Tech company Nanoco says Brexit could limit supply of talent

October 11, 2016 9:40 AM EDT

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(Reuters) - Nanoco Group Plc, a technology company spun out of the University of Manchester, said Britain's vote to leave the European Union raised concerns over its ability to attract the foreign talent needed to maintain its development.

The company specializes in quantum dots -- semiconductor crystals 10,000 times finer than a human hair. They convert electrical energy into light and can be manipulated to produce precise colors, and are mostly used in televisions.

"Brexit is a concern and understanding what the restrictions on immigration and our ability to hire high quality people from around the world are is an absolute concern for us," Chief Executive Michael Edelman told Reuters.

"If we could get people locally, we would.... (But) I absolutely do not believe there's enough skill in the UK."

British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to tighten controls on immigration once Britain leaves the European Union.

Nanoco, which reported an annual loss of 12.6 million pounds ($15.7 million) on Tuesday, was evaluating its options, but had no plans to move its headquarters from the northern English city of Manchester, Edelman said.

The company said 22 people, or about 17 percent of its staff, were originally from outside Britain.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said earlier this month that Britain faced skill shortages and would continue to need workers from overseas in sectors such as engineering.

Nanoco, whose cadmium-free quantum dots are licensed by Dow Chemical Co and Merck KGaA, is one of the four biggest makers of the product. The other three are Nanosys Inc, QD Vision Inc and Quantum Materials Corp.

Edelman said he expected Nanoco to strike a deal in its current financial year to sell its product to a film production company, after having done a similar deal with Taiwan's Wah Hong Industrial Corp earlier this year.

($1 = 0.8042 pounds)

(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir)



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