Share placement to finance acquisitions and retire debts

Metal Storm plans to raise A$21.5 million ($15.7 million) through an additional share placement on the Australian stock exchange. This will be used to accelerate development of the company's rapid-fire ballistics technology, including development of a 40mm gun for carriage by unmanned combat air vehicles.

According to Metal Storm chief executive Chuck Vehlow, the additional capital may also be used to "continue the growth of the company through further strategic acquisitions and the company currently has a process to identify suitable targets.

"The company will consider the option of retiring debt of A$3.7 million on our balance sheet relating to our subsidiary ProCam Machine." Metal Storm acquired ProCam, a US-based machining company, in December 2003.

Metal Storm plans a demonstration of its airborne 40mm gun system aboard a Dragonfly Pictures DP4X Dragonfly vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle in the USA within four months.

The company is also working with the US Missile Defence Organ-isation on possible adaptation of high rate of fire gun systems for use in missile defence roles.

The funds being sought follow a placement worth A$7 million in October 2003. Last month the company reported pre-tax losses of A$6.77 million for 2003 on revenues of A$1.04 million.



Source: Flight International