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Weekly News of 11th of July

Brazilian internet provider Vero cancels IPO, looks for strategic alternatives


Brazilian internet provider Vero, controlled by investment firm Vinci Partners Investments, had hired investment bank Itau BBA to consider strategic alternatives to IPO, reports Reuters.

Vero had to cancel its initial public offering (IPO) in January. Vero said the company was in talks with “several investors about potential strategic transactions”, but shareholders have not yet decided on a specific deal.


Wildcat Discovery raises $90 mln for high energy density EV batteries


U.S. energy tech firm Wildcat Discovery Technologies has raised $90 million from investors to develop a high energy density battery cell for electric vehicles, reports Reuters,

The Series D funding round was led by Koch Strategic Platforms, the investment arm of industrial conglomerate Koch Industries, and included investments from Eastman Kodak and venture capital firm Fifth Wall Climate.

Wildcat said it is working on a transformational “super cell” EV battery cell combining three proprietary technologies in development – a cobalt and nickel free high-energy cathode, a composite solid-state electrolyte and a lithium metal anode.

The battery cell could deliver a 90% improvement in energy density over the best batteries available currently, while reducing the dependence of EV supply chains on both nickel and cobalt.

Although EV sales have jumped in Europe and United States over the last two years, consumer anxiety over the distance they can drive between charges has been as a barrier to even faster adoption.

Automakers and battery makers have invested heavily in new technologies to increase energy density to boost range.


Vietnam’s VinFast taps banks for $4 bln EV factory funding deal


Vietnam carmaker VinFast said it has tapped Credit Suisse and Citigroup to raise at least $4 billion to build its planned electric vehicle factory in North Carolina and fund its U.S. expansion, reports Reuters.

Vingroup had appointed Credit Suisse to arrange the issue of offshore securities to raise $2 billion for VinFast or its subsidiaries globally, while Citigroup Global Markets was tapped as an advisor on transactions with the same value.

The news of the funding arrangement comes after Vinfast’s parent Vingroup warned earlier this year that an initial public offering for VinFast might be delayed until next year due to market uncertainty.

Vingroup is Vietnam’s largest listed company with a market value of $11.4 billion, with businesses in retail, real estate and resorts. It established VinFast in 2017, with its first conventional combustion-engine cars hitting the streets two years later before switching exclusively to EVs in 2021.

VinFast is preparing to launch its first overseas model and roll out a network of showrooms in the United States and Europe.

In addition, VinFast has filed for an IPO in the United States through a shell company in Singapore that now legally holds almost all of the startup automaker’s assets.

Despite its cold start in an increasingly crowded market for EVs, VinFast has won support from suppliers, some analysts and the Biden administration in part because of the perception that it is a rising national champion in Vietnam.


UK fast-charging battery startup Nyobolt raises $59 million


British fast-charging battery startup Nyobolt has raised 50 million pounds ($59 million) in Series B funding to build a UK manufacturing plant in 2023 to produce millions of battery cells, reports Reuters.

Nyobolt has been developing battery anodes using niobium and tungsten that could enable electric vehicles (EVs) to charge in minutes.

Niobium and tungsten are both stable metals often used to strengthen steel or create steel alloys.

Cambridge-based Nyobolt is currently focusing on high-performance racing EVs, but executives say its batteries could be ready for use in mass-market EV models later this decade.

In the race to go electric, carmakers have focused on range to ease consumer anxiety over charging infrastructure, but battery startups are already working on the smaller, longer-lasting and cheaper batteries of the future, which also charge more quickly.