July 25, 2011

Electric Vehicle Maker THINK™ Resets for a New Start

Press Release

Oslo, Norway /PRNewswire/ — THINK Global AS, a leading manufacturer of pure electric cars, has been purchased by a prominent international technology entrepreneur who is committed to maintaining the company's key role in global transportation electrification.

A court-appointed trustee selected Mr. Boris G. Zingarevich, whose investment operations are based in St. Petersburg, Russia, as the winning bidder following a bankruptcy proceeding initiated by the Norwegian carmaker last month.

In addition, Mr. Zingarevich has signed a memorandum of understanding with American advanced lithium-ion battery maker Ener1, Inc. and Finnish automobile engineering and manufacturing concern Valmet Automotive, Inc. to cooperate in relaunching THINK.

“Having achieved the position of one of the world's most highly regarded electric vehicle products, the THINK brand is a valuable asset that deserves to continue its key role in the global shift to electrification,” said Mr. Zingarevich. “With the potential of working with the leading American automotive lithium-ion battery maker and Europe's top automobile engineering and manufacturing company, I believe we could have exactly the right combination and value chain to ensure that the brand will be increasingly competitive in the worldwide electric vehicle market.”

The assets of wholly owned subsidiaries THINK North America and THINK UK, which have remained going concerns during the bankruptcy proceeding for THINK Global, were also acquired in the transaction. Financial advisory services were provided by LATUM, a specialized investment banking and services company.

Ener1 and Valmet were the senior secured creditors of THINK when the company filed for bankruptcy after failing to raise adequate capital to continue financing operations. Ener1 and Valmet are negotiating stakes in the new company on the basis of a debt restructuring. Mr. Zingarevich has been a major investor in Ener1 since 2002 and provided bridge funding for THINK while the company attempted a reorganization before filing for bankruptcy.

The name of the new company that will market THINK brand products is Electric Mobility Solutions AS, registered in Norway. A new sales and service structure for THINK will be announced soon. The production restart, with a refined version of the THINK City, is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2012.

Over its 20-year history, THINK achieved the status of the leading dedicated electric vehicle maker in the world. The THINK City has accumulated more than 48 million km of road experience in the several countries where it has been marketed. The current model has a range of 160 km on a single charge and provides one of the most engaging and spirited drives of any car in its class.

About Mr. Boris G. Zingarevich

Mr. Zingarevich is an international serial entrepreneur with investments spanning a wide range of new and traditional industries in a number of countries. He has been the principal investor since 2002 in the leading American automotive lithium-ion battery manufacturer Ener1, Inc., on whose board of directors he sits. Mr. Zingarevich is a founder and strategic shareholder in Ilim Group, a joint venture with the American company International Paper and the largest timber products company in Russia.

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One Response to “Electric Vehicle Maker THINK™ Resets for a New Start”

  1. It appears Think has as many lives as a cartoon cat. You have to ask, can Think survive without additional sources of revenue, or a parent company willing to subsidize the business? Venturi and Tesla not only charge much more for their EVs, they started converting an existing IC platform (Venturi’s Fetish began as a gasoline-engine Elise rival, while Tesla’s roadster was based on the Elise itself); and have crucial contracts to convert vehicles for larger manufacturers (PSA and Toyota respectively). More direct rivals Aixam-Mega and Polaris (the new owner of GEM) have profitable synergistic businesses selling IC-powered low-speed and off-road vehicles. Investing in Think may give Valmet an independent product line to compliment its contract manufacturing business. Ener1 gets a guaranteed outlet for its battery technology, but with demand for batteries growing, does it really need one? Bailing out Think could prove to be simply a big cash drain for both companies.

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