Robotic brick laying company FBR (ASX: FBR) and Brickworks (ASX: BKW) have officially started a joint venture which will see the duo provide Wall as a Service operations to the Australian construction sector.
The duo has established Fastbrick Australia as a subsidiary to deliver the joint venture with each company owning a 50% stake.
Fastbrick Australia will now begin pilot program operations to test a new brick developed specifically for FBR’s Hadrian X construction robot.
“We are very pleased to have a joint venture partner in Australia with the reputation and scale of Brickworks to jointly offer Wall as a Service to the Australian market,” FBR chief executive officer Mike Pivac noted.
“Fastbrick Australia provides FBR with an opportunity in Australia to demonstrate the capabilities of the Hadrian X with the new optimised blocks developed with Brickworks and also to demonstrate and test our business model for the commercialisation of Wall as a Service, which we intent to scale on a global basis,” Mr Pivac added.
Under the initial pilot program, the joint venture plans to engage with building companies to provide structural brickwork for residential homes using Hadrian X.
Hadrian X is an autonomous brick laying robot that can build an entire house in less than three days using FBR’s patented 3D robotic brick laying system.
The joint venture anticipates the Wall as a Service activities will generate operating revenues as the technology is commercialised.
In February this year, FBR successfully completed it first outdoor construction of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home structure in Western Australia.
FBR share price movement
The official joint venture heralds a new era for FBR which has experienced volatility in its share price since December last year when global construction major Caterpillar and FBR discontinued a memorandum of understanding they had inked in mid-2017.
At the time, Caterpillar confirmed the decision to discontinue the MoU was a reflection of its strategic priorities and not an indication of FBR’s progress or technology.
From a high of $0.21 in mid-November, FBR’s share price started its decline with the cessation of the MoU and continued to slip – hitting a low of $0.07 in January.
Since January, FBR’s share price has hovered around $0.07 with the company’s share price at $0.073 before market open.