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Martin Aircraft taps investors for $5M ahead of planned IPO

Martin Aircraft taps investors for $5M ahead of plans to raise as much as $20M in IPO

By Suze Metherell

Aug. 8 (BusinessDesk) - Martin Aircraft Co, which plans to make the world's first commercial jetpack, has so far raised half of its $5 million target by selling shares to investors ahead of plans to raise as much as $20 million in an initial public offering as part of a listing on the Australian stock exchange mooted for later this year.

The Christchurch-based company has tapped "sophisticated investors" for capital, saying it will spend $2.1 million on research and development, $1.2 million on salaries and IPO costs, $701,500 on marketing and $985,000 on production of five showcase jetpacks, the offer documents show. It also flags plans for a $15 million to $20 million Australian listing in late 2014 or early 2015 to further scale up its production.

As at July 1, the company had raised $2.5 million in its pre-IPO, with a minimum investment at $49,500, representing 165,000 shares at 30 cents apiece. Currently Martin Aircraft's largest shareholder is No.8 Ventures, backed by investing doyen and the company's chair Jenny Morel, at 31 percent, while founder Glenn Martin holds 28 percent. The company said it completed a 10 for 1 share split to reduce the pre-IPO price to 30 cents.

In the year ended March 31, 2013, the company reported a loss of $1.76 million, on $5,206 of sales and $27,113 in other income, including New Zealand government grants, the offer documents show.

Martin Aircraft hired Sydney-based Axstra Capital to manage the capital raise, advise on an IPO and help spruik to wouldbe shareholders here and across the Tasman. The company is touting 40-pre orders for jetpacks representing $6 million in sales, with a further potential $20 million worth of serious interest. The jetpack can fly for 30 minutes with a 30 kilometer range at speeds of up to 74 km/hour, compared to its nearest competitor with only 30 seconds of flight.

The company wants to target the light helicopter market, dividing potential customers between government, for surveillance and remote operations uses, first responder, for emergency, security and rescue uses,and recreational, for tourism and flight school uses.

The company claims over 100,000 enquiries on its jetpacks, and says it has $42.9 million of potential pipeline orders, including serious enquiries from a Mexican government agency worth up to $14.6 million, as well as from the United Arab Emirates and South Africa governments, private companies in Australia, Canada, the US and Jordan, and non-civil interest from Thailand, Qatar and Egypt.

A Russian commercial security firm, a Brazilian fire department and a Kuwaiti medical customer have also made serious enquiries.

It has appointed Norton Rose Fullbright as legal advisors to the IPO, Bell Gully Lawyers as New Zealand legal advisors, and PwC as investigating accountants.


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