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Tracking from Stellenbosch to New York

Formed in 2007 when automotive group Control Instruments (which owns Retreat-based Gabriel shock absorbers) merged its Omnibridge subsidiary into Telimatrix to form MiX. Formed in 2007 when automotive group Control Instruments (which owns Retreat-based Gabriel shock absorbers) merged its Omnibridge subsidiary into Telimatrix to form MiX.

VEHICLE tracking and fleet management specialist Mix Telematics – which researches and designs its cutting edge products from Stellenbosch – is riding high in New York. The company last month

offered special shares (called American Depositary Receipts) that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange to international investors. The shares proved popular with investors, and were completely sold out at the upper end of the indicative price range of US$16.share.

It’s been an amazing journey for Mix, which was formed in 2007, when automotive group Control Instruments (which owns Retreat-based Gabriel shock absorbers) merged its Omnibridge subsidiary into Telimatrix to form MiX. MiX was subsequently unbundled out of Control, and has thrived since its ‘corporate emancipation’. The company boasts a subscriber base that has grown rapidly from 206,000 in 2010 to 359,000 this year.

MiX has also secured a chunky annuity income flow of R687m, which is more than half the company’s total turnover of R1,2bn. The company’s top 10 customers accounted for a quarter of the latest subscription revenue, and 51% of total revenue is earned in dollars, euros, Australian dollars and pounds thanks to successful geographic expansion.

MiX’s competitive edge almost certainly stems from its emphasis on product design and development at its Stellenbosch facility. Essentially Mix’s Stellenbosch unit offers solutions that allow customers – which can be large of small fleet operators - to reduce fuel and other operating costs, improve efficiency, enhance regulatory compliance, promote driver safety, manage risk and mitigate theft.

The company again underlined its commitment to researching new applications by spending in financial 2013 a hefty R63m (11% more than last year) on Research and Development (R&D.) In a recent presentation to investors, MiX CEO Stefan Joselowitz stressed the company was committed to product development and research. “We routinely have been among the first to market with innovative solutions. We intend to continue to invest in product development to expand our portfolio of fleet and mobile asset management solutions.”

Joselowitz said new products showing strong growth potential like Trailer-Tracking and MiX Vision. MiX generated R331m from its Stellenbosch arm – ironically called MiX International – in the last financial year, Profits from the operation were an impressive R93m.

Gut feeling is that New York Stock Exchange investors – who have effectively coughed up R590m in fresh capital for MiX to pursue new opportunities – will be paying particular attention to the new product flow out of Stellenbosch in the years ahead.

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