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Hydro turbine designer powering ahead

Article by Chris Hutching at The Press - 25 July 2016

Christchurch turbine designer HydroWorks is on a roll with a new chief executive, new contracts and public investment offers. Andrew Rodwell has taken over the reins of one of about six com­panies in the world making turbine parts for hydroelectric generators such as Meridian.

HydroWorks recently clinched an $8.5 million contract to refur­bish a flood-damaged hydroelectric plant at Somerset dam in Queens­land. The company has also secured a $5m contract with a Melbourne generating company, and has set up an office there. These forward orders give it the financial strength to offer returns to investors and invest in growth, Rodwell said.

The foundation for expansion was HydroWorks' acquisition of the old Christchurch firm Mace Engineering in May 2015. Since then HydroWorks has lifted staff numbers by 20 per cent to about 60.

The market for hydro projects remains strong with about 124 hydro-electric power stations in Australia and 95 in New Zealand. China, India and other Asian countries are building new hydro schemes so ihe market is growing overall, Rodwell said.

On the finance side, Hydro­Works has raised $1.4m from crowdfunding shareholders and has issued convertible notes to professional investors raising $1.Sm. The notes pay an attractive 12 per cent interest rate and nearly $500,000 worth have been taken up within a week of marketing them. They convert to shares in two years or when the company lists on the Australian stock exchange later this year or in 2017. Money from the convertible notes will help pay for the listing as well as seeking new work over­seas.

Rodwell said the company chose to list in Australia largely because the ASX is more receptive to companies valued at less than $50m, and much of the company's work is being sourced there.

Sharebroker reports underline the growth path - from revenue of $Sm in 2014 to forecast revenue of $16m in 2017.