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BERLIN (Reuters) – German used-car dealing platform Auto1 said it could seek a public offering in future but a 2018 cash infusion from Japan’s Softbank means it has no immediate need for extra funding of its European growth plans.
FILE PHOTO: A worker loads a second hand car on a car transporter truck at the Auto1.com company grounds in Zoerbig, Germany January 28, 2017.REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch /File Photo
Last year’s Softbank’s deal valued Berlin-based Auto1 at 2.9 billion euros ($ 3.27 billion), making it one of Germany’s top so-called tech unicorns.
It is virtually unknown to consumers except through its used car buying arm Wir Kaufen dein Auto (We Buy Your Car) in Germany and similar names elsewhere. It operates from Finland to Romania to Portugal, 30 countries in all.
Revenues rose by 32 percent to 2.9 billion euros last year, and although it is profitable in Germany, investments in other markets have led to a loss on group level.
“Currently, an initial public offering is not a topic for us,” Auto1 co-founder Christian Bertermann told Reuters, adding this could change in future.
Auto1 buys cars using its vehicle pricing database to calculate an offer within minutes and then sells the vehicles on to one of its roughly 35,000 dealerships for a commission.
Its platforms helped 540,000 vehicles change hands in 2018.
The company will now also start a retail platform to compete with Scout24’s Autoscout unit or Ebay’s Mobile.de offering, Bertermann said.
He confirmed a Reuters report about Auto1’s talks with Scout24 about an acquisition of Autoscout, adding that these would not lead to a takeover.
Scout24 in February agreed to be acquired by buyout groups Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone.
Auto1 was set up in Berlin by entrepreneur Christian Bertermann after having trouble selling two old cars owned by his grandmother, along with Koc, who previously worked at Rocket Internet-backed firms Zalando and Home24.
Reporting by Nadine Schimroszik,; Writing by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Alexandra Hudson
OSAKA (Reuters) – Panasonic Corp would consider further investment in Tesla Inc’s so-called Gigafactory if requested by the U.S. electric vehicle maker, an executive at the Japanese conglomerate said on Monday.
The investment would come on top of the $ 1.6 billion Panasonic is contributing to the automotive battery plant, which it jointly operates with Tesla in the U.S. state of Nevada.
“We would of course consider additional investment if we are requested to do so,” Yoshio Ito, chief of Panasonic’s automotive business, said at a media roundtable, responding to a question about the possibility of further investment, given the chance.
Panasonic’s initial investment in the Gigafactory is almost complete, and the Japanese electronics maker has not made any decisions on whether to pledge further funds, Ito said.
The comments come after Tesla hit its target of producing 5,000 Model 3 electric sedans on Sunday morning, several hours after the midnight goal set by Chief Executive Elon Musk, two workers at the factory told Reuters.
Production of the Model 3, which began last July, has been plagued by a number of issues, including over-reliance on automation creating bottlenecks in battery production.
Meanwhile, the U.S. firm has been burning through cash as it tools up its assembly line and works on projects such as its Model Y crossover sport utility vehicle.
Its free cash flow – a metric of financial health – widened to negative $ 1 billion in its latest reporting quarter from negative $ 277 million three months prior, excluding costs of systems for its solar business.
Musk has said Tesla it will not need to seek cash in 2018 but Wall Street analysts anticipate a capital raise this year.
Panasonic is the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla’s current production models, making them in Japan as well as at the $ 5 billion Gigafactory.
Ito said last week at Panasonic’s general shareholders meeting that a pickup in production of the Model 3 has resulted in occasional battery cell shortages.
Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Additional reporting by Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Christopher Cushing
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