Martin Jetpack maker to list on ASX next Tuesday

Christchurch-based Martin Aircraft has raised $A27 million ahead of listing on the Australian stock exchange next week.

The company confirmed that Glenn Martin, the co-founder of its flagship product Martin Jetpack, will ring the listing bell in Sydney at 11am on Tuesday to herald its launch on the ASX, to fund plans which it says will make it the world's first commercial jetpack manufacturer by 2016.

The oversubscribed IPO closed last Friday after raising $A27 million ($28.2 million) ahead of listing, setting the offer price at 40 Australian cents per share. This means Martin Aircraft will have a market capitalisation of about $A97.11 million upon listing.  

A Chinese entrepreneurial investor, Hong Kong exchange-listed KuangChi Science, bought most of those shares – or 52.5 million – for $A21 million.

KuangChi will invest a further $A23 million to $A29 million within 30 months of Martin Aircraft’s listing date, in a deal which came about after KuangChi’s chief executive, 31-year-old Liu Ruopeng, was introduced to Martin Aircraft when he accompanied Chinese president Xi Jinping on a visit to New Zealand last November.

The two parties will form joint venture company HKCo, 51%-controlled by KuangChi, which will be responsible for distribution, sales and development activities on behalf of Martin Aircraft in China and Hong Kong once the jetpack has been fully commercialised.

Formative investors cut their stakes in the company ahead of the IPO. Mr Martin sold $1.5 million of the stock taking his stake to 15.9%, while Jenny Morel's venture capital firm No. 8 Ventures sold $1.9 million worth of shares to hold 19.2% post-IPO. Ms Morel also halved her own personal stake selling 268,519 shares for $107,407.

Martin Aircraft is developing the Martin Jetpack for recreational, surveillance, and emergency response use, and an unmanned aerial vehicle version the Martin Skyhook, to use in conflict and search and rescue operations.

The company says the Martin Jetpack can fly for over 30 minutes, compared with competitors that have flying times of between 30 and 75 seconds, at speeds up to 74 km/h and altitudes of up to 1000 metres. The company expects to make its first jetpack delivery in the second quarter of 2016.

Martin Aircraft made a loss of $3 million in its 2014 financial year and will not make any commercial product for another two years, although says it could make up to 500 Jetpacks a year at its Woolston, Christchurch facility – or a gross $US100 million at the Jetpack’s full retail price of $US200,000.

In August 2013, the Jetpack P12 became the first Martin Aircraft prototype to gain Civil Aviation Authority certification for manned flight. The jetpack does not have approval to fly anywhere but New Zealand.

It has a letter of intent from the US Department of Homeland Security to provide jetpacks and says it is negotiating another letter of intent with an undisclosed business in the renewable crude oil production sector.

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