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New Zealand Superconductors

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, September 8th, 2021 - 18 comments
Categories: Economy, tech industry, uncategorized - Tags:

Just to note a little sadness at the sale of New Zealand’s High Temperature Superconductor business out of Scott Technology (a robotics specialist company based in Dunedin sold to a Brazilian meat company a few years back).

It’s gone to a limited partnership comprised of a number of local investors including New Zealand Investment Fund Booster Tahi LP, VC Fund, Matu and Donald Pooke the CEO of HTS-110.

Booster Managing Director Allan Yeo commented on the purchase from Scott:

We’re pleased to add HTS-11- to our portfolio. We established Tahi to connect New Zealanders with investments in Kiwi companies, and this investment is a unique opportunity for our investors to be part of the future growth story that HTS-110 represents.”

What HTS-110 hasn’t done is score itself decent-sized clients or customers.

We’re going to have to replace most of our pylons and wire in a decade, we’re electrifying more of the North Island rail line, we’ve just finished upgrading the high capacity lines through Cook Straight. And each of the big wind farms coming on stream certainly could do with some help connecting to the national grid.

Clearly HTS is too expensive for the locals.

Not to mention the huge growth in MAGLEV tracks across China and Japan that are already underway.

And all those new reactors and power stations needing first-kilometer efficiency from heat loss.

So it hasn’t scored anything there either.

It is a development to get a little melancholic over because this ought to have been one of those great commercialisation stories coming out of the Crown Owned entity HTS. It certainly had plenty of boosters.

Innovation that starts off with Crown funding sometimes but rarely gets to do something magnificent for New Zealand.

Crown-funded innovation that generates something that the world needs, at the right time, is even harder to find.

(sigh. Navman).

I wish them well, but simply chucking to the venture capitalists and not embedding them in a large company that can use them is a very, very high risk trajectory. I sincerely with their new owners well.

18 comments on “New Zealand Superconductors ”

  1. Gosman 1

    Why would anyone be sad with a commercial transaction involving private businesses? If people want something to happen that isn't they should get together with like minded individuals and buy the business themselves.

    • Ad 1.1

      Several tens of public funding millions went into the innovations, and they were hothoused for years within state research institutions to enable them to be commercialised.

      So the answer to your question depends if you want state assistance to get New Zealand out of a low-wage, low-productivity, low-savings, low-innovation society.

      • bwaghorn 1.1.1

        Gossies an actiod isnt he?, so the government spending tax payers money so rich people can scoop up the spoils and run to the hills is his belief system!!

        • Tricledrown 1.1.1.1

          Very few companies start or survive without govt support or tax breaks.

          NZ relying on farming which gets $100's of millions in research and development where we should have been diversifying for the last 60 years .

          The boat building business has got some size,the film industry,videogames,,software all helped by govt investment.

          As we have seen since the GFC property has got a lot of the private funding as private funders don't like risk. They would rather ride the speculative wave.

      • Gosman 1.1.2

        This highlights why that sort of funding is a waste of taxpayers money.

      • Gabby 1.1.3

        You'd think some kind of repayment scheme could be built in, and passed on to any new owner.

        • Incognito 1.1.3.1

          The nascent NZ R&D sector relies heavily on Government grants and less so on tax incentives and Government loan schemes that may have to be paid back upon sale.

        • Tricledrown 1.1.3.2

          Yes the money for the sale ends up in NZ.

    • Tricledrown 1.2

      Gosman.Name a country or trading block where govts don't give financial support to develop new businesses.let alone existing businesses.

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        That does not mean that is a good use of taxpayers money.

        • Ad 1.2.1.1

          Especially when the innovation works and yet is discounted every time it changes hands. And somehow it's only foreign sharemarkets that tend to benefit. Witness RocketLab's NASDAQ listing recently. Hence the melancholic note.

          Even when domiciled here, there's a massive history of the state propping up failure on a large scale, such as the bailout of NZSteel back in 1986, or more recently South Canterbury Finance a decade ago.

          NZVIF (a branch of MBIE) is about the right place for state involvement at the bleeding edge of high technology commercial risks.

          • Tricledrown 1.2.1.1.1

            Ad Bungling Blinglish forgot to sign the insurance policy sitting on his desk for 6 week's. Costing tax payers $1.2 billion.Rocket Lab has local investors but the US defence dept was a 40% initial investor looking for cheaper launches for its military satellites. NZ steel every country subsidize's its steel industry eventually countries like South Korea out subsidized every country till China outdid them now India is out doing China.there is a point where a small country like NZ has to cut its losses and focus on things we do well.

            • Ad 1.2.1.1.1.1

              We do a lot more things well than you are implying.

              Until Xena Warrior Princess we didn't have a film industry in Auckland or NZ.

              Until our first America's Cup win we didn't really have a high end marine research industry.

              Until Jade got cracking we didn't have a decent sized software industry.

              Until Montana cracked the big time our entire wine industry was a joke.

              Until we started being ambitious for conservation here, we didn't have the techniques or technology to rebuild the biosphere of entire islands.

              It is certainly the job of our universities and polytechs and of governments to help us be ambitious.

          • Stuart Munro 1.2.1.1.2

            SCF was just National party troughing – they fed on it like a privatized state asset, doing Hubbard to death like Stalin did the Kulaks – extrajudicially, and for private advantage.

        • Tricledrown 1.2.1.2

          Doing nothing would mean our economy would be left behind ,farming would be unprofitable ,we wouldn't have a burgeoning film industry,our boat building industries would still only be worth millions instead of billions.Electricity would be in short supply,our roading networks wouldn't exist.Our education system would mean an unskilled workforce.

          Utopic ideology doesn't exist neither pure communism or the pure free market do not exist those who believe are on the fringes of society.people who think only in logic have very low emotional IQ's and are easily lead into cults.

          The best run economies in the world with the least inequality benefiting the majority of it's people have a balanced economy.

          The only reason ACT's popularity has gone up is because they have moderated their fundamentalist economic utopic ideology and Nationals unpopularity.

        • Stuart Munro 1.2.1.3

          It is not "taxpayers money", but citizens' money.

        • Tricledrown 1.2.1.4

          Gosman while every other economy we trade with pumps billions into their R and D you want to put NZ into an economic straight jacket your policies reflect on you.

          Economic lunacy.

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