Chargemaster Pulls Plug On £30m AIM Listing
A British pioneer of electric car charging points has abandoned plans to go public after failing to persuade outside investors to back its management team's valuation of the company.
Sky News understands that Chargemaster, which is based near Luton, decided in recent days to abort proposals for a listing on London's junior AIM stock market.
The company had been planning to raise approximately £6m, valuing it at £32m, but concluded after discussions with institutional investors that it would not succeed in doing so.
"Admission to AIM will provide Chargemaster with the necessary access to funding for its next phase of development in order to seize opportunities in this growing market and in particular to capitalise on the near term infrastructure roll-out driven by government incentives and regulation," David Martell, Chargemaster's chief executive, said when the company unveiled plans for the AIM listing last month.
The decision to remain a privately-held company does not affect an investment from BMW, the German automotive giant, which has injected roughly £500,000 in Chargemaster and will work with the British company to develop its technology.
Chargemaster has been a beneficiary of Government plans to encourage motorists to switch to electric vehicles, with the European Commission demanding that 795,000 charging points are installed across the Continent by 2020. Last year, it made a gross profit of £1.24m on sales of £3.6m.
The UK Government is subsidising up to 75% of the cost of domestic charging points, according to the British company's flotation documents. Annual European demand for electric vehicle charging infrastructure is expected to reach $1bn (£650m) by 2021.
Chargemaster makes money by supplying home charging units to the likes of Nissan, Renault and Toyota, and produces ranges for workplace and public use.
The BMW shareholding was trumpeted by Chargemaster as a blue-chip endorsement of its business. The two companies already have a strategic partnership under which the British firm is installing electric charging infrastructure on BMW premises.
To date, however, the growth of electric cars has been constrained by the dearth of public charging points. A network is being set up by Chargemaster in the UK under the brand Polar.
The cost of the vehicles may also be prohibitive from consumers' perspective. BMW announced last month that the i3 would cost 34,950 euros (£30,170), a big premium to the price of comparable conventional cars made by the group.
Chargemaster was founded by Mr Martell, the entrepreneur who made his first fortune from the creation of the Trafficmaster satellite navigation system.
Mr Martell owns 50% of the company, with the flotation of Chargemaster expected to have crystallised a paper fortune worth more than £15m. Other investors are understood to include Lord Beaverbrook, the former Conservative treasurer.