HumanWare shareholders accept sale proposal

$10.80 offer within fair-value range

The shareholders of Christchurch-based software developer HumanWare have voted to accept a $10.80 a share offer from private equity suitors.

In a statement the company says the proposal, from Jolimont Capital and HumanWare senior managers, was within the fair value range of $9.80 to $12.80 a share established by adviser Deloitte.

The offer is being funded by private equity from Jolimont Capital, debt financing from ANZ National Bank and personal investments from HumanWare senior managers.

“This marks an exciting next chapter in the growth of HumanWare, and we look forward to delivering on our strategy," HumanWare CEO Dr Richard Mander said. "It’s also a wonderful opportunity while staff and shareholders are gathered to take stock of achievements to date and to celebrate”.

HumanWare makes a range of blindness, low vision, digital talking books, and GPS products that improve the lives of blind, low vision, and learning disabled people. Founder Dr Russell Smith was killed along with his wife Marion D’Eve in a light plane accident in 2005.

Smith’s first interest in assistive technologies came while completing his Ph.D. in Sonar at the University of Canterbury in 1973. He developed the Binaural Sensory Aid, a sonar system build into spectacles, which made it possible for blind users to sense and interpret their environment using sound.

HumanWare’s research and development continued with products such as hand held sensors, text scanners, reading systems, word processors with speech synthesis and the BrailleNote with GPS.

HumanWare's low vision and blindness products are designed and manufactured in the Christchurch Product Development Centre which also serves as the company headquarters. Digital Talking Book and GPS products are designed and manufactured in a Product Development Centre in Montreal, Canada. Sales are over NZ$70 million and 98% of all products are exported.

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Tags humanware mander jolimont russell smith

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