Banpu buys 21.5% of FOMM

Banpu buys 21.5% of FOMM

Share sale has valuation of US$20m

The FOMM One displayed at an auto expo last year. Banpu is investing US$20 million in Japan's FOMM to expand into the EV business. Phrakrit Juntawong
The FOMM One displayed at an auto expo last year. Banpu is investing US$20 million in Japan's FOMM to expand into the EV business. Phrakrit Juntawong

SET-listed Banpu Plc has signed an agreement to acquire a 21.5% stake in FOMM Corporation, Japan's compact electric vehicle (EV) developer, for US$20 million (627 million baht) in a move to expand its presence in the clean energy business throughout Asia-Pacific.

Banpu will subscribe to FOMM's newly issued shares through subsidiary Banpu Infinergy Co (BPIN), a solar energy provider, according to the company's letter submitted to the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Monday.

Somruedee Chaimongkol, Banpu's chief executive, said the company sees potential in the Kanagawa-based FOMM, established in 2013 with registered capital of $22.6 million.

FOMM develops and manufactures four-seat and micro-EVs, provides technical consultancy for micro-EVs and designs and develops EV components. The company also offers engineering consultancy.

FOMM is focused on close-range mobility, safety and expanding business to Southeast Asia and Europe.

"Along with being environmentally friendly, FOMM vehicles are designed to be driven in floods, a concept that was inspired by the 2011 tsunami," said Mrs Somruedee.

In Thailand, FOMM Asia is a Thai-Japanese joint venture established in February 2016 to tailor existing automotive technology to the Thai market. FOMM Asia is the first carmaker under the government's EV scheme to win Board of Investment (BoI) incentives to manufacture battery EVs, worth 716 million baht.

Hideo Tsurumaki, FOMM Asia's chief executive, said using BoI incentives, the manufacturing plant has a capacity for 10,000 battery EVs a year at Amata City Industrial Estate in Chon Buri province. Operations started early this year and FOMM One is the first model scheduled for assembly at the facility.

"The FOMM One will be delivered to Thai motorists from February 2019. We expect to sell 2,500 cars in the first year, reaching 10,000 cars by 2021," said Mr Tsurumaki.

In addition to the BPIN investment, Banpu Innovation & Ventures (BIV), its new division, has secured a collaboration with FOMM. BIV is focused on disruptive technology development via R&D, accelerators, incubators and corporate venture capital initiatives.

The partnership will focus on R&D activities and commercialisation projects, relating to virtual power plants, micro-grids, electric vehicles, EV charging stations and batteries.

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