this year and celebrated the greatest commercial successes for our product, the antifouling ingredient Selektope®.
One of the biggest milestones was the listing of I-Tech shares on Nasdaq First North in May and the company becoming publicly held. We have also welcomed multiple new team members and made strategic acquisitions to strengthen our supply chain in order to upscale Selektope® production for anticipated future demand.
As a company we continue to push the boundaries of innovation and we are not afraid to challenge the status quo. This year we deployed new packaging for Selektope® that changes the way that biocides are introduced during the paint manufacturing process. Our drop in, dust free expanded polystyrene dissolvable packaging allows paint manufacturers to add Selektope® to their paint in a completely sealed container, severely reducing safety risks – a game-changer for the industry.
Out on the high seas, over 300 ships are sailing with Selektope®-powered antifouling coatings and according to volumes of Selektope® on order from global paint manufacturers for delivery in 2019, the number of ships protected against hard fouling thanks to Selektope® is set to significantly increase next year.
We share details on our achievement highlights in the article below, but I also ask you to ‘watch this space!’ as 2019 will be another exciting year for Selektope® . For now, I’d like to wish all of our customers and ship owners reaping the benefits of Selektope® -powered antifouling coatings much prosperous commercial success in 2019.”
2018 has been a remarkable year for I-Tech AB. We kicked off a series of supply chain-strengthening actions early in the year, the first being the appointment an exclusive importer and agent in South Korea. This action was undertaken in response to high demand for Selektope® from shipyards in the region and many ship owners running the risk of extended idling in the biofouling hotspots around South Korean ship yards and ports.
In March, I-Tech AB announced the strategic acquisition of manufacturing process technology and IP, for the production of medetomidine (the chemical name for Selektope®), from Cambrex Corporation (NYSE: CBM). The transaction consolidated the supply chain and improved our industrial capabilities giving us a unique competitive situation to fuel future growth by supporting our plans to secure superior production capacity and to ensure commercially competitive prices for our customers and deliver high volume demands for Selektope®.
The first quarter of 2018 also yielded success in the application of Selektope® in silicone-epoxy coatings. Whereas silicone-epoxy systems (epoxies are commonly known as ‘hard coatings’) offer abrasion resistance and easy to clean properties, they still have limitations when exposed to sea water at static conditions. Therefore, it was of great importance to I-Tech to support paint manufacturers developing epoxy products that contain Selektope®. American paint specialist Wearlon®, part of Plastic Maritime Corp., and I-Tech conducted trials of a Wearlon® epoxy-silicone product containing Selektope® over a period of 19 months. A successful formulation was achieved and tests concluded that the addition of Selektope® to the Wearlon® epoxy-silicone coating resulted in significantly improved antifouling properties.
May 28 was the date of I-Tech AB’s first official day trading on Nasdaq First North following a previously completed share issue that was oversubscribed. Since listing on the Swedish Stock Exchange the I-Tech share price has increased from the subscription price of 20.5SEK per share to 60.00 SEK per share (at Midday 20/12/2018).
In the same month we became a member of the Clean Shipping Index (CSI) in support of their vision to encourage ‘clean ships sailing in healthy seas’. Through our membership, we have been encouraging environmentally responsible decisions around antifouling coating procurement to users of CSI’s holistic labelling system which ranks the environmental performance of ships. We have also been promoting the benefits of choosing less environmentally impactful antifoulings and educate CSI users on the impact of coating types, such as those containing Selektope®, on the ranking of ships under the labelling system.
In August, we unveiled a game changing packaging solution that challenges the status quo on how biocides are added during the paint manufacturing process. Our ‘drop-in, dust-free’ dissolvable expanded polystyrene (EPS) container packaging system allows paint manufacturers to add Selektope to paint in a sealed container allows for the dust free charging of 100% Selektope® powder material to a liquid paint batch, eliminating dust formation completely. The EPS container t fully dissolves almost instantaneously without leaving any traces in the coating system.
In November, we received very positive results from a tanker that had sailed past milestone in its dry dock schedule with hull inspections confirming a clean, barnacle-free hull resulting from the use of a Selektope®-containing antifouling paint. Team Calypso is a 46,067dwt chemical and products carrier owned and operated by Team Tankers International Ltd. During the past three years, the vessel was in active operation across a wide range of trade routes globally, with more than 50% of its operating time spent in areas of high biofouling with high sea temperatures. The tanker has also encountered several long idling periods of 25 days or more. An underwater hull inspection conducted at month 35 in the tanker’s drydock schedule established that Team Calypso’s hull is completely barnacle free with no soft fouling coverage. Independent third-party data analysis verified total added resistance on Team Calypso’s hull and propeller due to fouling was exceptionally low compared to that expected for an average ship of same age and days out of dry-dock: 12% against up to 30% expected total added resistance. Of that 12%, added resistance on the hull accounted for 8% whereas added resistance on the propeller accounts for 4%. The development rate registered at a low level of approximately 0.4% per month, compared to an expected rate of between 0.5% to 1.5%.
As we sailed towards the end of the year, our customer Chugoku Marine Paints (CMP) confirmed a supply order amounting to 36MSEK. The order represents the largest order of Selektope placed to-date and will be delivered during 2019. This follow-up order fulfils CMP’s previous minimum commitments ahead of time and reflects the increased demand of our barnacle-repellent active agent within the range of marine antifouling products offered by CMP. Since their launch in 2016, CMP’s Selektope®-containing marine coatings SeaFlo Neo CF Premium and SeaGrand Prix 880HS Plus alongside other Selektope®-containing antifoulings offered by other paint manufacturers have gained considerable uptake in the market as they are designed and proven to optimize hull performance over an extensive time in operation and offer superior static protection against hard fouling.
I-Tech also made two appointments to the team this year. Ba-Vu Nguyen assumed the role of Supply Chain and Logistics Manager and Monica Kettelhoit joined the team in the role of Office Manager.
All that is left to say is that, what a year it has been for I-Tech and Selektope® ! We look forward to 2019!