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Why the Advance NanoTek share price remains suspended

The Advance NanoTek Ltd (ASX: ANO) share price may still be in a trading halt, but that hasn’t stopped the company from releasing a business update.

What did Advance NanoTek announce?

This afternoon Advance NanoTek released a business update which included a vast array of news, complaints, and plans.

To understand what is going on, it is best to start right back at the beginning.

On March 16 the company requested a trading halt after its customer Astivita Ltd (ASX: AIR), whose managing director is the son of the chairman of both companies, brought to its attention a “highly progressed opportunity regarding the development of oral care products which could prevent the coronavirus cell multiplying.”

The request went on to explain that it wants to file a patent application and that both companies needed time to make arrangements regarding the ownership of the intellectual property in the new products and/or commercial arrangements.

The next day Advance NanoTek advised that there was a “typo” in the letter. It should actually have said: “The patent is looking at a range of oral care products that could inhibit the replication of the novel coronavirus inside the cells of the oral cavity/mouth.”

On March 19 it was revealed that the Enforcement Team at the ASX had sent the company a query letter and imposed a temporary suspension until their queries were answered.

This afternoon Advance NanoTek revealed that it responded to these queries but the ASX was not satisfied.

Managing director Geoff Acton explained: “It is astonishing that the ASX would seek to impose forced suspension of ANO’s shares for what can only be understood to be a result of the brevity of some responses (which were in the Board’s view the appropriate factual responses to ASX’s questions). The ASX has offered no clarification as to why the brevity is not acceptable to them nor have they tried to reframe their questions to elicit a different answer.”

Acton continued: “So, shareholders are aware, some of the questions raised by the ASX were technical in nature and in, the Board’s view, only capable of answer by reference to the patent and the scientific papers referred to therein. It is not appropriate for the Company to attempt to summarise for the ASX matters of such a technical and scientific nature, at the risk of being accused of not effectively summarising the matter.”

“The only appropriate response in the Board’s view is to direct the ASX to the source documents where all the technical detail is available. Of course, this is the Company’s best guess at the ASX’s concerns as it has to date not offered any additional guidance on which responses are deficient or why,” he concluded.

Nasdaq listing.

The company is so unhappy with the current situation between it and the ASX that it is now investigating a listing on the NASDAQ.

It believes that with 70% of its sales in the U.S. and its market capitalisation in excess of $200 million, it may be eligible to list on the U.S. market.

Whatever happens next, shareholders will no doubt be hoping that this won’t be another iSignthis Limited (ASX: ISX) situation. The payments company’s shares have been suspended from trade since October due to a much publicised dispute with the ASX.

Business update.

Outside the aforementioned saga, Advance NanoTek has continued to operate and reported that demand for its products remains solid.

The company advised that one of its large customers in the US has reconfirmed their prior orders for 80 MT plus for April, May and June. It has also received two new orders from Merck, which doubles their orders for calendar 2020 to $3.2 million. 

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Advance NanoTek Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.