The ASX-listed battery company behind plans for battery giga-factories in Australia and the US, and promises of electric vehicle batteries that can recharge in just six minutes, has gone into a trading halt.
A notice from the ASX on Wednesday announced a trading halt for the securities of Magnis Energy Technologies, which it said had been put in place at the request of the company, pending the release of an announcement.
The trading halt, which is not the first to be initiated by the company, follows reports that Magnis Energy chair, Frank Poullas, is under investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
A report published in The Australian on Tuesday night alleged that Poullas was under investigation by the corporate regulator, and cited sources close to ASIC as saying that investigators had not ruled out expanding the probe to include the company.
However, the company insisted in statement issued via the ASX on Wednesday that it was not subject to an ASIC investigation and questioned the newspaper report’s “unsubstantiated” claims.
“The Company is not under investigation by ASIC,” said the notice signed by Magnis general counsel and company secretary, Julian Rockett.
“The media article repeats previously published speculation concerning trading in the Company’s shares and inquiries undertaken by ASIC in relation to some trading in those shares, the Company is not aware of any material which would indicate that the Company is or is likely to be under any form of investigation.”
Shares in Magnis Energy Technologies were at 67c on Tuesday when the trading halt took effect, having climbed from 32c at the start of October.
The last time the company went into a trading halt was in September, when Magnis announced it had raised $7.65 million through an oversubscribed capital raising, to fund preparatory work for planned battery gigafactories in Townsville and New York.
A month earlier, in August, Magnis said it had secured $A20 million in funding from SBC Global Investment and Lind Partners, an investment vehicle of which John Hancock, eldest son of late mining magnate Lang Hancock, is a senior advisor.
The proposed $3 billion Townsville giga-factory, a feasibility study for which was supported by a $3.1 million funding grant from the Queensland government, was a major leap forward for the Australian battery manufacturing industry, and had secured NAB as a financial advisor.
At the core of the company’s strategy is the manufacture of ultra-fast charging EV batteries – and in March Magnis said its partner, Charge CCCV, had shown promising results testing optimised battery cells in a commercial format.
In its statement on Tuesday, the ASX said Magnis’ securities would remain in the trading halt until either the commencement of normal trading this coming Friday, or when the announcement was released to the market, “unless ASX decides otherwise.”