Better Place raises another $100 million in funding

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 2, 2012

According to the Better Place’s biggest investor, the electric car venture is making preparations to raise $100 million in an issue of preferred stock. Better Place, which works together with Renault, runs networks of stations where drivers can stop to replace spent batteries for new ones, or charge the batteries being used.

This aids in widening the cars’ range and hastening their mass adoption. In a statement, Israel conglomerate Israel Corp. said that of the $100 million, it aims to contribute as much as $67 million in two tranches over a period of up to one year. It is Better Place’s right to look for new investors, which could reduce the amount that Israel Corp. invests, according to the conglomerate, which owns around 30% of the car venture.

One month ago, Better Place’s CEO Shai Agassi was replaced with the CEO of its Australia unit. Agassi founded the company five years ago. Better Place’s losses increased to $132 million in the first half of 2012 from $74 million a year ago. Israel Corp said that the company considers Better Place to be a long term investment and its participation in this investment round is targeted at giving Better Place the ability to have a new management team to proceed with the implementation phase and commercial preparations in Israel and overseas.

Based in the U.S., this company operates 20 battery-swap shops in Denmark and 40 in Israel. Last September, the firm opened its first pilot switch station in the Netherlands, which will be utilized for Renault Fluence taxis.

The company said that Better Place is planning to operate between 35 and 40 swap stations produced in the Netherlands, for which a total investment of around 80 million euros may be required. In a separate matter, Better Place appointed named Alan Gelman last Thursday as its chief financial officer, beginning in January. Last month, Gelman said that he will step down as CFO of Bezeq Israel Telecom at the end of this year.

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