>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

Forsee Power, the French specialist in smart battery systems for urban mobility, announces a EUR 55m financing operation to support the industrialisation of its battery systems. These funds are being provided by Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) via the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and Idinvest. The signing ceremony was held on the morning of 18 December 2017 at Hôtel de Cassini in the presence of Commissioner General for Investment Louis Schweitzer.

Industrial capacity multiplied to support the energy transition of public transport

Driven by the bus, the energy transition of public transport has greatly accelerated in Europe since the beginning of 2017 and manufacturers are now engaged in the series production of vehicles to cover a European market estimated at 3 500 buses per year by 2020, which is then expected to double over the following five years.

This funding will enable Forsee Power to increase its production capacity and launch the series production of smart battery systems in Europe and China, particularly for the transport markets (bus, railway, truck, boat, scooter). Consequently, the group will hire 250 people in France by the end of 2021.

With the most comprehensive range of batteries on the transport markets, the Forsee Power group is very well positioned for the future; it has already signed major battery supply contracts with renowned scooter and bus manufacturers, including CNHI (Iveco, Heuliez), CaetanoBus in Portugal and Wrightbus in the United Kingdom. In addition, the group is establishing strong positions in the industrial vehicles and railway markets.

“This new momentum from the EIB and Mitsui is a strong signal for our company and for ‘French Fab’. And also for the battery industry in our country,” stated Forsee Power’s CEO Christophe Gurtner.The Forsee Power group wants to position itself among the top players in electromobility and this financing will help us to make inroads into this flagship market that has been driving us for many years,” he concluded.

Mitsui sees “Mobility” as one of the key pillars of growth

Mitsui is one of the world’s most diversified and comprehensive trading, investment, and service enterprises in the world, with 139 offices in 66 countries as of 1 December 2017. In its medium-term management plan announced in May this year, Mitsui selected “Mobility” as one of the key growth areas to focus on, and it promotes the expansion of automotive materials through to mobility and transportation services.

Mitsui said: “Electrification is one of the most important topics in the mobility field, so our investment in Forsee Power has great strategic significance and provides various opportunities for future collaboration at each stage in the value chain, from raw materials to electro-chemistry, vehicles, and the second life of batteries and recycling.”

The participation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments reinforces Forsee Power's strategy

Since the aim of Forsee Power is to expand its French and international production of battery systems, this EUR 20m EIB contribution provides fresh impetus to the group, which can reinforce its commitment to the recruiting effort that is currently of strategic importance to the group.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle stressed during the signing ceremony: “With this new loan under the Juncker Plan, our goal is to support Forsee Power’s international development in terms of production and sales but also its Research, Development and Innovation activities, which will give it a competitive advantage with the conquest of new markets. This loan is fully in line with our priority of underpinning innovation and climate action with the aim of promoting high-quality clean transport for users in the heart of towns, cities and regions. I hope that this loan will help to create numerous training and employment opportunities while fostering the development of new advanced technologies supporting a green and responsible economy.”

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is the central pillar of the Juncker Plan, is an initiative to fill the current investment gap faced in the European Union. Launched jointly by the EIB Group and the European Commission, it aims to relaunch investment, restore EU competitiveness and create jobs. In France, the Juncker Plan is continuing to gather momentum with a running total of 111 operations amounting to EUR 8.7bn of financing set to mobilise EUR 40bn in additional investments.

In addition, on the occasion of this major financing operation, Idinvest Partners, a shareholder of Forsee Power since 2013, is strengthening its stake in the group.