Investment in Ener1, Inc., a US Clean Energy Holding Company, through Private Placement

December 7, 2009

ITOCHU Corporation (hereinafter "ITOCHU") will subscribe to a private placement of new shares ("investment") in Ener1, Inc. (Head Office: New York, NY, USA, Nasdaq: HEV, "Ener1"), with an investment of US$20 million. ITOCHU invested in Ener1 in 2003, and with this investment, its shareholding in Ener1 will be just short of 5%. An agreement was signed on December 1, 2009 and is expected to be executed by December 10, 2009.

With Lithium-ion batteries drawing attention as the core element in electric vehicles, EnerDel, Inc. (Head Office: Indianapolis, IN, USA, "EnerDel"), a 100% subsidiary of Ener1, is a battery manufacturer capable of manufacturing lithium-ion battery systems for vehicles on an OEM basis. It owns the sole facility in the United States able to develop and mass produce products from cells to complete battery systems. In August 2009, EnerDel received a $118.5 million grant from the US government, as part of the Green New Deal. It is now receiving orders for the supply of battery systems to Volvo of Sweden and TH!NK*1, a Norwegian electric vehicle manufacturer, among other customers. In the field of stationary storage batteries, in November 2009, the company has won orders to supply five sets of one megawatt stationary storage battery systems for a smart grid storage proving project being run by Portland General Electric (PGE), which also won a grant from the US Government.

With this new investment, ITOCHU aims to strengthen its ties with EnerDel and other Ener1 Group Companies, enhancing its overall lithium-ion battery business, including product marketing. ITOCHU is targeting revenue of 35 billion yen from businesses related to lithium-ion battery by fiscal 2012.

Along with the solar and water businesses, storage batteries are another priority, in the focus area of LINEs*2 in ITOCHU’s medium-term management plan Frontiere 2010. ITOCHU first began operating in the storage battery field thirteen years ago with the trading of manufacturing equipment. Following its investment in Ener1 in 2003, ITOCHU dispatched staff and focused its efforts on providing support for the business plan of EnerDel, its core company, and launching the company. In addition, ITOCHU has provided EnerDel’s battery systems, not only for electric vehicles, but also for stationary storage batteries in a proving test for low carbon social traffic systems using clean energy at Tsukuba, to demonstrate a model for re-use of in-vehicle batteries. ITOCHU now has extensive operations associated with lithium-ion battery operations, from the sales of raw materials and manufacturing equipment to the secondary use of the batteries, and considers this investment to be an important and strategic step.

About Ener1 Group

Ener1 Group is a holding group formed with companies that excel in critical technology in the clean energy field, with the holding company, Ener1, at its core. The group includes EnerDel, Inc., the lithium-ion battery manufacturer, EnerTech International, Inc. (Head Office: Seoul, South Korea), which manufactures and sells lithium-ion batteries in Korea, EnerFuel, Inc. (Head Office: West Palm Beach, FL, USA), which develops, manufactures and sells fuel cells, and NanoEner, Inc. (Head Office: Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA), which develops nanotechnology-based materials and processing equipment. In addition, it has a 31% stake in TH!NK, and is their largest shareholder.

  1. About TH!NK
    An electric vehicle manufacturer in Norway. Established in 1992 and owned by Ford from 1999 to 2003. Its cars have passed collision safety tests in Europe and the United States and it currently sells the “THINK City” model, mainly in Europe.
  2. About LINEs
    An acronym of Life care, Infrastructure, New technologies & Materials, Environment & New Energy, and synergy, each indicating a particular area of focus.