Thursday, March 5, 2015

News: Woodford highlights promising Xeros

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Neil Woodford, one of the most respected fund managers in the UK, has highlighted Rotherham high-tech firm, Xeros, as one of the great science-based businesses that the UK is creating, based on academic research ideas.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), Xeros is a Leeds University spin-out that has developed a patented system using a unique method of special polymer beads rather than the usual large amounts of fresh water to clean clothes.

Woodford announced he was leaving Invesco Perpetual in October 2013 to set up his own fund management business. Investors followed, based on his track record of success, and the CF Woodford Equity Income Fund is now worth £1.7 billion.

As well as the likes of AstraZeneca, British American Tobacco and Rolls-Royce, the fund also holds shares in Xeros, which was admitted to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in March 2014, raising further capital to fund the continued growth of its commercial laundry business and support investment in research and development of its domestic laundry proposition.

Woodford first invested in Xeros in March 2013, providing capital to accelerate the roll-out of its commercial laundry cleaning system. Xeros could end up in the fund's longer term capital trust.

The first real innovation in the laundry industry in more than 60 years, the focus so far has been on commercial laundry systems which use at least 70% less water, up to 50% less energy and approximately 50% less detergent.

With contracts with major hotel chains, commercial laundries and gyms, Xeros is targeting the US, taking advantage of water scarcity and water cost issues, and bouyed by the financial incentives on offer. A domestic machine was showcased at an investors day at the end of 2014.

A spokesperson for Woodford Investment Management, said: "Since the launch of the CF Woodford Equity Income Fund, we have been rebuilding our exposure to Xeros, which we continue to view as a very exciting and promising long-term investment opportunity. Although it remains a relatively small position within the portfolio, we believe it represents a great example of the sort of "early-growth" businesses in which we are investing patience and capital."

Xeros will announce its results for the six months ended January 2015 31 on April 28.

Xeros website
Woodford Investment Management website

Images: Xeros

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