Poynton joins Orbital in board revamp

18/03/2015 - 12:35

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Technology developer and investor Orbital Corporation has reshaped its board as it implements a new growth strategy, adding investment banker John Poynton as a director and promoting experienced minerals executive John Welborn to chairman.

Poynton joins Orbital in board revamp
New Orbital director John Poynton.

Technology developer and investor Orbital Corporation has reshaped its board as it implements an aggressive growth strategy, adding investment banker John Poynton as a director and promoting experienced minerals executive John Welborn to chairman.

As part of the changes, two long-standing board members, chairman Merv Jones and director Vijoleta Braach-Maksvytis, have stepped down after seven years with Orbital.

Orbital, run by managing director Terry Stinson, has embarked on a self-described aggressive expansion, focused on investment in innovation and the commercialisation of existing and new technology. Shares in Orbital have performed strongly since the growth strategy and acquisition announcements. At just under 60 cents each they are more 35 per cent up in the past week.

Its most clear move in that area was the $5 million purchase earlier this year of a half share in Remsafe, a company that provides fast and safe isolation of electrical equipment in major industrial operations, notably mining. It has since expanded that stake to 55 per cent.

John Welborn will be Orbital's new charman.

The company is also heavily committed to the unmanned aerial vehicle propulsion market and continues its longer-term interest in the specialist engine technology, including fuel injection systems, either directly or via its 30 per cent interest in the Synerject joint venture with Continental Automotive Corporation.

Apart from Remsafe, it has also sought more local industry exposure by offering its technology focused consulting engineering experience to the resources industry.

With a focus on acquisitions as part of its expansion, the appointment of Mr Poynton would make sense. He is executive chairman of Perth-based boutique investment bank Azure Capital, which advised Orbital on the Remsafe deal announced late last year. Mr Poynton also has a beneficial interest in almost 6 per cent of Orbital through a family trust. There is also a family history in the Orbital story, with Mr Poynton's father Hartley Poynton and the broking business he established, understood to have been initimately involved with the early days of the technology group founded by Ralph Sarich.

Azure itself holds at least 3 per cent of Orbital, via 1.4 million shares issued to it at 25 cent each in February in lieu of a cash payment for its role as lead manager of a convertible note issue. 

Mr Welborn also has significant corporate experience at executive and board level on several resources companies, largely backed by Ian Middlemas’s Apollo Group.

He said Mr Poynton's presence on the board of a company with market capitalisation of $20 million was significant, but it did not suggest that the growth strategy was all about mergers and acquisitions.

"The number one focus is to make the current businesses work, including the recent acquisition of Remsafe," Mr Welborn said.

 

 

 

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