Powerhouse Ventures annual report may be the understatement of the year
Troubled tech investor Powerhouse Ventures describes 2017 as a year of “significant change” in its annual report.
The year saw the departure of two chairmen and a managing director, a corporate collapse, and a dramatic slide into the red.
Chairman Blair Byrant — dumped in June for allegedly falsely declaring he had never been bankrupt — did not rate a mention in the annual report released on Wednesday.
In June, Powerhouse told investors that an internal investigation “determined that Mr Bryant has made an inaccurate declaration to the company” and “must step down from his role as Chairman of the Board”.
Failed investment Hydroworks has also been written out of the full year portfolio despite only officially failing in August.
Powerhouse (ASX:PVL) blamed the collapse of Hydroworks and the end of a $7 million investment in the business on “strain from significant Australian contracts”.
Powerhouse said the total value of its portfolio by June 30 was $NZ17.5 million ($16 million), but didn’t include Hydroworks.
Powerhouse noted that it had made “other prudent write downs of NZ$2.7 million”.
It wasn’t all bad news though.
Powerhouse did manage to get one of its crown jewels, CropLogic, away on the ASX, even if the company is below water on its 20c issue price.
They made their first Australian investment by spending $3 million on South Australian business Ferronova, and sold down a small part of its stake in robotics company Invert for $1.2 million, for a 5x return.
It’s also refocusing on “off-model realisations”, or sales of less attractive investments.
In May, then-managing director Stephen Hampson said some investments had been categorised as off-model. Later, chairman Russell Yardley said this meant they would be available for sale.
The sale of an off-model shareholding in Syft — in other words a 1.5 per cent stake — for $1 million gave Powerhouse a 10x return.
Powerhouse seeks to have controlling interests in its companies.