Tiger Infrastructure Partners has announced the sale of its interest in London-based portfolio company Zenobē to KKR, a leading global investment firm, and Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Plc and a current investor in Zenobē. The transaction marks Tiger’s successful exit from an investment that exemplified its innovative, transformational growth capital strategies for middle-market infrastructure. Tiger supported Zenobē’s dynamic rise from early concept to global leadership in grid-scale battery storage and fleet electrification.
KKR and Infracapital have formed a strategic partnership to support the growth of the company and will invest approximately GBP 600 million and GBP 270 million, respectively, in this transaction.
Founded in 2017 by Nicholas Beatty, James Basden and Steven Meersman, Zenobē is a global player in electrification solutions for fleets and battery storage solutions for grid network infrastructure, with market leading positions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and a growing presence in continental Europe as well as North America. From Zenobē’s inception in 2017, Tiger became its first institutional investor, building on initial capital from private sources and providing hands-on expertise to position the company’s platform to become “core infrastructure of tomorrow”. Tiger worked closely with Zenobē’s founders to expand its UK-based grid-scale battery storage business and to use its battery management expertise to help bus and increasingly HGV operating companies in the UK and globally with a range of turnkey solutions to decarbonize their fleets and meet emission-reduction objectives.
Tiger later brought in additional sophisticated institutional investors including Infracapital and JERA Co. Inc., a leading Japanese utility. By supporting the development of a blue-chip investor base and the creation of an infrastructure business model supported by Zenobē’s assets and long-term contracts, Tiger helped position the company to also attract over £1bn of debt financing from banks and other institutional lenders since its foundation.
Tiger CEO Emil W. Henry, Jr. stated: “This major investment in the next stage of Zenobē’s growth, by one of the leading names in infrastructure private equity, culminates a journey of first-mover leadership by the company’s founders and Tiger. Zenobē’s visionary management catapulted the company to the forefront of the energy transition worldwide by creating the first global, grid-scale battery energy storage company, and first to provide a full EV fleet solution.”
Continued Henry, “Tiger’s thesis-driven strategy gave us early-look insights into tailwinds driving the need for then-nascent battery storage as a critical element of decarbonization. We were privileged to help this superior management catalyze Zenobē’s growth by applying timely expansion capital and hands-on strategic and operating expertise while leveraging our unique transatlantic footprint to facilitate Zenobē’s entry into the US market as energy storage and fleet electrification takes off.”
Nicholas Beatty, Co-Founder and Director, Zenobē said, “With the committed support of our initial investors, Zenobē has evolved from a start-up idea of its founders to a highly valued innovator in the new core energy infrastructure. Tiger’s early belief in the Zenobē founders’ vision provided the critical first institutional capital and expertise to help grow those ideas into the Company’s global leadership in grid-scale battery storage and fleet electrification. That has enabled the business to accelerate the electrification of bus and now commercial vehicle fleets in partnership with leading operators and support the connection of further battery storage assets to deploy more renewable energy in the UK and globally.
Added Beatty, “Now, we will partner with, and benefit from, an extensive new round of investments from KKR and Infracapital to capitalize on the ever-increasing demand for our services. In this next phase of development for Zenobē and the industry, we’ll seize on the competitive advantage of the technology we have developed internally and with our suppliers as well as the synergies between our battery storage and fleet electrification businesses and our presence in multiple fast-growth markets as we expand beyond the UK, Australia, New Zealand into Continental Europe and the US.”
Since Tiger’s initial investment, Zenobē’s battery storage capacity has grown from 14MW to 430MW in operation or under construction today with another 1.2GW of projects in advanced development in the UK, and its fleet of electric buses, coaches and trucks supported globally has grown from zero to more than 1,000 vehicles deployed in over 75 depots. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.