Croatian Electric Carmaker Close to EU50 Million Finance PackageBy
Cash to help Rimac build new model, boost production, CEO says
Rimac says new car to be unveiled at Geneva car show in March
Rimac Automobili d.o.o., which lays claim to the world’s fastest electric car, the Concept_One, is close to completing a 50 million-euro ($60 million) financing package to give it the cash it needs to expand and develop a new model for the market.
The company, which also supplies electric-vehicle technology and auto components, is considering offers for the financing after it received a 30 million-euro investment this month from Shanghai-based Camel Group Co., Chief Executive Officer Mate Rimac said. The Camel investment will give Rimac an inroad to China as well as provide capital for battery production and powertrain systems, he said. It’s completing plans to build eight Concept_One models since 2013, which the firm says can clock speeds of 355 kph and can reach 100 kph in under 3 seconds.
“We have a lot of interest from investors, but this is the amount of capital we need,” said Rimac said in a phone interview from London. “We know exactly what we want to do in the next three years and we want to do it on our own terms.”
The company, which designs and builds components for customers such as Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd and Koenigsegg Automotive AB, has tripled in value since 2014 and is now estimated to be worth more than 200 million euros. Rimac founded the first automaker in Croatia and produces electric cars, bicycles and car components. The company focuses on the luxury market, with an average price for a Concept_One at 1 million euros.
In his search for financing, Rimac has ruled out selling the company he started in his garage in 2009. The factory, in Sveta Nedjelja, west of Zagreb, has about 250 employees. Besides the Concept_One, it also builds electric bicycles under its Greyp Bikes d.o.o. unit that can travel as far as 240 kilometers on a single charge.
“The real scale of the business is in providing technology solutions and components to other manufacturers, with whom we are already working on new models that will be on the market in the coming years,” he said.
Camel, Asia’s largest battery manufacturer, will be given an unspecified share in the company in exchange for its investment, while Rimac said he doesn’t rule out funding from an initial share sale to the public at some point. With new capital, Rimac plans to move to a bigger location and more than double the workforce.
“I was always convinced that electric vehicles are the future,” Rimac said. “Now it seems obvious, but when I started, many people told me I’m crazy.”
The next model will mark a step toward development of a self-driving car. The company plans about 200 units of the new model and expects to present it at the Geneva International Motor Show in March, according to Rimac.
“I believe that with production of electric cars and autonomous cars we are offering a new opportunity for Croatia, and that we can help attract other companies from the industry,” he said. “If this is possible in Croatia, then other things must be possible as well.”