The manufacturer of chargers for electric vehicles Zunder, formerly EasyCharger, has closed a debt operation of 40 million euros with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the financial institution of the EU. This money will finance a project valued at more than 120 million to build an interurban network for recharging electric vehicles on Spanish highways and road networks. The operation is added to the one that the Spanish transport platform Cabify recently paid an identical figure to build its own fleet of about 1,400 emission-free cars.
The operation, according to the EIB itself, was approved and signed in the last fortnight of December. It contemplates the disbursement by milestones of up to 40 million euros in the form of debt to carry out this deployment of chargers over the next few years. According to the plans of the company, based in Palencia, the objective is to start up more than 4,000 ultra-fast charging points in southern Europe. The roads chosen are mostly part of what is known as the trans-European transport network.
This debt that it now obtains from the EIB is located outside the round that the company closed with the investment manager in sustainable infrastructures Mirova (Natixis) of 100 million euros last October. One of the partners who were already in the company is the Swiss fund White Summit Capital and revealed that the valuation was around 400 million, since the manager associated with the French bank had taken a 25% stake, according to the Reuters agency. WSC entered a 2021 round. In that year, according to their own accounts, they added 5.5 million euros of capital.
The investment plan to deploy these more than 4,000 fast charging points both in Spain, as well as in other southern European markets such as France or Italy, will increase to more than 300 million euros until 2025. The money now raised from the EIB will contribute to meet that ‘capex’ effort. To this would be added the capital contributed by Mirova and also different aid from European ‘Next Generation’ funds.
Zunder was born as EasyCharger and was founded by Daniel Pérez and Lorenzo Antolín. The company’s business model is based from above on the sale of energy, from green sources and which is purchased from marketers, to the customers of the charging stations it builds (the latest agreement to build 26 charging stations was announced this week and signed with Obramat, the distributor of construction materials). In the year 2021, with an incipient phase, it added just 627,000 euros of income and losses of 1.2 million.
A boiling sector
The charger sector is boiling with the expectation of growth in the electric vehicle market. Only in Spain, Zunder has two relevant rivals in this sector. The main one is Wallbox, the company listed in the United States and backed by Iberdrola and other big names. The company, which has just carried out a significant downsizing, is valued at just over 700 million euros on the stock market. There is another one and it is Wenea, which at the end of last year negotiated its sale to the company Vortex Energy, owned by the EFG Hermes fund.
The EIB operation in Zunder comes just a few weeks after the EU financial institution also signed a million-dollar loan with Cabify to electrify its fleet of vehicles -some 1,400 vehicles- before 2025. Specifically, it raised 40 million euros will add to another 42 million who will contribute their own funds. It is what is known as ‘venture debt’, a more flexible debt with terms focused on the long term that is mainly used for startups.