The Meth Breaker has a natural appeal for landlords who don’t want their properties used as illegal drug labs or trashed by tenants
The Meth Breaker has a natural appeal for landlords who don’t want their properties used as illegal drug labs or trashed by tenants kaarsten

Meth device to stop labs and addicts

Few start-up operators would get the opportunity to pick the brain of someone like esteemed bizoid Don Argus, the retired former chairman of BHP Billiton and an ex-boss of NAB.

But when the new company counts brother Dave Argus among the investors, then it's a different story.

Dave, the one-time publican who used to operate Brisbane's historic Plough Inn, now has a stake in an outfit known as Global Meth Solutions, which sells small devices able to detect the use of methamphetamine in a home and then alert the owner by text message.

"We talked to Don for a bit of guidance. He gave us a few ideas and helped with the business plan,'' Dave told City Beat as he was recuperating at home following knee replacement surgery.

Dave Argus
Dave Argus

Launched in May, the Brisbane-based company now has worldwide patents for the smoke detector-like contraption known as "The Meth Breaker," which has a natural appeal for landlords who obviously don't want their properties used as illegal drug labs or trashed by ice-addicted tenants.

The devices, which have a range of 100 sqm, test the air every 30 minutes and send a weekly report to a nominated mobile phone.

If at any point if they get a reading at or above the Australian standards level, an alert is sent straight away. Any effort to tamper with or cover the devices will also prompt a text.

 

GLOBAL INTEREST

Overseeing Global Meth Solutions are three directors, lawyer Glenn Ferguson and real estate agents Sam Devlin and Aaron Brooks, who jointly run the Harcourts outpost at Coorparoo.

Each of these gents has an equity stake in the business, as does Dave's longtime mate, David Pie, a major shareholder.

Pie said the units are produced in Auckland because the concept was developed there by a couple of blokes who had "personal issues'' regarding meth.

Online sales started about two months ago and roughly 250 units have already flown out the door at a pre-GST price of $635 a piece, plus $66 a year for a SIM card, a small charge for text messages and an annual battery change.

Based on the growing scourge of ice use, Pie is now forecasting tens of thousands of sales around the globe.

Aaron Brooks
Aaron Brooks

"We have had interest from different countries around the world but, in particular, the USA, where we have an affiliate based in California,'' Pie said.

State governments would also seem to be a no-brainer client given how much public housing they control.

Pie revealed that he pitched the concept to the gang working for Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni but got a lukewarm response. The Opposition, though, seems more keen on the idea.

It's not hard to see why.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission estimates that more than 8.3 tonnes of meth is consumed in Australia each year.

Agency data shows nearly 470 labs were busted in 2016-17 and research suggests that 1 in 70 Australian have used meth in the past year.

 

FINDING DOUGH

Mayur Resources might be based in Brisbane but they're focused squarely on PNG, where they hope to build a $350 million cement and lime project on the coast about 25km outside Port Moresby.

Boss Paul Mulder revealed on Wednesday that the development had taken another leap forward, with KPMG Corporate Finance sourcing interest from a raft of lenders willing to extend a bit of debt financing.

Paul Mulder
Paul Mulder

At the same time, a separate staged equity raising for the project is also under way courtesy of a joint effort by KPMG and Morgans.

Mayur itself has gone cap in hand to the market several times this year, with the capital raisings pulling in more than $17 million.

The company floated in late 2017 after rustling up $15.5 million from investors. But it's been a tough slog since then, with the last two financial years producing net losses of $3.3 million and $4.7 million.



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