Aurora Control Technologies (ACU.V) improves solar cell manufacturing efficiency via innovative products (Decima, and Veritas). Coverage was initiated on January 2017, with subsequent notes on April 2017, June 2017, November 2017, March 2018, and August 2018.
Here's an update on the releases that have been issued since.
Oct. 30 - Non-brokered private placement for up to $1.5-million. Through the sale of up to 30M shares at a price of $0.05 cents. The net proceeds of the Offering will be used for general working capital.
The Company also has granted options to key employees, directors, officers and consultants to acquire 3M shares exercisable at $0.06 cents.
Nov. 7 - Increase to Non-Brokered Private Placement. Plan to raise up to $1,77M through the sale of 35.5M shares at $0.05 cents.
Nov. 15 - Closing of Private Placement and Appointment of new Chief Executive Officer. Closed the October 30th placement for $1.78M. Net proceeds from the Offering are intended to be used for working capital purposes.
Appointment of Gordon Deans as President and Chief Executive Officer, replacing Kevin Dodds who has been acting on an interim basis.
Mr. Deans co-founded Aurora and has a long history in building high-growth technology companies. At Omron Adept Technology, a leader in advanced industrial robotics, he served as an executive officer on the team that led Adept’s turnaround to growth and profitability. At Norsat International, a supplier of satellite ground station equipment and systems, led business development for the commercial technology products.
Jan. 3 - Announces Board of Directors and Management Changes. Appointment of Viktoriya Griffin, CPA, CA as the new Chief Financial Officer. Appointment of Gordon Deans, President and Chief Executive Officer to the Board of Directors.
Effective Dec. 21, 2018. Michael Heaven resigned from the Board of Directors. The company would like to thank Michael for his service on the board since 2011 and wishes him well in his future endeavors.
The Company has also granted stock options to key employees to acquire 100,000 shares at $0.065 for a period of five years.
Feb. 12 - Receives Volume Order and Announces New Market Partner for China. The order is for nine DM-110e measurements systems and is expected to ship in March or April 2019. "DM-110e was launched as a less expensive version of our DM product line, to address the price-sensitive market for the automation of manual sheet resistance measurements.
“We are excited to have been awarded this significant level of business from a new customer in Aurora’s most important market,” said Gordon Deans, Aurora’s Chief Executive Officer." "The company also announces that it has appointed Saratoga Technology as its market partner for China"
In the last six months ACU.V went from $0.175 to $0.05 cents. Looking back at the August 9th release, in addition to announcing sales, the company disclosed: "Michael Heaven, President & CEO, will step back to the role of Chairman of the Board for family health reasons. Kevin Dodds, a current investor and Director of the Company will take over as President & CEO on an interim basis effective immediately".
Fast forward to the release of Jan. 3, 2019 which updated Mr. Heaven status - he is no longer a Board Member as of December 21, 2018. In total, the market was kept in the dark for five months about his status. What happened? It looks like he took a role with Argus Control Systems on November 19th 2018. Exactly, two business days after the closure of the private placement and the appointment of Mr. Deans (November 15th). In addition, the MD&A from Nov. 29 does not mention anything about the change in status of Mr. Heaven, just that he was no longer the CEO but still a board member. Otherwise, one sentence in the Management Information Circular posted which perhaps alluded to it but definitely not made clear.
Regardless, this material change was not communicated with the market in a timely manner. Indeed, ACU.V's conduct in this matter is questionable. The details surrounding Mr. Heaven's departure are unknown. While it is not in the organization's control, the manner in which it responds (or not) is. This in part accounts for the massive devaluation. In addition, to raising funds (non-brokered) at $0.05 cents which some of the management and board members took part in, options were also granted at $0.06 and $0.065 cents.
Aside from that, ACU.V recently reported some volume order and a partnership with Saratoga Technology which are definitely positive. Nonetheless, some details on recent activities are lacking. Specifically, a) Insight trials - product was shipped in September 2018, b) SERIS partnership on HJT announced March 2018. However, ACU.V did mention in their MD&A that the cuts in China's subsidies 531 Policy has had an impact on their business but reported to be "quoted on opportunities at three PERC cell manufacturers and one major industrial automation supplier to the industry".
In our last update we believe that ACU.V was in reversal! We couldn't have been more wrong. Looking back, the personnel issues compounded with the lack of sales resulted in the current situation. A 52 week low ($0.05) financing, and a double dip.
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