Hot on the heels of a successful $16 million capital raising, Perth robotic technology company FBR has wrapped up the first phase of a pilot program to build residential homes in Mexico using its Hadrian X bricklayer.
FBR (ASX: FBR) told the market this week it had completed the build of four Mexican-style house structures for GP Vivienda using the Hadrian X bricklaying robot, which can lay more than 200 blocks per hour.
The Mexican milestone lays the foundation for the two companies to progress with the “block development” stage of a building pilot program agreement.
GP Vivienda is a subsidiary of Grupo GP, one of the largest homebuilders in Mexico.
As part of an agreement first signed in 2018, FBR used Hadrian X to build four Mexican-style two-bed, one-bath house structures. Two of the structures were built indoors at FBR’s High Wycombe facility east of Perth while the other two were built simultaneously side-by-side outdoors to emulate the most economical operating process for Hadrian X in a residential development in Mexico.
The latest building block of the pilot deal with GP Vivienda offsets some of the challenges of marketing Hadrian X internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also highly encouraging for FBR, which believes its bricklaying robot is well-suited to deliver fast and cheap construction of two-and-one affordable homes in Mexico.
FBR remains engaged with builders in Western Australia and on the east coast though it is the large markets in countries such as Mexico – where there is an acute shortage of affordable housing – where the Hadrian X technology is being seen as a much-needed cost and time-saving machine.
Importantly, the Hadrian technology – Hadrian X and its upcoming models – is being marketed as complementary to physical bricklaying by offering a solution for large-scale jobs where speed, durability and cost are vital.
“Completing two structures side by side simultaneously for the first time without having to move the Hadrian X from its starting position was a great demonstration of its capabilities and the value it presents to a market like Mexico, where there is an acute shortage of high-quality, affordable housing,” FBR managing director Mike Pivac said.
“GP Vivienda is a vertically integrated company with the capability to produce its own concrete masonry unit blocks as well as building complete residential master-planned communities, making them an ideal partner for FBR in the region.
“We look forward to continuing our work with them on the building pilot program agreement and completing the necessary preparatory work to ensure when the time is right we can deploy our robotic technology in the region to address the housing needs of Mexico.”
The Mexican milestone closely followed the completion of a $16 million capital raising by FBR, with institutional and sophisticated investors subscribing for around 281 million shares at 5.7c each.
The raising was at a 16% discount to FBR’s prevailing volume-weighted average price. The raising delivered instant gains to participants, with the Perth company’s stock last night closing at 6c.
The proceeds from the placement, which was lead-managed by MST Financial, will be used by FBR to fund the ongoing commercialisation pathway with a particular focus over the next 12 months on:
First build of a commercial structure for an end user in Australia using the current Hadrian X 109 model;
Building further residential homes for builders in Western Australia using Hadrian X 109
Continuing to improve the Hadrian X 109 base model to achieve maximum productivity and therefore commercial competitiveness from existing architecture;
Completing pilot programs for overseas customers; and
Proving commercial competitiveness of the next upgraded iteration of the robot, the Hadrian X 109+.
“We believe this positions the company very well for scaling of its robotic technology and unique Wall as a Service commercial model beyond our initial current active market of Western Australia when the COVID-19 situation eases in other global markets,” Mr Pivac said about the capital raising.
“We are also looking forward to demonstrating the next iteration of the Hadrian X.”