Powerhouse Ventures plans Australian stock exchange listing

A HydroWorks Pelton runner. HydroWorks is part of Powerhouse's portfolio.
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A HydroWorks Pelton runner. HydroWorks is part of Powerhouse's portfolio.

A company that develops ideas into commercial successes is set to list on the Australian stock exchange.

Christchurch-based Powerhouse Ventures invests in intellectual property and technology, shaping concepts into businesses that can compete on a global scale. 

The intellectual property is mostly sourced from New Zealand's universities.

Among Powerhouse's portfolio are Fluent, software that detects emotions by tracking micro-expressions, Avalia immunotherapy, which develops platform technology to design cancer treatments and HydroWorks, which makes turbines for electricity generation. It now has more than 50 staff and multimillion-dollar turnover.

READ MORE: HydroWorks targets ambitious growth

Powerhouse chairman Kerry McDonald said the board had appointed Australian stockbrokers to help with the planned ASX initial public offering (IPO) which is scheduled for the second quarter of 2016, subject to market conditions.

"This is an exciting and important step in Powerhouse's continued development. We already have a strong and very supportive shareholder base in New Zealand.

"Our mission is to create global businesses from university-generated intellectual property and we are currently working with 19 portfolio companies, each with its own innovations and ideas. Since 2010 we have generated an internal rate of return based on our investment in portfolio companies of approximately 30 per cent per annum and aim to continue this performance. However, to do this and grow the business we need to access more capital."

McDonald said Powerhouse was ready to expand into the Australian market and was talking to Australian universities and research agencies.

"We are currently assessing a number of attractive commercialisation opportunities from Australian intellectual property. Our experience in New Zealand has been that universities are a strong source of compelling deal flow."

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Managing director Stephen Hampson said Powerhouse's model was to work closely with universities and researchers to identify break-through innovations.

"Since 2010, Powerhouse has invested in early stage IP by applying its commercialisation skills in four key research areas of cleantech and engineering, information and communication technologies, agritech and environmental and medical and healthcare sectors.

"We aim to expand our reach into Australia to work with both New Zealand and Australian researchers that are creating world class innovations. With the right support, guidance and well-timed investment, these ideas can be grown to achieve significant commercial success."

He said Powerhouse would make between six and 10 new investments each year but as the scale of the companies was getting larger, more capital was needed to retain Powerhouse's stake in them.

"We work to help these companies develop and become globally competitive so we need access to sufficient capital to invest. We do bring in third-party capital but we look to maintain our position in these businesses."

Hampson said he did expect any shortage of ideas to invest in. "The deal flow is very strong."

 - Stuff

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