About 6 years after Shai Agassi founded Better Place, the electric car company sold to Sunrise Ltd. & Association for the Promotion of the Electric Car in Israel
New owners promises to continue operation of battery-swapping stations for at least 2 years.
By Shahar Haselkorn
Sunrise Ltd. and the Association for the Promotion of the Electric Car in Israel purchased all the operations and assets of the Better Place electric car company in Israel for 18 million shekels (about $5 million) after the Lod District Court confirmed the purchase agreement of the bankrupt company on Wednesday.
The court also approved the sale of Better Place Switzerland’s intellectual property to the same group for NIS 25 million ($6.84 million).
Better Place Inc. liquidators Adv. Sigal Rosen-Rechav and Adv. Shaul Kotler asked the court to approve the company’s sale to one of the two finalists: The Association for the Promotion of the Electric Car and Sunrise Ltd. head Yosef Abramowitz, the owner of solar energy company Arava Power Company and a consortium comprising Success Parking Ltd. and US electric car charging company Car Charging Group Inc.
Rosen-Rechav and Kotler said Better Place was being sold for a “minimum price” and that in the future, should the company recuperate and begin to turn a profit, the sum may increase by tens of millions of shekels.
Better Place was founded in 2007 by Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi and the Israel Corporation. It lost more than NIS 3 billion in its five and a half years of activity. The company sold only about 950 electric cars since it began selling them in Israel in 2012. In its last months of operation Better Place tried to implement an extensive recovery plan, which included laying off hundreds of employees, but in May Israel Corp. announced it would stop investing in the company, effectively terminating its operations.
According to the purchasing deal, the Sunrise group is obligated to continue operating 15 battery-swapping stations for a period of two years. The group also promised to keep most of the company’s employees – 50 out of 85, for at least a year.
In trying to convince the court to approve the purchasing agreement, a representative of the Association for the Promotion of the Electric Car said the group did not want to buy Better Place’s operation for financial reasons. Rather, he said the group “views the continued operation of the (battery-charging) stations and the business activity as a way to reduce the damage caused to the (electric) car owners and also to realize the Zionist vision.”
Attorneys Rosen-Rechav and Kotler told the court that Sunrise’s group was the only one to offer to purchase the intellectual property as a whole and that its proposal was much more attractive than the others.
Sunrise’s main competition came from Tsahi Merkur, who heads a company that is active in the field of parking lots.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4403479,00.html