Permo-Drive investors win three-week reprieve
PERMO-DRIVE shareholders would not give up without a fight yesterday, refusing to support a move by its directors to voluntarily wind-up the company.
At a fiery meeting at the Ballina Beach Resort about 70 shareholders voted for more time to allow them to come up with cash to keep the company afloat, long enough to apply for a $5 million Climate Ready grant from the Federal Government.
One Lismore company, which was not named at the meeting, had offered to put $100,000 on the table to help with the cause. However, negotiations were still underway.
Permo-Drive, which has developed a fuel conservation system for heavy vehicles such as garbage trucks, was yesterday expected to go into voluntary receivership after being unable to find the $7.5 million needed to complete the last stage of production.
But John Hannaford, chair of the Permo-Drive Shareholders Association, said it would be a 'terrible shame' to just give up and called for the other 1900 or so shareholders to help him raise about $2 million in the next three weeks.
“We've got a really big job ahead of us now, we need people power in a big way,” Mr Hannaford said.
“Our shareholders have wanted to so something abut this crisis but haven't had the mechanism to do it ... this will buy us some time to get a grant.
“Hey, we may fail, but I couldn't for the life of me say I didn't try everything possible.”
Many shareholders joined Mr Hannaford's 'Save Our Technologies' group, which is working to raise the money needed through membership fees and donations.
Permo-Drive chairman Colin Henson agreed to adjourn the meeting for three weeks. However, the agreement was not without hesitation.
He said he did not want to give shareholders false hope, but agreed a 'Permo-Drive rescue fund could be an excellent solution'.
Mr Henson told the meeting: “$2 million is not going to cut it, but it will buy us some time.
“If investors accept that the money may be lost, that it's a gamble, that would be fine.
“... hopefully John will come in, in the next few weeks, with a big bag of money.”
Mr Henson told the meeting he had 'done all he could do' and that soon the company would be out of money, which was why its directors were recommending the company be voluntarily wound up.
The meeting was adjourned until 12.30pm on July 28.