Future Mobility Solutions buys US boat-maker Willard Marine

Willard Marine's military-grade rigid inflatable boat
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Future Mobility Solutions, the company formerly known as Sealegs International, has agreed to buy US boat-maker Willard Marine for US$6.85 million.

The Auckland-based company has signed a conditional agreement to buy Willard, paying US$1.65 million in cash upfront and two further payments of US$2.6 million in each of the following two years, it said in a statement. The deal will be funded from internal resources and debt, and is subject to shareholder approval and is expected to be completed before the end of the year. It had cash and equivalents of $3.2 million as at March 31.

Willard builds military grade rigid inflatable boats and generated annual revenue of US$13.1 million in calendar 2016, with customers including the US Navy, US Army Corps of Engineers, LA County Fire Department, and foreign military.

The deal "should broaden the FMS group's geographic reach by adding the United States to the group's strengths in Europe and north and west Africa through Sillinger, in the southern African continent, Indian Ocean, and the UK through Gemini and in the Asia Pacific through Sealegs," chief executive Mark Broadley said. "Willard should deepen and expand the FMS group's customer base, especially in the military sector where Willard is especially strong."

The company grew out of amphibious boat maker Sealegs, changing its name and NZX stock ticker in January, after signalling plans to expand into new markets such as drones and sea structures.

Shareholders will vote this week on delisting from the NZX and relisting on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market.

The shares last traded at 12.5 cents and have gained 8.7 percent this year.


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