AUSSIE E-BUS, BATTERY BOOST VIA AUD$110 MILLION CAPITAL RAISE

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Nexport / True Green


AUSTRALIAN 'clean tech' investor True Green - whose portfolio includes electric bus transport and technology group Nexport Mobility - has successfully secured AUD$110 million to advance its e-bus and EV making capability nationwide, it announced today.

AUSSIE E-BUS, BATTERY BOOST VIA AUD$110 MILLION CAPITAL RAISE
More buses and batteries to come; the $110 million funding injection also supports the renaissance of clean-tech manufacturing in Australia, says Nexport/True Green.

Hong Kong-based Tor Investment Management, a private alternative asset manager focused on Asia-Pacific markets with more than US$2Bn in assets under management, provided the new funding line, True Green confirms. Burnvoir Corporate Finance Limited supplied financial advice for the raise, it adds.

ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) accelerator and active impact investor True Green Impact Group ('True Green') will use the funds as growth capital for the Nexport Group, which is currently leading the clean mobility-tech evolution across Australia, it states.

This includes boosted funding to support the NSW government with its transition to an electric bus fleet and to introduce a range of mobility product offerings to the corporate and consumer markets, it explains.

The funding injection also supports the renaissance of clean-tech manufacturing in Australia with Nexport, as reported earlier, to establish a large-scale production facility at a 94-hectare eco-hub hub in the NSW Southern Highlands region of Moss Vale - being developed by the True Green Group, it confirms.

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TRITIUM CONNECTION

Following a recent Australian Financial Review (AFR) report that cited Nexport Mobility planning to team up with charging group Tritium to make electric vehicles in Brisbane, True Green executive director Luke Todd - as he confirmed a $110 million funding injection - stated to the AFR: "We’re very excited about the recent Olympics news because we believe a key part of Brisbane and the Olympics is hopefully going to be the first zero-emission Olympics."

"We’re in detailed discussions with Tritium about having a joint facility where we’ll be manufacturing EV products in Brisbane."

As the AFR reports, Todd describes Brisbane-headquartered Tritium as a "business cousin" because both Tritium, which makes fast-chargers for electric vehicles, and Nexport Mobility are backed by Trevor St Baker’s St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.

It cites Nexport wanting to build a battery testing facility in Brisbane in partnership with Tritium, so it can demonstrate the safety of electric batteries.

Todd told the AFR: "Hopefully one day if we’re making batteries in Australia, whether it’s us or ...some other entities, this will be a facility that would be an open platform type facility where anyone could come along and our team of technicians would work with them to test the batteries."

The AFR report adds that Nexport also hopes to build electric buses and logistics trucks in Brisbane alongside Tritium’s manufacturing plant for charging stations.

"That then starts to create this whole ecosystem of clean tech industry that hopefully puts Brisbane, and other parts of Australia, on the map globally as a renowned trusted quality manufacturer of products and chargers."

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STATE OF ORIGIN

Given his recent comments which seemed to focus on True Green's EV endeavours in Queensland, ABC magazine asked Todd if this was a new focus, or was it still on NSW, or if there was some 60/40, 70/30 split either way envisaged for direction of True Green/Nexport funding and resources to both.

"We are focussed both on NSW, VIC, QLD and also the ACT ... each is equally important," Todd replied.

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E-BUS PRODUCTION

The locally produced electric vehicles (EVs) will be developed in conjunction with specialised Chinese EV automotive group BYD Auto Co., Ltd., of which American business magnate and investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns 8.2 per cent, sources confirm.

According to True Green, the funding, "...significantly bolsters the group’s balance sheet and provides a clear runway to a potential IPO in early 2022."

Additionally it, "...marks TrueGreen’s push to bring manufacturing back to Australia and [the] Southern Highlands region."

It also highlights the ongoing demand from government organisations and other large corporate groups for sustainable alternatives, as Australia urges closer to net-zero emissions, it explains.

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MAJOR COUP

Nexport received considerable demand from a range of international investment groups, which well exceeded the $110m needed, True Green confirms.

This funding follows the completion of a successful capital raise in May, 2021, when Nexport secured AUD$20m from the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.

True Green's Todd said: "To have secured this funding is a major coup for Nexport. It exceeded the total amount we were initially seeking and comes from a major international fund, highlighting the broad reach and potential applicability of our vehicles."

"The group now has the necessary financial flexibility to progress a number of opportunities and bring advanced manufacturing back to Australia and transform EV adoption from aspirational to mainstream," Todd explained.

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OTHER VERTICALS

True Green is assessing a number of other avenues to fund and further scale up its broader operations, it confirms.

The group is currently seeking funding for other verticals and, pleasingly, is experiencing a similar level of interest, it says.

The group continues to generate very strong interest across its portfolio and a number of developments are expected to materialise in the coming months, according to the company.

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