Better Place car venture seeks to raise $100 mln

TEL AVIV Thu Nov 1, 2012 4:15am EDT

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TEL AVIV Nov 1 (Reuters) - The Better Place Electric car venture is preparing to raise $100 million in an issue of preferred stock, its biggest investor said on Thursday.

Israel conglomerate Israel Corp said in a statement that of the $100 million it intends to contribute up to $67 million in two tranches over a period of up to one year.

Better Place has the right to seek new investors, which could lower the amount that Israel Corp invests, said Israel Corp, which owns about 30 percent of the car venture.

Better Place operates networks of stations where drivers can stop to exchange depleted batteries for new ones, or charge existing batteries, helping increase the cars' range and speeding their mass adoption.

A month ago Better Place replaced its chief executive Shai Agassi with the CEO of its Australia unit, five years after Agassi founded the company.

Separately, Better Place on Thursday named Alan Gelman as its chief financial officer, starting in January. Gelman last month said he would step down as CFO of Bezeq Israel Telecom at the end of 2012.

The company has started to set up its networks in Israel, Denmark and Australia, although there are limited numbers of electric cars on the roads so far.

In the first half of 2012, Better Place saw its loss widen to $132 million from $74 million a year earlier.

"The company views Better Place as a long term investment and its participation in this investment round is aimed at enabling Better Place with its new management team to move forward with the implementation phase and commercial preparations in Israel and abroad," Israel Corp said. (Reporting by Tova Cohen)

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