US underwater drone company Aquabotix to go public down under

Aquabotix Technology Corporation is seeking to raise up to AU$7 million to list on the Australian Securities Exchange in April.


Two of Aquabotix's commercial grade UUVs

(Image: Supplied)

Underwater drone manufacturer Aquabotix Technology Corporation has opened its initial public offering (IPO), hoping to raise between AU$5.1 million and AU$7 million before securing its spot on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in April.

The company is offering 35 million new shares at an issue price of AU$0.20 each to raise the funds, which will give Aquabotix a market capitalisation of AU$27 million upon IPO.

The six-year-old United States-based underwater robotics company manufactures industrial-grade unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and networked underwater cameras.

Aquabotix said it has already shipped approximately 350 underwater drones since sales commenced in 2011, with its sales totalling approximately AU$1.1 million in the 2016 calendar year.

According to the company, it is estimated that the addressable market Aquabotix operates in will be worth approximately $4 billion by 2020.

"UUVs are used in a number of industries -- defence, law enforcement, public safety, marina and boat underwater inspection, marine inspection and construction, port security, pipeline inspection, aquaculture, potable water management, and research and marine biology," the company said in a statement.

Aquabotix's customers include BP, Con Edison, Duke Energy, Broadspectrum, California Department of Transportation, Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group, US Coast Guard, and the US Customs and Border Patrol.

Aquabotix will join a few other US-based drone companies on the ASX, including Department 13 and drone detection company DroneShield, which debuted on the exchange last year after raising AU$7 million.

Based in Delaware, DroneShield owns the intellectual property rights to, and sells, enterprise-grade sensors and a proprietary database of audio signatures.

The company's system detects acoustic signatures of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) -- or drones -- which are analysed by a signature database, and then issues an alert on an approaching drone.

Fellow ASX-listed American company Department 13 this month announced that US defence and intelligence consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton has licensed its Mesmer counter drone system that allows for potential inclusion of the system in field prototype demonstrations made to the US Military, predominately the US Navy and Marine Corps.

Israeli telecommunications company Mobilicom also announced the opening of its IPO earlier this month, looking to raise AU$7.5 million before debuting on the ASX next month.

Mobilicom, which provides private wireless networks for mobile platforms and users without the need for infrastructure such as satellites or towers, will issue 37.5 million shares at 20 cents a share, giving it an estimated market capitalisation of AU$43.5 million.

Among other things, Mobilicom is also currently developing solutions to improve communication capabilities of commercial drones used in sectors such as mining and utilities.