Investors wipe $65m off Acusensus shares amid offshore setbacks

Investors wipe $65m off Acusensus shares amid offshore setbacks

Acusensus co-founder and CEO Alexander Jannink

Two announcements within days of each other have disappointed shareholders of Melbourne-based road safety technology company Acusensus (ASX: ACE), leading them to wipe almost $65 million off the value of the company’s shares.

The Acusensus share price fell 19.2 per cent today after the company was dealt a blow in its bid to introduce a state-wide speed safety camera program for the Washington State Department of Transport in the US (WSDOT).

After announcing last month that it had secured ‘apparent successful vendor’ status for the planned contract, the company today revealed that a ‘comprehensive program could not be delivered within the tender’s constraints’.

“WSDOT has closed the tender without making an award to any party,” says Acusensus in a statement to the ASX.

The failed tender bid comes on the heels of Acusensus last week announcing it had also missed out on a tender for mobile phone enforcement camera services in western Europe.

That announcement triggered a 33 per cent slump in Acusensus shares last Wednesday, 27 February, to 76c – down from a near record closing high of $1.14.

The shares fell as low as 63c following today’s announcement, taking the company’s share price losses to 44.7 per cent over the past week totalling $64.46 million of the market value of Acusensus.

Despite the setback, Acusensus, whose CEO Alexander Jannink is also co-founder, says the US tender process has provided ‘valuable insight’ into supplying end-to-end services in the US.

The company says this will ‘stand it in good stead as it continues to explore new opportunities to deploy its advanced technology in the US road safety market’.

The Washington tender required Acusensus to provide end-to-end field and back-office services to support a new road safety camera program for work zones.

Acusensus says its failure to secure the contract does not affect its FY24 forecast of revenue of between $49 million and $51 million and EBITDA of between $4 million and $5 million.

The company last week posted a 35 per cent increase in EBITDA to $2.5 million for the six months to the end of December following a 25 per cent increase in revenue to $24.7 million.

The solid earnings performance was largely delivered by the Australian market with just 6 per cent of Acusensus’ revenue is generated from offshore markets.

The company, which has secured contracts for its AI-technology traffic monitoring cameras in four Australian states and territories, has established offshore divisions to focus on driving the take-up of its technology in the US, UK and Europe.

While the AI technology is currently used for mobile phone and seatbelt enforcement, the company continues to explore novel applications for its technology.

Among the new advanced products it is developing include mobile phone awareness and tailgating monitoring, as well as road-worker protection and impaired driving detection – with demonstrations for the first two products planned for the current half year.

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