Global Invacom plans to buy Malaysian tech firm

Communications equipment provider Global Invacom Group (GInva) has agreed to acquire the entire share capital of Malaysian tech firm Tactilis.

Tactilis makes biometric card systems and has been valued at US$200 million (S$276 million). Its main product is Tactilis Touch, which performs identity authentication by fingerprints, as well as face and iris recognition, GInva said.

GInva will make an initial investment of US$2 million for 2 per cent of Tactilis by subscribing for convertible notes that will have a coupon rate of 5 per cent. The firm has the option of subscribing for additional notes with an aggregate principal amount of up to US$8 million.

Depending on whether GInva exercises the option, the consideration for the rest of the Tactilis stock will be from US$190 million to US$198 million, funded by issuing new GInva shares at 15 cents apiece.

GInva will also issue up to $20 million of unsecured redeemable structured convertible notes to raise money for the acquisition.

The company said: "Tactilis Touch is produced by a unique proprietary moulding process which enables cost-efficient manufacturing of the smart cards."

The product communicates with devices and servers by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, near-field communication or global positioning system, and supports remote updates.

GInva will buy Tactilis from Tactilis Pte Ltd, whose largest shareholder is Trufinger Management Ltd with a 29 per cent stake in the vendor. Tactilis founder and chief executive Michael Gardiner is a shareholder of Trufinger.

The deal will have to be approved by GInva shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting. GInva expects to complete the purchase in the third quarter of next year.

The mainboard-listed firm was put on the Singapore Exchange watch list in June after recording a volume-weighted average price of less than 20 cents and an average daily market capitalisation of less than $40 million over the last six months then.

The board hopes the acquisition will give the company a new lease on life and support its application to be removed from the watch list.

The announcement was made before markets opened yesterday.

GInva shares ended flat at 6.5 cents yesterday. Trading was halted last Thursday, pending the announcement.

Correction note: An earlier version of this article wrongly stated that GInva will buy Tactilis from its 53 shareholders.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2018, with the headline 'Global Invacom plans to buy Malaysian tech firm'. Print Edition | Subscribe