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Origo confirms battery investment

Origo has announced the acquisition of a 16.5% stake in Unipower Battery for an aggregate amount of US$4.3 million.

Unipower is a new venture established to provide lithium-ion batteries and elated materials to China's burgeoning electric vehicle market. The company is in the process of being spun out from the Huanyu Group, one of the largest privately held rechargeable battery manufacturers in China. 

Thanks to significant government support, as well as longer term market dynamics supporting growing demand for electric and hybrid vehicles in China and across the world, the market for Unipower's products is expected grow substaintally, which led to Origo’s investment. The Chinese government hopes to achieve production capacity of 500,000 electric and hybrid cars in China by 2011. To this end, the Chinese Government has recently drafted the 2011-2020 new energy automobile development plan, which recommends over US$15 billion in subsidies be provided to support the electric vehicle market. Furthermore, the Chinese Government recently announced a pilot subsidy program to encourage private purchases of hybrid and electric cars in the cities of Shanghai, Changchun, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei. Under the pilot scheme, consumers will receive a one off subsidy of up to US$9,000 when purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Under the terms of the transaction, Huanyu will transfer its lithium-ion business and related assets (comprising IP, sales and purchase contracts, production lines, R&D facilities and related equipment) to Unipower. Origo will subscribe for US$4.3 million of preferred stock for an aggregate 16.5 % interest in Unipower.

Commenting on the announcement, Chris Rynning, Origo CEO, said:  "We see a tremendous opportunity in the electrical and hybrid vehicle market over the next few years as China and the developed markets in the EU and the US begin to commercialize lithium-ion battery technologies. We are delighted to be able to partner with an industry leader like Huanyu to capture this opportunity, and we look forward to working closely with Unipower and its stakeholders in growing the business."


2 September 2010


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