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REFILE-UPDATE 1-Bollore to list car battery business to speed up growth
September 13, 2013 / 10:16 AM / 4 years ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-Bollore to list car battery business to speed up growth

(Fixes typographical error in first paragraph)

* No new shares issued, too early to discuss pricing - Bollore

* Plans to list no more than 10 pct for the moment

* Shares to be listed on Euronext on Oct. 30

By Gilles Guillaume

PARIS, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Billionaire French businessman Vincent Bollore plans to list a small stake in his electric car battery business on the stock market to raise its profile in an industry looking for ways to make less-polluting cars.

Bollore, fresh from winning a boardroom battle at media and telecoms group Vivendi, said on Friday he would not sell new shares in his Blue Solutions business and did not elaborate whether he was looking to do any more deals with major carmakers.

On Thursday his Bollore group, the firm behind Paris’ Autolib’ electric car-sharing scheme, said it was teaming up with Renault to bid for electric car-sharing contracts and assemble battery-powered vehicles in France.

Bollore said on Friday he wanted to turn Blue Solutions from a 40-million-euro ($53 million) operation to a company with annual sales of 1.5 billion by 2022, adding that he would keep a majority stake.

“It’s a very competitive industry worldwide, and by moving from a little-known company to an internationally listed company, you get a significant edge,” he said on the sidelines of a news conference.

The 61-year-old investor said up to 10 percent of Blue Solutions would be floated on the Euronext stock exchange on Oct. 30 and that it was too early to discuss a potential price range for the shares.

Facing tougher environmental regulations and growing demand from drivers for less polluting cars, automakers are investing heavily in electric vehicles and hybrids that combine a traditional petrol or diesel engine with electric power.

However, the technology has been slow to take off, with many consumers deterred by the limited distance that electric cars can be driven before they need to be recharged.

Blue Solutions uses lithium-metal-polymer technology rather than more common lithium-ion batteries. It also makes electricity storage stations for solar and wind power plants.

The loss-making business could reach break-even in the second half of next year and achieve operating profit of 400 million euros by 2022, Bollore said.

Bollore was appointed vice-chairman of Vivendi, in which he is the top shareholder, on Wednesday following a boardroom tussle as the conglomerate weighs up whether to spin off telecoms unit SFR to focus on media and pay-TV.

He clashed with Vivendi’s powerful chairman, Jean-Rene Fourtou, over naming a new CEO, even floating his own candidacy before pulling out in exchange for more influence over strategy, according to people familiar with the situation.

A lawyer by training and an investment banker in his early career, Bollore has become rich by taking stakes in troubled companies, growing a multi-million-euro investment conglomerate out of the family’s paper mills in France’s west-coast Brittany region.

Bollore also has a significant stake in ad agency Havas .

The Autolib business, which was launched in Paris in late 2011 and whose electric car stations dot the city, has since won 100,000 clients.

Shares in Bollore Group, which have risen some 49 percent since the beginning of the year and jumped 4.7 percent on Thursday amid speculation over its partnership with Renault, were down 0.7 percent at 381.45 euros at 0903 GMT.

$1 = 0.7514 euros Writing by Natalie Huet; Editing by James Regan and Mark Potter

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