Suffolk company started in old pig shed snapped up by US investors
- Credit: Andy Hughes/EO Charging
An electric vehicle (EV) charging company which started life in an old Suffolk pig shed has been snapped up by an American firm.
EO Charging, based in Tomo Road, Stowmarket, will become part of a mega combined US entity of the same name valued at $675m (£487m).
Founder and chief executive Charlie Jardine is set to continue with the business — which will keep its headquarters in Suffolk. He described the acquisition by a US-listed SPAC — a shell corporation which is used to buy a company — called First Reserve Sustainable Growth Corporation (FRSG), as “great news”.
The company — founded in 2014 — was named as the fasting growing electric vehicle firm in the Financial Times’ list of Europe’s 1,000 fastest growing companies in March this year.
But it has humble beginnings. It started out as a diversification on the family farm — the Jardines are an entrepreneurial farming family based in Creeting St Peter.
The company is the first UK Based EV charging company to be listed publicly. Already it has deployed about 50,000 chargers in more than 35 countries and serves some of the world’s largest fleet operators including Amazon, DHL, Go-Ahead, Tesco and Uber.
The acquisition means the company will be able to super-charge its growth and expand its geographic reach.
The company currently employs 90 staff. It plans to take on 70 more workers this year and to have created 270 jobs in the UK by 2022.
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Mr Jardine said: “This is great news for EO and a huge milestone that sets us up to be the first British EV charging business to list on a public market once the deal is done. The capital raised from this transaction will allow us to invest in our products, people and plans for expansion.
“We’re creating almost 70 jobs in 2021 with hundreds of new roles being created over the coming years. This investment allows us to bolster our UK presence and will help to accelerate our growth as a British-born green business with big global ambitions.”
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The business is described an “early leader” in providing comprehensive EV fleet charging solutions across Europe — one of the most advanced electrification markets in the world.
Its investors believe it has “significant scope” to scale and replicate its home market success on a global level.
The current EO management and shareholders will maintain a “significant” stake in the combined company, the new business said.
The deal should mean that EO — which is helping to drive the electrification of commercial and government vehicle fleets — will become the first UK-based EV charging company to list on public markets, it added.
“Our partnership with FRSG is a great step forward in EO’s already successful journey,” said Mr Jardine.
“Through this exciting combination, EO is positioned to accelerate our growth timeline, expand our geographic reach, and drive innovation to deliver an ever advancing suite of solutions to our fleet customers. “We have developed an EV charging ecosystem that makes EO the ultimate plug-in charging partner for any business. We are proud of our established position across Europe, and are excited at the opportunity to expand our services to the global market.
“Our outlook has never been stronger, supported by the accelerating pace of EV adoption by fleet operators in our key markets and across the world. EO’s differentiated charging solutions think beyond the plug by providing mission-critical charging hardware, software and services under one roof – taking the friction out of the electrification process for our fleet customers.”
Neil Wizel, chief executive and director of FRSG, said the deal would mean the business would be able to extend its reach.
“We are proud to partner with Charlie and the entire EO team to help accelerate the decarbonization and long-term sustainability of the fleet vehicle model,” he said.
“EO’s differentiated approach to serving the EV charging market through customized charging solutions spanning hardware, software and services results in a truly unique customer experience which meets the intense reliability and functionality demands of its fleet customers.
“With the enhanced resources and platform this transaction brings, EO is positioned to expand its reach and advance its mission of delivering smart energy technologies and solutions for the future.”
The deal has been unanimously agreed by both boards and is expected to be completed in the last quarter of 2021.
Mr Jardine added: "EO has had great success so far and - unlike many others in this space - it’s EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) positive, which puts us in a great position to capitalize on the opportunity ahead of us right now.
"Looking ahead, EO has a one-year forward revenue pipeline of over $250m (£180m), which gives us the confidence needed to fuel our expansion and grow the business," she said.