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Wednesday, 22 February 2023

EFG Hermes’ Vortex Energy + Zouk Capital make USD 80 mn equity investment in British EV charging company

Vortex Energy + Zouk Capital invest in British EV charging company: EFG Hermes Holding’s clean energy investment platform Vortex Energy and London-based private equity and infrastructure fund manager Zouk Capital will make an USD 80 mn equity investment in British EV charging company EO Charging, according to a joint statement (pdf).

About EO Charging: Founded in 2014, EO Charging has deployed more than 80k chargers to businesses and consumers in more than 35 countries around the world. The London-based company provides charging infrastructure for global companies including Amazon, DHL and Uber.

This is EO Charging’s first go at fundraising since its SPAC collapse: The company called off a USD 675 mn merger with First Reserve Sustainable Growth — a New York-listed special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) — in March last year due to market volatility.

Valuation + equity stakes undisclosed: The companies said that Zouk Capital led the funding round but didn’t disclose how much they will contribute to the USD 80 mn investment or the corresponding equity stakes acquired in the firm. EO Charging founder Charlie Jardine hinted at a lower valuation in an interview with the Financial Times, telling the salmon-colored paper: “You can see what is happening in the market.”

Where’s the money going? EO Charging will use the funds to further expand its business in North America and Europe, after having established its position as a leader in the UK market, the statement said.

Vortex’s fourth fund has plenty more dry powder to deploy: The investment was made through the Vortex Energy IV Fund, which was launched in 2021. The fourth fund is anchored by EFG Hermes, Abu Dhabi sovereign institutional investors and family offices, and an unnamed Asian family office. Back in July 2021, EFG Hermes announced its first close of USD 200 mn for Vortex IV, which it planned to grow to USD 750 mn by this year. Vortex IV has focused on Spanish wind and solar developer Ignis Energia, into which it has so far invested around EUR 300 mn. The fund has plans to eventually invest EUR 625 mn in Ignis in return for an estimated 49% stake.

What they said:“This investment is critical for us, as it ticks the box on delivering our vision and strategy for Vortex Energy and Vortex IV specifically,” Vortex Energy CEO Karim Moussa told Enterprise Climate. Vortex targets investment across the whole energy transition value chain, and in this sense, the new EO investment complements its existing investment in Ignis Energia, he added.

Europe is a key market to target for EV infrastructure expansion — particularly as certain countries plan to sell only EVs starting in 2030, Moussa said. “There are currently 375k public chargers across the EU — and this needs to increase to 3.4 mn by 2030. So it’s a massive increase that needs to happen to fulfill upcoming demand,” he added.

Advisors: Improved Corporate Finance advised Vortex on M&A, White & Case was counsel, and PwC was the financial and tax advisor. Fladgate were counsel to Zouk Capital, while EO Charging’s was advised by Evercore (M&A) and Birketts (legal).

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