Northern Star

Patching up 'old ways'

TREVOR DUNN, the new chairman of Ballina-based company Permo-Drive, has got a lot of hard work ahead of him - but he is ready to make changes to the way the company runs.

He said the new board of Permo-Drive would take a more 'active' role in the company and would keep shareholders informed of their actions, something he said the previous board 'didn't do very well'.

“It will be a quick learning curve for us,” Mr Dunn said.

“But we can see huge potential in the technology and we are working to get it commercialised in the next 12 months.”

Mr Dunn's company, OFS Sales Pty Ltd, on Thursday bought 19 per cent of the capital of Permo-Drive and put $50,000 into the business in order to keep it afloat.

Permo-Drive has invented a fuel-saving technology for heavy vehicles such as garbage trucks, but almost went into liquidation because the company did not have enough money to commercialise the product.

The transaction with OFS Sales, combined with Permo-Drive and OFS Sales buying back 100 per cent of its convertible notes (a type of share), have kept the company afloat.

The new board includes Mr Dunn, a former finance and business advisory consultant who now runs Tregeagle-based Optimum Farming Solutions - the parent company of OFS Sales - which he said was formed earlier this year with the aim of getting into 'high-tech agricultural projects'.

Tony Hart, a director at Landpartners in Lismore, is also on the board and is Mr Dunn's business partner in OFS Sales.

The other board members are Yamba man Mark Mitchell, a property developer who owns shares in the Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort at Yamba and Angourie Rainforest Resort; and Tasmanian man Ian Mitton, the chairman of barramundi fish farming company Astralis Aquaculture.

Mr Dunn said the four men were 'like-minded business people' who had a passion to save Australian inventions from going overseas.

“We won't make money out of Permo-Drive for 12 months, so we'll have to get involved with other things to compensate for that. We're looking around,” Mr Dunn said.

He said he would meet staff next week and look for another site to house the company, as the lease on the current site at Ballina had almost expired.

The next step was to raise enough money to get the product commercialised, which could cost up to $7.5 million.

Permo-Drive would be seeking help from shareholders and other investors as well as working with shareholder John Hannaford'sSave Our Technology group, and applying for a $5 million Federal Government Climate Ready grant, for which matching funds were required, he said.

“We've got a lot of hard work ahead of us,” Mr Dunn said.

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