Bratislava, Slovakia / San Diego, California (16/10/2019) – IPM Group, in consortium with its portfolio company InoBat and Flint Hills Resources, subsidiary of Koch Industries, invest USD20m Series C financing into Wildcat Discovery Technologies, a global leader in lithium-ion battery research and development. The investment marks an important milestone for the InoBat Auto project, laying the ground for the construction of Slovakia-based EUR100m battery production and R&D line starting in 2020, with a view to upscale to a 10 GWh mass manufacturing facility. InoBat Auto, together with Wildcat’s renowned R&D platform enhanced with AI capabilities, plans to provide proprietary batteries to European automakers, helping the EU move a step closer towards its technological independence from foreign battery producers, as well as its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Following up on the strategic alliance agreement signed in July this year, IPM Group in consortium with InoBat invested in Wildcat via its newly established investment vehicle, the IPM InoBat Fund, to facilitate the further development of the company’s unique High Throughput Platform, while securing InoBat Auto, a joint venture between Wildcat and InoBat, with regional exclusivity. InoBat Auto envisages to uniquely combine an R&D centre, utilising Wildcat’s proprietary technology, with an electric vehicle battery production line. The construction of the production line’s facility is expected to start in the second quarter of 2020, with the aim of commencing operations towards the end of 2021. The combination of R&D and production will allow for continuous development of proprietary batteries in close cooperation with electric vehicle manufacturers in the region. Since the Central and Eastern European (“CEE”) region is home to some of the largest car producers per capita, it offers InoBat Auto significant offtake opportunities, putting the joint venture on the path to becoming a global leader in electric vehicle batteries.
“The investment in Wildcat, particularly alongside Flint Hills Resources, is an honour. We recognise Wildcat’s potential for the auto battery industry, as well as the positive environmental impact the company has, bringing us another step closer to carbon neutrality. Transferring unique technologies to Europe and creating complex value chains that will help solve some of the most pressing infrastructure issues is our core mission,” said Marian Bocek, Managing Partner at IPM Group and Executive Chairman at InoBat.
Mark Gresser, Wildcat’s CEO, stated “Wildcat is honoured and excited to have the endorsement and participation of two great new investors, Flint Hills Resources, and IPM Group in consortium with InoBat. With our investor Flint Hills, we gain the financial backing of an incredibly successful enterprise with deep ties throughout the energy and automotive industries, and with IPM’s and InoBat’s support, we have the ability to partner with an emerging European based battery manufacturer who can expand our strategic reach to Central and Eastern Europe.”
“Improved battery technology has the potential to drive disruptive innovation across the economy, especially in the transportation sector. We believe Wildcat is well positioned to be on the cutting-edge of these innovations,” said Jeff Ramsey, president and CEO of Flint Hills Resources.
The EU is predicted to be the second largest single market for electric vehicle batteries. However, the EU is estimated to lag 5 years behind in its battery technology development and unless it takes significant steps towards making up for the delay in the upcoming 2 years, it will have to rely on foreign producers for the foreseeable future. InoBat Auto, combining proprietary R&D with full-scale production, has the potential to bring forth a novel technology that will revolutionise the entire auto battery industry, all the while providing the EU with a strategic solution necessary for securing its technological independence.