Inverter maker SolarEdge to acquire Italian EV company

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Israeli inverter maker and PV monitoring solutions company SolarEdge is entering the electric vehicle market with a planned acquisition of SMRE that would value the Italian company at around $151 million.

Herzliya-based SolarEdge today announced it will acquire the 51% of the shares in SMRE owned by its founder, Chairman and CEO Guy Sella and two other main shareholders “in the coming weeks”.

Under takeover rules, the Israeli company will then be obliged to make an offer for the outstanding 49% of the company, which is in public ownership, with SMRE listed on the AIM Italia exchange.

The initial shares acquisition will involve a $77 million deal that will see SolarEdge pay half the figure in cash – around $39 million, according to today’s statement – with the remainder in SolarEdge shares.

Five Star targets EV revolution

SMRE – based in Umbertide, northern Italy – is well placed if the Italian government’s ambitious electric vehicle (EV) plans come to fruition. Luigi Di Maio, head of the Five Star Movement political party that is in power alongside the anti-immigrant Lega, has stated a desire to see a million electric vehicles on Italy’s roads by 2022.

It is a headline grabbing figure that would transform Italy’s EV market – described as “Europe’s most sluggish market for electric cars” in a Bloomberg report in the summer.

However the Bloomberg report estimated the incentives required to ramp up EV numbers so rapidly would land the governing coalition with a bill as high as $10 billion. With the Italian government already at loggerheads with the EU over what the bloc considers to be an overly debt-driven national budget that breaches its financial rules, SolarEdge’s move could be more about expanding its EV expertise than specifically exploiting the Italian market.

A spokesperson for SolarEdge told pv magazine: “There are no job cuts planned and there are no plans to take activities outside of Italy.”