HomeWorld BusinessUK firm to launch world’s first automated vessel identification, tracking system

UK firm to launch world’s first automated vessel identification, tracking system

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Software Radio Technology (SRT) last Thursday said it was raising £2,5 million via a share placing to accelerate the launch of two products — its next generation boat identification system and a new man-overboard device.

At the same time a number of the large shareholders in the company, including chairman Simon Rogers, have agreed to sell stock to satisfy institutional demand.

Chief executive Simon Tucker said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding and welcome some new and significant names to our share register.

“The additional funding will enable us to capitalise further on the multiple opportunities we see developing in the global automated identification systems and vessel tracking markets.

“Specifically, the funds will enable us to accelerate our planned product developments and launch our new identifier and man over board products in 2011, instead of 2012 as originally planned and expand our sales activities across all markets.

“The funds will also provide additional working capital to improve lead times and supply chain flexibility for our existing range of products and to support our customers coping with high market demand.”

SRT has carved itself a potentially lucrative niche with automatic identification systems (AIS) used in boats.

The AIS is like an electronic name tag: it shows the name of the vessel and its location.

The technology behind it brings together VHF radio, GPS and the software used in mobile telephony.

The company has blazed a trail and is the first mover in the space — although it has competition in the form of Weatherdock of Germany and Taiwanese firm All-Teck Marine, which are about two years behind SRT.

Currently all vessels over 300 tonnes are mandated by international maritime laws to carry these automatic identification systems.

However, local mandates in India, China, the US and EU will require boats to carry these devices.

Today’s fundraiser will allow the company to remain at least one step ahead of its competitors as it develops smaller, more powerful AIS units, while adapting the technology for products such as the man- overboard device.

It will also allow the firm to buy more components as it attempts to meet demand for AIS systems.

The company has placed 6,25 million shares at 40p each.

The fact it didn’t have to discount the shares suggests there was heavy institutional demand.

This also explains why Rogers sold 2,2 million shares, taking his stake down to 14,1 %. Jonathan Horne and Lester Industries sold 1, 8 million and 2 million shares, respectively.

There is already a modest profit for the new investors with SRT trading up 1,24p at 41,49p.

The cash call follows a strong set of interim figures last week on the back of which chief executive Tucker made the rounds of City institutions and investors.

Certainly, analysts seem to be warming to the story with the share price up 270% since the start of the year.

Today’s placing, however, is a huge vote of confidence in the strategy of SRT and its prospects.

“The fundraising will enable the company to accelerate product development and broaden the addressable market,” said David Johnson, the technology analyst at City broker Northland.
—proactiveinvestors.co.uk

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