Electric scooter maker Okinawa Autotech, which has been bootstrapped so far since its founding in 2015, is in active discussions with a few large private equity funds to raise up to Rs 500 crore for a minority stake to fund its aggressive growth on the back rising demand, according to the company’s founder Jeetender Sharma.
The Gurugram-based Okinawa, named after the eponymous Japanese city known for its high life expectancy of over 100, has a portfolio of six electric scooters priced at Rs 50,000-1.14 lakh. Its slow-speed models are Okinawa R30, Lite, and Dual and the high-speed ones are the Ridge+, PraisePro, and iPraise+.
Bootstrapped by Jeetender Sharma, who is the managing director of Okinawa, has sold over 1 lakh e-scooters since the launch in 2015. It has a plant with an installed capacity of over one lakh units at Bhiwandi in Rajasthan and is setting up a 0.5 million unit plant at Alwar in the state.
“I am in serious discussions with three-four American and European private equity players. I am looking at raising between Rs 400 and Rs 500 crore from one or two of them for a minority stake,” Sharma told PTI from Gurugram on Thursday.
“I hope to close the deal by the end of this quarter or early January,” he said and added that there is no plan to cede management control or majority shareholding at all.
When asked about the valuation, Sharma, who was part of the launch team of Honda Scooters & Motorcycles till 2015, said that is still being worked out.
He added that the money is being raised to oil growth which is set to witness high double-digits from the exponential demand the company is getting now.
“To me what is more important is going the next level today instead of waiting for tomorrow as there is exponential demand now. We have more than a month of waiting period no. Our October booking is over 18,000 and keep climbing as the festive season nears,” Sharma said.
Okinawa is also setting up a plant to manufacture motors and controls for its scooters in the seme Alwar complex.
Sharma said the motor and control plant as well as the battery plant are delayed and may be ready by January now, a delay of over six months from the original commissioning plan of June 2021.
Okinawa is the first and only electric two-wheeler maker to have own assembly line for motors and controls at an investment of Rs 70 crore the two key components in an EV after the battery which it’s already manufacturing at its Bhiwadi plant.
He said that with own motors and controls, its localisation will be near 100 per cent barring battery cells, which will continue to be imported. Already, it is local sourcing is over 92 per cent.
Expecting electric vehicles to drive mobility, all leading electric two-wheeler makers are on a massive expansion spree, despite the absymal volumes and low capacity utilisation now. Even Okinawa is running at 30-35 per cent only.
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