4RF rescued by Israeli Soda Stream investor

BUSINESSDESK: Israeli private equity group Fortissimo Capital has acquired 4RF Ltd for an undisclosed sum, allowing the award-winning Wellington-based microwave radio products developer to continue its growth path after its holding company was forced into receivership.

The funding will allow 4RF to hire workers and accelerate product development and sales worldwide, the company said.

“We’re ecstatic. They are the perfect partner for us,” 4RF chief executive Ian Troughton told BusinessDesk. “The key thing is that we have an investor that wants to grow the business considerably and has huge growth ambitions for us.”

He said Fortissimo wanted to keep existing workers in place and he will stay on leading the company.

Based in Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel, Fortissimo’s investments include Nasdaq-listed Soda Stream International and Afimilk, which makes computerised systems for dairy farms and herd management, according to its website.

It has nearly $US500 million under management, a recent statement says. Its founder and managing partner is Yuval Cohen, a Harvard-educated venture capitalist.

Mr Troughton and various family interests held shares in 4RF Communications, which was placed in receivership in April after failing to reach agreement on restructuring some $5.5 million of convertible notes.

Other shareholders included Australia’s Carnegie, Wylie and Orion New Zealand, an investment company owned by Christchurch City Council and Selwyn District Council.

At the time of the receivership, the 4RF operating company was placed in a separate vehicle to continue business while options were investigated to sell the business or find new capital.

The proceeds of the sale of the operating company will allow the receivers to make distributions to creditors of 4RF Communications.

4RF had revenue of $20.4 million in the year ended March 31, 2010, the latest accounts filed with the Companies Office reveal. It made a net loss of $820,000 that year, according to the accounts.

Its products include its Aprisa SCADA point-to-multipoint radio for use by oil, gas and utility companies and a point-to-point microwave link product, according to its website.

ANZ National is owed $4.1 million by 4RF Communications, a report from receivers PwC says.

The company has won local and bank-sponsored export awards and received capital funding from the government-backed Tech NZ fund.

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