Shareholders in tech group Inpixon are now set to vote on a proposed merger with XTI Aircraft on September 8 after an earlier meeting to address the definitive merger agreement announced on July 25 was adjourned to allow more time to consider the proposal. If the merger is approved, the two companies will have a combined listing on the Nasdaq exchange under the new name XTI Aerospace, for which a management team and board will be appointed.
XTI Aircraft, which has been developing the TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft since 2017, would operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of XTI Aerospace. Inpixon’s real-time location system, which manufacturing plants and warehouses employ, would be run as a separate business line.
In a webcast for investors on August 14, Inpixon CEO Nadir Ali said his company’s objective is to unlock what he considers to be underestimated value. XTI’s current CFO, Scott Pomeroy, who has been nominated to be the new entity’s CEO and board chairman, said the merger would “enhance our ability to execute our business plan, form partnerships with suppliers, and accelerate development of the aircraft.”
The proposed merger parties have given no indication as to how much fresh capital they expect the Nasdaq offering to yield, or how much of the funds raised might be directed to the TriFan program. Announcing its second quarter financial results on August 14, Inpixon said it had cash reserves of just over $15.7 million as of June 30. In the first half of this year, the company reported revenues of $5.2 million and a net loss of $19.7 million.
Vertical Lift Crossover Airplane Aimed at Multiple Market Segments
Colorado-based XTI now refers to its turbine-powered TriFan model as a “vertical lift crossover airplane.” Featuring a pair of tilting ducted fans on the wing and another fan integrated into the rear fuselage, it has an anticipated range of 700 miles and can fly at up to 345 mph.
XTI has previously attempted to reboot the program through a merger with Xeriant Aerospace that was first announced in 2021 but that appears to have been abandoned last year. In August 2022, the company reported that it had pushed back the targeted service entry date for the TriFan 600 to 2027.
XTI’s business plan appears to be similar to that of another U.S. company, Transcend Air, which is working on the Vy 421 VTOL model. Transcend is positioning that model as an alternative to existing business aircraft and helicopters while also looking to compete against much shorter-range eVTOL vehicles. Both companies have eschewed electric propulsion systems, at least for now, and instead will use current turboshaft engines to deliver superior range and payload, while avoiding the need for new charging infrastructure.
Pomeroy told investors that XTI Aircraft, under the leadership of CEO Mike Hinderberger, wants to step up efforts to build a full-scale prototype of the TriFan 600. Up until 2020, the team was mainly working on a battery-powered 65 percent scale model, but early flight testing was disrupted by the Covid pandemic.
According to XTI, the TriFan 600 will have direct operating costs of around $733 per hour, which will be markedly less than those of helicopters. And with a higher cruise speed of around 300 knots, it is expected to be able to double its revenue potential by flying more missions each day.
Hinderberger told investors that the five-year cost of ownership for the TriFan 600 will be relatively close to that of business jets and turboprops including the Embraer Phenom 300E, the HondaJet Elite II, the Pilatus PC-24, and the Beechcraft King Air 260. However, he maintained that the VTOL model will deliver an improved return on investment because its operations will not be limited by the need for runways and airports.
XTI reported that it is sitting on conditional pre-orders for around 700 TriFan 600s, potentially worth $7.1 billion based on an anticipated sticker price of $10 million per aircraft. Pomeroy said prospective customers include a mix of existing business aircraft and helicopter fleet operators and some regional airlines looking for new ways to connect city pairs. In September 2021, the reported price tag for the aircraft was $6.5 million.