Permo-Drive shareholders (from left) John Hannaford, Col and Julie Lee.
Permo-Drive shareholders (from left) John Hannaford, Col and Julie Lee. Doug Eaton

Permo-Drive saved

AFTER months of uncertainty, Permo-Drive in Ballina was yesterday saved from liquidation.

Shareholders clapped and cheered when it was announced at a meeting that Northern Rivers company OFS Sales Pty Ltd had bought 19 per cent of Permo-Drive's capital and put $50,000 into the business in order to keep it afloat.

OFS Sales also bought 45 per cent of the convertible notes (a type of share) held by major shareholder companies Hawksbridge and RAB Special Situations Fund, with Permo-Drive buying back the balance.

This gives the majority of Permo-Drive to the company's 1900 mum and dad investors, and OFS Sales, a firm which was formed early this year by Tregeagle man Trevor Dunn and Alstonville's Tony Hart. Hawksbridge still holds about 15 per cent of the capital of Permo-Drive.

The entire Permo-Drive board of directors has submitted resignations, as required under the deal.

The new chairman of Permo-Drive, Mr Dunn, is joined on the new board by Mr Hart and fellow local businessmen Mark Mitchell and Ian Mitton.

Mr Dunn said the directors had been asked to resign so OFS could start with a clean slate.

"It hasn't been an easy venture, but it's come through," he said. "The technology has great potential. We have got business people willing to invest.

"We'll update shareholders with our progress soon."

Permo-Drive has invented a fuel-saving technology for heavy vehicles such as garbage trucks, but last month revealed it was running out of money and did not have the funds to commercialise its product.

The board had moved to voluntarily wind up the company, but the firm's shareholders' association, led by John Hannaford, would not give up without a fight and endeavoured to find an investor or more funds.

Mr Hannaford said shareholders were relieved and excited.

"But it's not all over yet; the company still has to raise significant funds," he said.


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