3i helps Smart Fuel Cell to IPO

25 May 2007

Investor retains a stake following a partial exit

3i, Europe’s leading private equity and venture capital firm, has successfully taken SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG public to the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. SFC is a leading global provider of methanol-driven fuel cell systems. In the course of the IPO, 3i placed 205,111 of its SFC shares, thereby reducing its stake in the company from 15.5% to 9.3%. 3i plans to retain the remaining shares in order to participate in the future development of the company. A total of 2,693,212 shares were placed, 1,615,927 of which were from a capital increase and 1,077,285 from those relinquished by original shareholders.

The fresh capital will allow the fuel cell manufacturer to boost production capacity, step up efforts to develop technological innovations and enter new markets. 3i has held a stake in the fuel cell manufacturer since 2000. DuPont became involved as a strategic investor in 2003 in a second round of financing. In 2006 SFC took up a listing in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange Open Market in the context of a third financing round with institutional investors.

In contrast to other fuel cell manufacturers, SFC has also been able to enter markets outside the automobile industry. These include the leisure market (motor homes, yachts, cabins), remote industrial applications and mobile power supplies for the defence sector. In 2006 SFC reported revenues of approximately 7 million euros, thereby demonstrating triple-digit growth as in previous years. In the first quarter of 2007 alone SFC took in revenues of some 3.4 million euros.

“We have been actively accompanying the development of SFC since 2000. The successful debut of the company on the Prime Standard is confirmation of the quality of our efforts to date,” says Achim Lederle, a partner at 3i Deutschland responsible for the investment. “Special thanks go to the outstanding management team for its prudent use of resources and capital in readying the product for the market. In going public SFC has taken another important step on the road to success, and we are looking forward to the continued growth of the company.”

“During the decisive years of our development 3i provided us with more than just financial assistance. 3i was always there with good advice and important contacts through its international network,” says Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG. “We are very glad that 3i is retaining a stake in SFC and thereby helping us to achieve continued growth.”

Berthold Hummel, Dechert LLP, Munich, provided 3i with legal advice on the transaction.

Notes to editors

About SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG

SFC is the market leader in fuel cell technologies for mobile and off-grid power applications serving the leisure, industrial and defense markets.  As one of Germany’s most successful technology pioneers, SFC has won numerous innovation awards.  In a US Navy Assessment in 2005, SFC was awarded the highest score for technical maturity of all fuel cell products.  SFC has alliances with the German Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force and other leading military organizations.  Unlike most other fuel cell players, who are still in the R&D phase or run highly subsidized demonstration projects, SFC has been shipping fully commercial products to industrial and private end users for more than three years, and has created a convenient fuel cartridge supply infrastructure. SFC is DIN ISO 9001:2000 certified.

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.
3i’s global venture capital team invest in scaleable early to late-stage fast growth technology and healthcare businesses across Europe, US, Asia and Israel. 3i VC plans to invest $1.5bn funds over the next five years in exciting and ambitious companies in three main areas: healthcare (medtech and biotech), consumer IT (Internet, telecoms, digital media and electronics) and the clean technology sector.   http://www.3i.com/

For further information please contact:

Rachel Richards
email. rachel.richards@3i.com
tel.  +44 207 975 3573