PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY MERCIA ASSET MANAGEMENT PLC
Warwick Acoustics Update
£2.1 million of syndicated investment and £0.4 million innovation grant
Mercia Asset Management PLC (AIM: MERC), the proactive, regionally focused, specialist asset manager with c.£800 million of assets under management, is pleased to announce that its direct portfolio company Warwick Acoustics Limited (“Warwick Acoustics”, “the Company”) has secured £2.1million of recent syndicated investment, including £0.5million from Mercia. The Company has also recently won a £0.4million grant from Innovate UK, in conjunction with the University of Warwick.
Warwick Acoustics is one of Mercia’s earliest investments, having received its first investment through Mercia’s managed funds in January 2013 before becoming a balance sheet direct investment in December 2014. As at 31 March 2020, Mercia held a 52.9% fully diluted direct holding in Warwick Acoustics.
The Company, which is based in state-of-the-art facilities at the Mira Technology Park in Warwickshire, develops highly innovative audio products for both the automotive audio market and the personal and studio headphone market.
Despite the challenges in the automotive industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Warwick Acoustics is continuing to make good progress in both the automotive and headphone markets.
Reflective of this progress the Company was recently awarded a grant from Innovate UK to support the development of lower cost designs for its lightweight, highly power-efficient ElectroAcoustic Panels. Targeted manufacturing cost reductions will enable the Company to significantly expand the reach of its technology from premium to mass market vehicles.
Combined, this significant funding provides sufficient development capital to support the Company’s expansion plans for at least the next 15 months.
Mike Grant, Chief Executive Officer at Warwick Acoustics, commented:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for the automotive industry. Government regulations and new cash flow pressures are requiring OEMs to rationalise model ranges to reduce costs and to focus on accelerating developments of Electric Vehicles (“EVs”). This in turn has placed a premium on light-weighting and power-efficient technologies in order to increase range and improve the attractiveness of EVs.
“The recent investment in Warwick Acoustics and the award of an Innovate UK grant under highly competitive conditions recognise the class leading weight savings and power efficiency of our high- performance, patented ElectroAcoustic Panel technology. With this combined funding, we are in an excellent position to take the next step in our goal of disrupting the way in which in-car entertainment is delivered.”
Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer at Mercia, commented:
“We believe Warwick Acoustics has a compelling product set and is well positioned to capitalise on both the increasing demands from the automotive industry for smaller, lightweight, quality audio as well as similar trends from consumers. We are pleased to continue supporting the business in delivering on these commercial opportunities through a meaningful syndication. Businesses such as Warwick Acoustics have significant potential to help the automotive industry by reducing weight, space and costs within an emission-focused regulatory environment. We therefore continue to be encouraged by the business’s significant potential to assist the increasingly innovative automotive industry.”