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Long-term R&D partnership with Tait Electronics

31 March 2006

Long-term R&D partnership with Tait Electronics

Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey announced today that the government is investing $10.6 million in a long term research and development programme run by Christchurch company Tait Electronics.

Steve Maharey says the funding, provided through the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, is designed to support New Zealand’s top exporting firms to undertake the sort of long-term research needed to accelerate their growth.

"Long-term research and development is critical to building more globally competitive firms," Steve Maharey said. "This initiative will help some of our top export firms take the next step in building their export base.”

Tait Electronics designs and manufactures mobile radio communication equipment and is using the funding, in addition to $26.7 million of their own funds, to help accelerate the transition of their radio products and systems from analogue to digital technologies.

"This is a hugely important project for Tait Electronics. The creation of new digital based mobile products will allow the company to break into new niche markets with significant potential for growth," Steve Maharey said.

"Tait is already a leading provider of radio communications equipment to 160 countries, and its research and development operation is one of the largest in its sector in Australasia."

Tait Managing Director Michael Chick says that ongoing investment in research and development has always been a key focus in keeping the company competitive.

“Virtually all our profit is reinvested in research and development, and the percentage of turnover we currently spend on research and development is well above the industry average. This means we can continue to release sophisticated new products and keep competitive by offering our customers some of the best products in the market.”

Mr Chick says the government funding will help accelerate their analogue to digital programme.

“Time is of the essence with this programme. It is critical that Tait has competitively featured digital products available in time to capitalise on this market transition before digital radio products become commoditised. This funding will support us to meet the challenging development goals already in place and reach our research goals in a shorter timeframe, while also achieving revenue and growth targets required for continued business success.”

Foundation for Research, Science and Technology CEO Murray Bain says partnering with firms such as Tait Electronics is of huge benefit to the country.

"For New Zealand to prosper, more New Zealand companies need to find market niches overseas and develop and commercialise innovative technology. Tait has a strong record of successfully completing large research and development projects and bringing exciting new products to market. Their analogue to digital research and development programme will ensure their company maintains its position as a major exporter, technology leader and employer in Canterbury.”

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Technology for Business Growth Strategic

The Technology for Business Growth Strategic (TBG Strategic) initiative is a targeted scheme for technologically sophisticated firms with greater than $50m per annum in export revenues and a successful track record of previous investment from the Foundation for Research Science and Technology.

This scheme involves developing partnering relationships on a series of phased projects and provides certainty to firms and encourages an increased commitment to ongoing research and development.

Applications are assessed through formal due diligence and analysis by a team of independent business and technology experts who make approval recommendations to Foundation management.

TBG Strategic grants are actively monitored by the Foundation to minimise investment risk.

ENDS

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