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Pod Point sparks London float with hiring of ex-Aston Martin chief

Written by on 06/10/2021

One of Britain’s fastest-growing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure networks will next week confirm plans to go public on the London stock market.

Sky News has learnt that Pod Point is expected to announce its expected intention to float as early as next Monday, with the company’s shares making their trading debut in early November.

City sources said on Wednesday that Pod Point had recruited Andy Palmer, the former Aston Martin chief executive, as its senior independent director.

Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer at the Geneva motor show 5/3/2019
Image: Andy Palmer

The initial public offering (IPO) will be a boost to the London market’s efforts to position itself as a hub for advanced automotive-related technology following the deluge of EV businesses which have listed in New York through special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

Since leaving Aston Martin last year in the wake of its dismal post-IPO performance, Mr Palmer has utilised his extensive experience of the EV revolution by becoming chief executive of Switch Mobility, an electric bus-maker.

He is also involved with several other businesses in the EV space.

Earlier this year, Sky News revealed that Pod Point had lined up Gareth Davis, the former Imperial Tobacco chief, as chairman to steer it through an IPO.

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The company’s likely valuation when it makes its public debut is unclear, although one insider said it was unlikely to be a unicorn – referring to a valuation of at least $1bn.

Bank of America, Barclays and Numis are working on the IPO.

Pod Point
Image: EDF currently has a controlling stake in Pod Point

Pod Point, which is majority-owned by EDF, the French state-backed energy giant, wants to capitalise on rising demand for electric vehicle charging points.

EDF bought a controlling stake in Pod Point little more than a year ago, with its other shareholders including Legal & General.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, recently gave the EV industry a fresh boost by pledging £300m investment towards ultrafast charging points.

The funds will substantially increase the availability of such infrastructure across Britain but will make little dent in the number of charging points eventually required as petrol and diesel cars are phased out.

An IPO will crystallise a big paper fortune for Erik Fairbairn, the company’s founder.

EV charging infrastructure providers’ growth plans have been fuelled by the UK’s 2030 target for banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, and 2035 for phasing out hybrids.

EDF is expected to retain a large stake in Pod Point after an IPO as it seeks to meet its target of becoming the leading energy company for electric mobility in the UK, France, Belgium and Italy.

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Pod Point says it has powered more than 459 million miles of electric driving, and has a public network of nearly 4000 charging bays.

According to parliamentary research, nearly 29,000 charging points will be required across Britain by 2030 to meet demand, with the number of public chargers for top-up charging needing a tenfold increase by the end of the decade from 2016 levels.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has reported that 2020 had been the best-ever year for electric cars in the UK, with the market share of battery and plug-in hybrid vehicles reaching 10.7%.

Pod Point, which declined to comment, was founded in 2009 by Mr Fairbairn and competes with rivals such as Chargemaster, which is now a subsidiary of BP.

Mr Fairbairn’s company now has partnerships with Tesco and Lidl, with charging points installed at their supermarket car parks, and counts British Land, Gatwick Airport and Pepsico among its other corporate partners.

 Sky News

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