Global Weekly: DuPont Extends into Solar Sector
The biggest deal of the past week was made by chemical giant DuPont, which acquired InnovaLight, a California-based company that develops a silicon nanocrystalline ink for flexible solar panels. DuPont already had revenue of more than $1 billion in the solar market in 2010, and expects that to reach $2 billion by 2014.
The week also featured several innovative companies in the transportation sector, as well as a few corporate-level transactions, including one made by DuPont’s competitor Dow Chemical.
The complete highlights are as follows:
Venture capital and private equity investments
- Washington-based INRIX, a developer of a predictive traffic service that anticipates conditions on specific routes, announced a commitment of $37 million in Series D round funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and August Capital. The investment will be used to fuel acquisition efforts, continued global expansion and R&D efforts
- The European investment arm of H.I.G. Capital acquired Germany-based Haltermann Products, a hydrocarbon company that produces test and reference fuels for the automotive industry, from Dow Chemical.
- Massachusetts-based Gazelle, an online site that lets individuals trade in electronics for cash and then re-sells them or recycles them, announced that it has raised $22 million in its fourth round of funding from Craton Equity Partners, Physic Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners and Venrock Associates.
- Oregon-based InEnTec, a developer and operator of waste-to-energy technology facilities, raised $20 million in a proposed $69 million financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- Pennsylvania-based Plextronics, a developer of active layer technology for printed electronic devices with applications in polymer solar cells, lighting, and plastic circuitry, received a €10 million (~$15 million) investment from global chemical company Solvay.
- Norway-based Think Global, a manufacturer of all-electric city cars that recently filed for bankruptcy, was purchased by international technology entrepreneur Boris Zingarevich.
- UK-based on-shore wind energy project developer Burcote Wind raised £5.7 million (~$9.3 million) from UK private investor syndicator Hotbed. This is Hotbed’s second investment in the Scottish company.
- Michigan-based Sunlogics, a vertically-integrated solar energy systems provider specializing in solar project development and installation, raised $7.5 million from General Motors Ventures. Sunlogics will use some of the funding to establish its corporate headquarters and open a manufacturing facility in suburban Detroit, and to set up a manufacturing facility in Ontario.
- California-based Wildcat Discovery Technologies, a developer of new materials for batteries, hydrogen storage, gas separation, carbon capture, and electronic inks, raised $7.5 million in a recent financing round, according to regulatory filings.
- Virginia-based Apex Wind Energy, a developer and financier of wind energy projects, raised $6.4 million in a $10 million financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- TSX-listed Naturally Advanced Technologies, a Canada-based developer of technologies that generate bio-based energy from flax, hemp and other bast fibers, raised $5.1 in an equity financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- UK-based Applied Superconductor, a developer and producer of devices for utility and industrial networks employing high temperature superconductor materials, raised £3.6 million (~$5.9 million) from Octopus Ventures, OCAS Ventures and IP Group.
- Washington-based Prometheus Energy, a producer of liquid natural gas used primarily as an alternative transportation fuel, raised $3.5 million in a financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- Virginia-based Earl Energy, a veteran-owned renewable energy systems engineering and project development company, raised $3.2 million in a $4.4 million financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- North Carolina-based HexaTech, a developer and producer of single crystalline aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates for high performance electronic and optoelectronic devices, raised $3.1 million in a debt financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- New York-based Smart Energy Capital, a finance and investment company focused exclusively on the North American solar photovoltaic industry, raised $1.9 million in a debt and equity financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- Washington-based Flux Drive, a developer of permanent magnet adjustable speed drives and couplings that increase the life and performance of rotating equipment, raised $1.5 million from Northwest Energy Angels and the Alliance of Angels.
- Georgia-based PodPonics, a provider of innovative local agriculture produce growing solutions by repurposing recycled shipping containers as “Grow Pods,” raised $725,000 of seed funding from a group of undisclosed investors.
- Minnesota-based Natural Resource Group, a provider of environmental permitting services to the renewables industry, raised $660,000 in a planned $1.5 million financing round, according to a regulatory filing.
- California-based Complete Solar Solution, a seller of residential solar power systems utilizing its innovative HelioQuote™ software platform, raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Floodgate Fund.
- California-based Aperia Technologies, a developer of an automatic tire inflation device for trucks in order to improve fleet efficiency and fuel efficiency, raised an undisclosed amount in its first round of funding from Augment Ventures.
- US listed private equity firm Apollo Global Management revealed plans to raise around $1.5 billion for a fund focused on natural resources. The fund will target long-term investments in the mining, metals and energy sectors.
- China-based Zhongneng Green Fund, a cleantech-focused acquisition/buyout fund, closed at RMB 2 billion. The fund specifically targets LED companies in China, as well as waste treatment, water treatment and clean coal technologies.
- UK-based Disruptive Capital revealed that it is raising a £200 million (~$326 million) fund, of which cleantech will be a major focus sector. The fund is scheduled to be closed in the first quarter of 2012.
- RIT Capital Partners revealed that it is raising a $750 private equity fund from Chinese investors to target sectors including clean energy, pharmaceuticals and natural resources, among others. The fund specifically provides an easy platform for Chinese investors to invest overseas, given the country’s strict capital controls.
- US-based private equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners teamed with the Chinese city of Yangzhou to establish a RMB-denominated fund to invest in the country’s growing clean energy markets.
Mergers and acquisitions
- Chemical giant DuPont acquired California-based InnovaLight, a developer of a silicon nanocrystalline ink for flexible solar panels, to expand its activity in solar materials market. DuPont had revenue of more than $1 billion in the solar market in 2010, and expects that to reach $2 billion by 2014.
- US-based recycling and waste giant Waste Management acquired Connecticut-based Oakleaf Waste Management, a consolidator of waste management and recycling services, for $425 million.
- California-based Trimble, a major provider of positioning solutions, announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Minnesota-based PeopleNet, a provider of software and hardware solutions that help manage regulatory compliance, fuel costs, driver safety and customer visibility for fleets, for an undisclosed amount.
- New Jersey-based mPhase Technologies, a developer of nanotechnology, MEMS processing and microfluidics technologies, signed a letter of intent to acquire New Jersey-based Energy Innovative Products, a developer of proprietary technologies for reducing energy usage in refrigeration and cooling systems, as well as equipment utilizing AC induction motors.
- Illinois Tool Works, a maker of industrial tools and products, announced that it has acquired Minnesota-based Despatch Industries, an industrial equipment manufacturer whose products include solar cell firing furnaces.
- Missouri-based Insituform Technologies, a provider of technologies and services for rehabilitating sewer, water, energy and mining piping systems, entered into agreement to acquire the North American business of Fyfe Group, an industry leader in the development, manufacture and installation of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) systems.
- The Spanish paper company Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa (SAICA) acquired UK-based Cutts Recycling, a provider of recycling services and waste minimization solutions. SAICA said it purchased Cutts Recycling as part of a plan to lock in tonnage for the recycled paper mill it is building near Manchester, UK.
Other transactions and activities
- Wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy announced that it is planning to sell its remaining 26% stake in Belgium-based Hansen Transmissions International, a supplier of wind turbine gearbox and industrial gearbox, to German engineering firm ZF Friedrichshafen for $187 million.
- Two Chinese solar companies, Chaori Solar and Sky Solar, formed a joint venture to finance, install and manage solar power plants. Chaori will own a 70% stake in the new company, and Sky Solar will own 30%.
- UK-based Tidal Energy, a developer of tidal energy generators, received an £11 million (~$18 million) investment from the European Regional Development Fund and its current majority shareholder, Eco2, to deploy a demonstration device.
- Dow Chemical took an equity stake in New York-based Primet Precision Materials, developer of the NanoScisson Process that produces materials with tight particle size distributions that improve performance, reliability and predictability for various devices.
- China Recycling Energy Corporation, a leading developer of waste energy recycling projects for industrial applications in China, sold 4.15 million shares of its common stock to Carlyle Asia Growth Partners III. The total value of the transaction is $5 million.
- Thailand’s largest oil and gas conglomerate, PTT, and Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, developer of bio-plastic technology, formed a Thailand-based joint venture focused on bioplastic production.
Initial public offerings
- California-based BioSolar, a producer of bio-based materials from renewable plant sources that will reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, announced its intention to make an initial public offering on a US stock exchange.
Dallas runs cleantech research and consulting company Kachan & Co. He is former managing director and executive editor of the Cleantech Group, credited with coining the term cleantech and founding the cleantech investment class. He is author of 400+ cleantech articles and reports, a regular speaker at cleantech events worldwide and is quoted widely as a cleantech market and technology ...
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