The Tait Foundation announced the completion of the sale of a 40 per cent stake in Tait Communications to JVC Kenwood on 10 December.

The deal was initially announced back in August by JVC Kenwood and Garry Diack, Tait Communications’ chief executive had been previously reported as saying that the company is looking to raise around $20 million.

Tait Communications is one of two operating companies ultimately owned by the Tait Foundation and is the majority employer and radio technology development company originally established by Sir Angus Tait in 1969. According to both Tait and JVC Kenwood, it was Tait’s focus on converging traditional voice communications with data-rich, cellular and broadband communications systems which has attracted JVC Kenwood’s investment. Tait has stated that JVC Kenwood’s “product portfolio and complementary global distribution footprint, positions both companies far more effectively in the increasingly competitive critical communications market world-wide”.

Over almost 50 years Tait has developed and deployed critical communications technologies and networks to the public safety, electrical utility, public transport, mining and public communications markets in more than 90 countries. It has research and development, design, and niche manufacturing capabilities and maintains its headquarters at the Tait Technology Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Commenting on the sale, Diack said that "the capital requirement for ongoing, faster and deeper research and development to remain a global leader is limiting our growth and competitiveness. We confront significant growth potential right across our global reach and additional capital beyond the group's ability to fund, is now required. Strong global partnerships with companies such as JVC Kenwood and the additional capital that the partial sale brings are essential to transition Tait into the converged digital world."

A portion of the proceeds from the sale in the stake will be invested by The Tait Foundation back into Tait Communications to enhance the development of cloud-based critical communications solutions, and to grow its global market share. The remaining funds will provide greater ability for the Foundation to continue pursuit of Sir Angus's wish that it support the development of technology capability and industry in Christchurch – which the Foundation largely achieves through support of the Tait companies and through funding donations to educational institutions such as the University of Canterbury.

"Access to capital and a strong funnel of smart capable young talent are essential for the technology reputation of Christchurch to continue to punch above its weight internationally," said Diack. "We are fortunate to attract such a strong and aligned investor in JVC Kenwood. They share similar values to Tait, and have a complementary view of the future challenges and opportunities in the industry. They have also invested in what we hold dear – the research, development and design strength of the company in Christchurch."

Author: Sam Fenwick