KUALA LUMPUR: VS Industry Bhd has subscribed to 12.1% equity interest in London-listed vehicle operator monitoring technology firm Seeing Machines Ltd (SML) for ￡6.74mil (RM38.6mil).|
The Australia-based company has proprietary intellectual property and algorithms that enable facial tracking from video and live camera feeds, with applications such as monitoring driver/operator fatigue.
VS Industry, a Johor-based OEM contract manufacturer, told Bursa Malaysia that SML was involved in operator monitoring and intervention sensing technologies and services in the automotive, mining and construction, commercial road transport, rail and aviation industries.
On the rationale for the subscription, the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) firm pointed out that SML was an award-winning technology company with a focus on vision based human machine interfaces.
“The subscription will be strategic and beneficial to the global EMS business of VS Industry and its subsidiaries as it provides an opportunity for the group to extend its reach to become a global manufacturing company as well as to participate as a collaborative research and development partner, which will bode well for the group’s future growth,” the company said.
“The board also believes that the investment in SML will boost innovation within the group and will allow for synergistic benefits, and thereby spurring financial growth,” it added.
VS Industry’s unit VS International Venture Pte Ltd (VSIV) signed an agreement on Monday to subscribe to 129.65 million new SML shares at an issue price of ￡0.052 -- a premium of 20% over their 30-day volume weighted average market price up to March 16. The subscription is expected to be completed on Friday.
Having at least 10% of SML, VSIV can nominate a person with suitable skills and experience to serve as a non-executive director on SML’s board. SML has announced that VS Industry executive director Ng Yong Kang had joined its board.
SML is listed on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange, AIM is LSE’s international market for smaller growing companies.
For the financial year ended June 30, 2015, SML incurred a net loss of A$11.28mil (RM34.34mil) and had net assets of A$28.96mil (RM88.16mil).
On SML’s prospects, VS Industry said for the full financial year ending June 30, 2016, the SML board expected a higher total revenue than the previous year due to the Caterpillar Global Mining license fee of A$21.85mil (RM66.51mil) for SML’s off-road fatigue monitoring system.
“Excluding this revenue, other sales and service revenue may be marginally lower than the last full year, depending on how quickly current assessments for the fleet product convert to larger deployments. SML is building a strong pipeline of fleet sales across several regions, driven by a number of assessments and opportunities as outlined in its recent quarterly fleet update,” it said.
It added that SML was also confident of increased activity and sales through construction machinery giant Caterpillar across its broad target markets of mining, construction, cement and quarry and forestry.
“With the transition from a direct-to-market mining business to a royalty arrangement with Caterpillar, SML has refocused its efforts toward the automotive, fleet, aerospace and rail markets and technologies,” said VS Industry.
Meanwhile, SML chairman Terry Winters said in a statement that the funds raised from VS Industry would allow the company to accelerate it momentum in the automotive industry.
“There are enormous opportunities at the moment for our technology to become a critical part of the cars of the future,” he said.
VS Industry shares shed 1 sen to close at RM1.25 on Tuesday, with 5.45 million shares changing hands.
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