Australian solar tile company Trac Group Holdings’ recently launched initial public offering is attracting great interest, according to company director Bertio Terpstra.

He said that since the 24 December soft launch of the share offering, which aims to raise $6.5 million to finance expansion into domestic and export markets, the phone has been “running hot” both with potential investors as well as customers wanting to install the integrated solar roofing tiles on their homes.

Bertio Terpstra

The product, Tractile, combines solar power generation, solar hot water generation and insulation in a roofing product made from composite materials. It is certified as meeting Bushfire Attack level 40 – the highest possible rating in Australia – and also for Category Five Cyclone wind speeds of up 300 kilometres an hour.

All testing and certification is being carried out in Australia, and part of the IPO proceeds will be used to finalise certifications for the international marketplace.

Mr Terpstra said the company currently held three patents in 26 countries including European nations and the US, and had applications pending for a number of other countries that will be filed when the market in those nations is hungry for the products.

The group originally aimed to launch the IPO in October last year, however Mr Terpstra said the jittery conditions of the sharemarket at the time, combined with finalising the registration of the group’s Malaysia-based manufacturing enterprise, delayed the offer.

Mr Terpstra said there were three hot spots for domestic demand – Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Because the products are specified in the early stages of planning a new home build – something that generally happens up to four months before products are needed to arrive on site – the existing supply chain and manufacturing capacity is able to meet the increase in demand.

There have been some enquiries from project home builders, he said, but the product price point is generally not what that sector is currently looking for.

In an interview with The Fifth Estate last year, company founder and chief executive Jason Perkins compared the integrated roofing product concept to the smart phone. Instead of people needing four things that each do a single job, one multi-function product can do all of them.

“When you look at the different elements of a roof and what it can do – weather protection, hot water system, solar power, a smarter roof can do all those things, and the customer is not having to deal with multiple companies and suppliers.”

The roofing product is the result of eight years of research and development, and has been awarded numerous gongs for design excellence and innovation, including an Australian Design Award and a Queensland Premier’s Award for Sustainability.

“We build

for sustainability, aesthetics and performance, but at a premium price point,” Mr Terpstra said.

“And we see that more and more people [at the premium end of the market] appreciate the value of sustainability and want to make a contribution to sustainability. They think, ‘It may cost a little more, but we want to do our bit.’”

Mr Terpstra said the IPO’s timing coincided with a “perfect storm” from the company’s perspective, with heightened awareness of the value of solar, and the need to mitigate climate change following COP 21, and increased frequency of the types of severe weather events the roofing products are designed to withstand.

The IPO closes on 24 February 2016. Mr Terpstra said that all going well, once the company listed on the ASX following the IPO, it would look to boost its workforce, particularly in marketing and sales. It also plans to open a distribution facility in Sydney to meet escalating customer demand.

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