If the consortium holding the assets to fallen electric vehicle company Better
Place fails to fulfill certain financial obligations by Wednesday morning, the
Central District Court in Lod will hold a discussion to examine the group’s
status as well as additional offers.
Judge Ilan S. Shiloh issued the
decision after rival would-be purchasers of the fallen electric vehicle venture
asked the court on Sunday to reevaluate the granting of the company’s assets to
the Green EV consortium (known originally as SunRaise), claiming that the
winning group cannot stand by its financial commitments.
The Green EV
group secured both the operational and intellectual property assets in court on
July 10, for a total of NIS 18 million and NIS
Led by American-Israeli solar entrepreneur
Yosef Abramowitz, members of the Green EV consortium include the nonprofit EV
Drivers Association, which represents electric car owners, as well as Canadian
investment banker Henry Shiner, who is active in cleantech and alternative
Up against Green EV in the battle for Better Place was
the Merkur-CCGI group, a collaboration between the Florida-based Car Charging
Group, Inc. and the Israeli firm Success Parking Ltd., run by Tsahi
After requesting an extension for two payments – NIS 1m. for
intellectual property and NIS 3.5m. for company operations – Green EV received
approval for such an extension until July 31 from the liquidators, Sigal Rosen-
Rechav and Shaul Kotler. In the event that the company would require additional
time to pay these figures, the issue would need to be brought to a discussion in
court, a statement from Green EV explained.
Viewing the consortium’s
financial tardiness as unreasonable, however, the Merkur-CCGI group sent an
official response to the Lod District Court on Sunday, claiming that the time
lapse “indicates that the group does not have the financial capacity required to
fulfill the obligations assumed by the company in front of the liquidators and
the court, on the basis of which the liquidators, the receiving officers and the
court selected the proposal of the Green EV group over the Merkur-CCGI
On July 1, Green EV and Merkur-CCGI jointly submitted a
collaborative proposal to purchase the Better Place assets, the response
explained. Soon after, however, the group split up and each submitted its own
proposal, due to “the fear of the Merkur-CCGI group that the Green EV group did
not have the economic resources,” the response said.
If the Merkur-CCGI
knew that the liquidators would not hold so firmly to their original
instructions, this group could have offered a larger proposal that would have
manifested quicker, the document continued.
“The Merkur-CCGI group is of
the opinion that the current situation of affairs is not sound, and we cannot
enable it,” the response said. “There is a serious breach of equality, and this
constitutes changes in the rules of the game.”
The Merkur-CCGI group
asked that the court deny any postponement of Green EV financial commitments, as
well as cancel the company’s winning bid on the Better Place assets.
addition, the group proposed that the liquidators conduct negotiations with
Merkur-CCGI immediately, stressing that Green EV should immediately stop
implementing further changes to the assets – such as closing certain battery
switch stations and firing employees.
In response to the Merkur- CCGI
group’s court requests, Abramowitz explained that it is the government itself
that is holding up Green EV’s payments for the assets.
Although Green EV
won the ownership of 350 new Better Place cars as part of their purchase, sales
of these vehicles is currently being held up by bureaucratic red tape in the
Transportation Ministry, Abramowitz said.
Already with a waiting list of
over 500 people registered to purchase cars, Green EV had planned to sell the
first 200 for NIS 70,000 each, as opposed to the NIS 120,000 original
The NIS 14m. generated from these sales would have allowed for all
milestone and company operations payments, including the NIS 3.5m. due on
Wednesday, Abramowitz explained, noting that Green EV paid the outstanding NIS
1m. intellectual property fee on Tuesday.
“We don’t think it is right for
the court to ask for payment for winning the bid but then have the state deny us
the win of the assets, which were going to be used to complete the acquisition
and run the company,” Abramowitz told The Jerusalem Post.
The NIS 14m.
would have been enough to tide the company over until three large investment
groups finish their deals with Green EV, as due diligence contracts take about
30 to 60 days to complete, he explained.
Green EV has already received
financial offerings worth more than $30m., according to the company.
holdup at the Transportation Ministry is purely a bureaucratic battle, as the
ministry had repealed the import license on the cars after the Better Place
bankruptcy occurred, even though the cars are already in the country, a Green EV
The consortium therefore asked for a one-week
extension last week when their payments were due, and the liquidator agreed to
stretch the deadline to the end of the month, he said.
Confident that the
court on Wednesday will agree to give Green EV more time, the representative
stressed that the company will have no problem paying salaries and serving
clients in the immediate two months, until the additional investments are
Green EV is simply asking for “day-for-day deferment” of the July
31 and August 30 NIS 3.5m. payments, to compensate the company “for each day of
delay in releasing the cars,” Abramowitz added.
“We are working hard to
both save a dream and Israel’s good name in the green-tech business,” Abramowitz
“So it is very frustrating to win the Better Place bid but not be
able to sell our cars to support both the operating budget and make milestone
payments to the court.”