Shareholders in US-focused explorer Tao Commodities enjoyed a 20 per cent return on their investment after the stock made a strong ASX debut Monday.

The wannabe explorer closed its first day of trade at 24c after raising $4.75 million in an initial public offering of 20c shares.

Tao, which had no existing cash reserves before its IPO, will use the funds to buy Calatos Pty Ltd — sole owner of the Milford zinc-gold project, a package of 100 mining rights in the US State of Utah.

It plans to spend $970,000 on exploration in the next 12 months and more than $1 million in the following 12 months — with the largest expense being drilling.

Tao’s prospectus says drilling will will cost almost $500,000 in the first year alone.

Major stakholders

The venture’s biggest shareholder — with 12.6 per cent according to Bloomberg — is its corporate advisor and IPO lead manager GTT Ventures which is owned by Rocco Tassone, Charles Thomas and Patrick Glovac.

According to Bloomberg, the three also own additional stakes adding up to another 19.3 per cent via three companies — Syracuse (controlled by Mr Tassone), Mounts Bay (controlled by Mr Thomas) and Kcirtap Securities controlled by Mr Glovac.

The Tao prospectus advised investors to consider a 2016 finding from the Takeovers Panel that “that Messrs Glovac, Tassone and Thomas were associates (under section 12(2) of the Corporations Act) as part of their consideration in making an investment decision in the Company”.

According to the Tao prospectus, a Takeovers Panel decision in July 2016 found there were “unacceptable circumstances” relating to Mr Glovac, GTT and others around a capital raise for Sovereign Gold Company.

“The Takeovers Panel found that Messrs Glovac, Tassone and Thomas and Applabs Technologies Limited were associates,” Tao said in its second prospectus.

The Panel said their collective shareholding in Sovereign Gold moved above the 20 per cent takeover threshold — the point at which a takeover offer has to be made for a company — and ordered Morgan Stanley to sell 22.9 million of their shares.

ASX and ASIC requirements to add a disclosure about this into the prospectus was part of the reason why Tao’s IPO was delayed for six months.

According to the prospectus, GTT as the lead manager of the Tao IPO was paid a total of $335,000 and 3.5 million shares, and remains as corporate advisor for the next 18 months for a fee of $10,000 a month.

GTT has also loaned the company $180,000 to pay for listing costs, of which Tao has used $174,720.

GTT has also backed now-delisted Search Party, Painchek (ASX:PCK), Viking Mines (ASX:VKA) where Mr Tassone and Mr Glovac tried and failed to be elected to the board last year, and AVZ where Mr Thomas has been a board member.