Powerhouse boss resigns after rough year on the job
Struggling Kiwi tech investor Powerhouse has lost its chief after a year that included several board room showdowns with investees and a liquidation.
Paul Viney is leaving at the end of October, spending just over a year in the job when he took over from Dr Stephen Hampson.
Dr Hampson resigned as managing director after an investee, Hydroworks, was put into liquidation and Powerhouse had to write off its 23 per cent stake.
Mr Viney joined Powerhouse (ASX:PVL) in 2014 and was a key member of the group that listed the company in 2016 on the ASX.
Chairman Russel Yardley said Mr Viney’s work included “building systems and bringing the operations of Powerhouse together”.
The company invests in early stage tech ventures in Australia and New Zealand.
Since Mr Viney started as CEO, the company has sought to exit a series of these ventures.
Powerhouse alleges Nicola and Pat Martin sought to transfer intellectual property out of the company before they resigned, winning an injunction from the High Court of New Zealand to prevent the founders from selling the company’s intellectual property later that month.
That was followed by the CEO of Motim walking off the job in May, just before Powerhouse caused the company to be sold to a newly set up US company.
It succeeded in selling a partial stake in Invert Robotics in June for $938,000.
A sale in November last year fell through when the buyer decided to buy into a capital raising by the company instead of buying Powerhouse’s stake.
Powerhouse sold down from 25.5 per cent to 16 per cent.
The company’s full year loss improved slightly this year, from $NZ11.2m to $NZ10.4m ($9.5m).
Five of Powerhouse’s seven portfolio companies were devalued and the company has just $1m left in the bank.
It cancelled a $5.8m capital raising earlier this year in exchange for $1.4m in cash and convertible notes from institutional investors.
Powerhouse shares have been going backwards since mid-2017.
The stock was flat at 16c on Monday.