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Rex Bionics seeks back-door listing on London’s AIM exchange in 9.5m MedTech deal

Auckland-based Rex Bionics, which builds robotic exoskeletons for wheelchair users, is seeking a backdoor listing on the London Stock Exchange's growth-orientated AIM market in a deal valuing it at £9.5 million.

London-based Union MedTech, which is listed on the UK's ICAP Securities and Derivatives Exchange, has agreed to buy Rex Bionics in an all-scrip deal which will leave the New Zealand company holding 96 percent of the new entity. Union MedTech, which currently has about 34 million shares outstanding, will issue 761 million shares at 1.25 pence apiece to buy Rex Bionics, the UK company said in a statement.

"We have assessed multiple investment opportunities and were highly impressed by the RBL team and the calibre of the REX technology," Union MedTech chief executive Jeremy Curnock Cook said. "REX offers medical, psychosocial and functional benefits that could transform the lives of many wheelchair users around the world, combined with the potential to generated significant cost-savings for healthcare providers globally."

Trading in Union MedTech shares has been suspended, and the stock last traded at 1.35 pence, valuing the company at about £459,000. As at May 31, the British company had cash on hand and at the bank of some £619,000. It reported a first-half loss of some £75,000 on zero turnover in the six months ended May 31.

The deal is conditional on Union MedTech withdrawing from the ISDX and listing on the AIM market and the company raising additional equity to finance further development of the bionic technology. Because the deal constitutes a reverse takeover it will require shareholder approval.

Rex Bionics, which counts Jenny Morel-managed No 8 Ventures as a cornerstone shareholder with about 38 percent, reported a loss of $2.77 million in the 12 months ended March 31 on sales of $780,000, according to the Union MedTech statement.

Since May this year, the New Zealand firm sold eight of its adjustable REX 2 units, which are designed for multiple users, to rehabilitation clinics and research hospitals in the US, Europe and Asia.

Once the acquisition is complete Rex Bionics' founding developer Richard Little will join the Union MedTech board, and the British company will change its name to Rex Bionics. Union MedTech plans to fund the launch and speed up the commercialisation of the REX exoskeletons.

Rex Bionics' Auckland-based team of robotics technology experts are expected to remain with the company after the acquisition.


Comments and questions

So does No.8 Ventures make or lose money relative to its investment in this?

It would be a nice change if Ms Morel was getting a valuation uplift for once...

I understand that the maximum investment under the venture funds is 15% of the total fund, so no 8's investment in this would be at most around NZ$5 - 6m. According to the above No 8 owns 38% of GBP9.5m so a value of around NZ$7 million so there is some uplift, if only just.

Certainly does not meet investors expectations on returns.

Have they given a reason for the AIM listing over a NZX listing.

My guess is it will be more hassle than it is worth unless they plan to move over there. The Directors/CEO should get a few free trips to London out of it though so that's one positive.