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Powerhouse purges Motim board, SolarBright founders quit

Tuesday 23rd January 2018

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Powerhouse Ventures is facing more turmoil at two of its investee firms, purging the board of one and losing the founders of another. 

In separate statements to the ASX and following a National Business Review report, Christchurch-based Powerhouse said it removed Motim Technologies chair John Cunningham, who was followed shortly by director Miles Hockley after the firm's board didn't call a shareholders' meeting when requested, and that it had been told founding directors Pat and Nivola Martin of SolarBright have resigned. 

In both statements, Powerhouse chief executive Paul Viney said the technology incubator was concerned about the governance of each firm and expects to appoint "well-credentialled" directors to them both. However, Powerhouse has tussled with other investee firms, with a director exodus at turbine designer Hydroworks last year followed quickly by the appointment of liquidators. 

Powerhouse owns 42 percent of augmented reality firm Motim, and Viney said the incubator has worked in the background to develop strategic options and encourage the board to work to maximise shareholder value. Motim chief executive Andrew Plimmer is still with the company. 

The Christchurch-based firm owns 30 percent of SolarBright, and said the exit of the Martins was in the best interests of the solar lighting maker and that Powerhouse still has confidence in the intellectual property of the firm. Powerhouse said it was aware of "a great deal of interest" in SolarBright's technologies and that there have been talks to buy the IP for some time. 

"PVL anticipates that the new board will work with shareholders to consider offers to acquire or license access to the technologies," it said. 

Powerhouse shares fell 4.8 percent to 20 Australian cents on the ASX, matching the record low hit last week. 

(BusinessDesk)

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