|London-based billionaire investor Vincent Tchenguiz has agreed to plonk down USD8 million (SGD10.88 million) for a stake in Singapore-listed Trendlines Group.
With that, he will become the largest single shareholder of Trendlines (overtaking Zeev Bronfeld, a Trendlines non-executive director).
Mr Tchenguiz, 63, is the discretionary beneficiary to the trust that is the sole shareholder of Librae Holdings.
Trendlines and Librae Holdings have signed a subscription agreement under which the latter will purchase 103.6 million new ordinary shares of Trendlines.
That represents 14.55% of the enlarged share capital of Trendlines, an Israeli-based investment and innovation commercialisation company focused on early-stage, high growth medical and agricultural technologies.
Notably, the placement price of SGD0.105 per share is a premium of 34.6% to the volume weighted average price of S$0.0780 for Trendlines shares traded on 19 July 2019.
Still, it's very much a good deal for him because Trendlines' net asset value is 19 cents a share (as at end-March 2019).
Of the net proceeds of US$8 million, Trendlines will use 30 per cent for general working capital and the rest for direct and indirect investments into new, prospective or existing portfolio companies.
That sum combined with the current assets (mainly cash) on Trendlines' balance sheet as at end-March 2019 of nearly US$10 million make for "a reasonably strong balance sheet and give us the flexibility to support our companies and bring them closer to exit," said Mr Todd Dollinger, Chairman and CEO of Trendlines Group, in an interview with NextInsight.
Mr Tchenguiz is best known for his multi-billion-pound real estate portfolio but in the past three years, he has increasingly focused on biotechnology and planet-related technologies.
He has reportedly built a USD350 million technology venture capital portfolio managed by a strong tech investment team.
Many of his investments are in incubators, venture funds, and several medical companies in Israel.
Mr Dollinger said: "He has lots of connections in the UK and Europe through his investments and we hope to tap his connections. He is interested to introduce us to others."
Trendlines currently is nurturing 53 portfolio companies, the majority of which operate in Israel.
“Trendlines’ history of developing early-stage companies, combined with its hands-on investment policy and the potential of its 53 portfolio companies, makes it an attractive investment with significant potential,” noted Mr Tchenguiz in a press release.
“We believe in Trendlines’ business model and are convinced that this represents a great opportunity.”
He added that “today our investments are focused on Europe, Israel, and the United States, but we have been looking at Singapore as a target for a long time, and we view Trendlines as an avenue into that important market. We believe we could provide new markets for the underlying companies and very much like the concentration in AgriTech and medical devices that fit on developing financial model both in health care and planet eco system which includes Agritech/ food tech and cleantech.”
|“We are very excited to have Librae Holdings join us as a shareholder. Their numerous life science investments in Israel and around the world make them more than a financial investor, but an investor with the ability to provide strategic value to Trendlines.”
-- Trendlines Chairman and CEO Todd Dollinger (photo).
Completion of the subscription agreement shall take place on the date falling five business days after the date on which the SGX-ST grants the listing and quotation notice.
The last time Trendlines raised funds from the equity market was in Oct 2017 when it sold 100 million new shares at 14.03 cents apiece, raising S$14.03 million in gross proceeds.
The subscribers then included prominent corporate and individual investors such as Asdew Acquisitions, Island Asset Management, ICH Capital, Lumiere Capital, Azure Capital, Emerald Investment Management.
In another recent development, Trendlines announced that a "global investment company headquartered in Singapore" has made a capital commitment of US$5 million to the company’s venture capital fund, Trendlines Agrifood Pte. Ltd.
The investor signed a subscription agreement dated 18 July 2019 to support the Fund’s investment objective of investing in early to late-stage technology companies focusing on agricultural and food technologies.
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About The Trendlines Group
Trendlines is an innovation commercialization company that invents, discovers, invests in, and incubates innovation-based medical and agricultural technologies to fulfill its mission to improve the human condition. As intensely hands-on investors, Trendlines is involved in all aspects of its portfolio companies from technology development to business building. Trendlines’ shares are traded on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX: 42T) and in the United States as an American Depositary Receipt (ADR) on the OTCQX (OTCQX: TRNLY).