MP says sale of company 'short term'

Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014

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Taxpayers will miss out on a share of future profits after Government-owned Callaghan Industrial Research sold its remaining share in Lower Hutt-based superconductor company HTS-110, says Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard.

South Island manufacturer Scott Technology will become sole owner of HTS-110 after buying the 49 per cent of the company it does not own from Callaghan Industrial Research and American Superconductor Corporation.

The purchase is expected to be completed by the end of March.  It would be worth several million given that Scott Technology bought its original 50.65 per cent share in March 2011 for about $4.4m.

Mallard said HTS-110 was a ‘‘brilliant company’’ that had come out of many years research at Crown research unit Industrial Research Ltd, now a Crown agency known as Callaghan Innovation.

‘‘I didn’t have a problem with part of it being sold ... to capitalise the company in order to scale it up, to give staff a share of the profitable part of their work, or to partner with a successful technology company,’’ he said.  

‘‘To totally sell out is, however, a very short term move [by the Government]. The abandoning of a company that has made, and is continuing to make, technology breakthroughs means that not only will the taxpayer miss out on the profits but that we will lose valuable contacts that could help our continued innovation drive.’’

Scott Technology managing director Chris Hopkins said being sole owner of HTS-110 would see them ‘‘push some commercialisation aspects’’ for the business. HTS-110 would stay in Lower Hutt.

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