Aspen Aerogels Files for IPO
Exciting news in the aerogel industry! Aspen Aerogels, the world’s leading manufacturer of aerogel insulation, has filed for an initial public offering of its common stock. Aspen, which expects to trade under the stock symbol “ASPN” on the New York Stock Exchange, is looking to raise a maximum of $86.25M with this initial offering. Aspen’s aerogel blankets are unparalleled in the industry and are widely recognized as the world’s best thermal insulation next to vacuum insulating panels, however unlike VIPs Aspen’s blankets aren’t susceptible to popping, are flexible, and can be easily cut and sewn. Aspen’s products include Pyrogel XT-E, a flexible high-temperature insulating blanket used to insulate pipelines in refineries, Cryogel Z, a superinsulating blanket used for cryogenic tanks, and Spaceloft, a superinsulating blanket used for building and construction. Spaceloft, for example, has an R-value greater than 9.5 per inch, making it over three times better insulating per unit thickness than fiberglass and almost two times better insulating than polyurethane foam. This isn’t the first time Aspen’s filed for an IPO. Aspen originally filed for an IPO on June 24, 2011 with the intent of raising $115M on the NASDAQ exchange, later retracted the filing, possibly due to an unfortunate coincident global downturn in construction. However, with the economy recovering and Aspen’s products being increasingly adopted, now is the perfect time for an Aspen IPO. Aspen reports that 24 of the world’s top 25 refineries use their products, an economic case that is not hard to understand. Incredibly, today only 20% of pipelines in refineries are insulated–in an industry where energy = $ this is a pretty astounding figure! The reason being, however, is that traditional insulation is very difficult to install and maintain. Fiberglass, for example, entrains moisture underneath causing corrosion of the underlying pipe (corrosion under insulation or CUI) and can be easily damaged when walked on. Aspen’s products are hydrophobic, meaning they repel water, eliminating CUI. Additionally, their materials are quite sturdy and resistant to compression, and, unlike foams, don’t crush and lose their insulating ability when walked on.
Aspen won’t be the only public company manufacturing aerogels–Cabot Corporation (NYSE:CBT) also manufactures aerogel materials in both particle and insulating blanket form. Cabot’s and Aspen’s products are quite different, however, and provide complementary functions for different applications. Regardless, with Aspen joining the ranks of other publicly-traded companies, it is an exciting time for the commercialization of aerogel.