Australia: Enevis bets on high-tech LEDs to power turnaround story

One of the oldest listed companies on the ASX, Enevis, is betting on smart lighting technology that can boost agricultural production as a new growth engine for the business, as management tries to return the company to its glory days.

The LumiGrow technology, for which audio-visual and lighting company Enevis secured an exclusive supply agreement with its US-based parent company this month, is designed to speed up the growth and improve the quality of crops, such as tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and cannabis, by controlling all of the light characteristics and matching them perfectly to the crop type.

Unlike other LED installations, LumiGrow’s technology is coupled with cloud-based software that utilises artificial intelligence to constantly optimise the lighting on the crop, be it the amount or the spectrum.

Nectar Farms chief executive Stephen Sasse said the company had done a global search for the best LED lighting technology and he expected it to have a notable impact on taste of the produce and the yield.

Enevis will manage the installation and servicing of the LumiGrow lights at the glasshouse, which Mr Sasse hoped would generate its first harvest by Christmas next year.

Enevis, formerly known as Stokes, dates back to 1856 when the company was started by English die-sinker Thomas Stokes, who had come to Australia during the gold-rush era. In the early days, the business produced metals, tokens, buttons and silverware, before shifting into manufacturing appliance parts.

In 2012, chief executive Peter Jinks joined the business as an investor and was appointed to the board alongside his brother Greg. The two realised shortly after joining that the company’s appliance part manufacturing business did not have a strong future and it pivoted once again into audio-visual installations and supplying LED lighting to large commercial projects.

The company has been in a turnaround period for the past two years, following a $2 million project with an electrical contractor working on the Simonds Stadium in Geelong where Enevis delivered services such as audio-visual equipment, broadcasting and digital signage. The company told the Australian Securities Exchange it was paid less than half it was owed at the time.

Read more at Enevis (Yolanda Redrup)

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