Leclanché’s main investor ups the ante with US$76m injection

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Leclanché batteries at a large-scale microgrid project. Image: Younicos.

Swiss vertically-integrated battery and energy storage system and equipment maker Leclanché has followed sonnen in netting a significant amount of investment to go into the second half of 2018, securing CHF75 million (US$76 million) from its main existing investor.

Leclanché, which was reported a while back to be targeting – and apparently on course at that time – to reach profitability next year, is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange and posted the announcement there this morning. The company’s biggest investor is FEFAM, an investor group aggregated from four ‘sub-funds’: AM Investment SCA, SICAV-SIF, a liquid assets sub-fund; Finexis Equity Fund’s multi-asset strategy sub-fund, its renewable energy sub-fund and also Finexis’ E-money strategies sub-fund, which it also calls ‘Energy storage invest’.

FEFAM invested about CHF50 million to date in the energy storage company and has just increased that commitment by a further CHF25 million, bringing its investment involvement to the CHF75 million figure. Additionally, FEFAM has extended a CHF50 million facility for Leclanché to pursue acquisitions and joint ventures (JVs). These potential targets are expected to be sourced from the e-mobility and stationary grid-based energy storage sectors, particularly in Asia, Europe and North America. The company is already in talks to acquire a software developer in the US and is on the verge of setting up an EV-related JV in India. There is also a JV under negotiation in China, which could be related to mass production.

Leclanché also said in its statement to SIX, the Swiss Stock Exchange, that as of 1 March this year, it has been negotiating with a potential, unnamed strategic investor who might make up to CHF125 million in corporate funding available. That agreement could be confirmed by the fourth quarter of this year.

“This substantial investment fully funds our business plan through to 2020 when we expect to be EBITDA positive,” Leclanché CEO Anil Srivastava said.

“We thank FEFAM for their continued strong investment support. This additional funding will allow us to capitalise on the exciting opportunities we see in the fast-growing markets of stationary grid-based storage and e-Transport worldwide. The opportunity for Leclanché is now.”

Leclanché holds its annual general meeting for shareholders in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland tomorrow. In its recently-issued 2017 full-year financial results, the company said it has a confirmed order book of more than 50MWh of battery storage systems for 2018 and should hit 100MWh of energy storage deployments during this year.

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