Sources inform ''Globes'' that Shaked Global Group, the private equity firm of the Shaked family - the controlling shareholders of online gambling company 888 Holding plc (LSE:888) - has acquired the 20% stake of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel in Blue I Technologies Ltd. This is the first investment in cleantech by Shaked Global Group, founded by Ohad Shaked. Blue I CEO Tsur Ben-David and Shaked Global Group CEO Shai Onn were not available for comment.
Kfar Saba-based Blue I develops real-time water quality control systems.
The sources added that Shaked Global Group will also participate in a $6 million funding round that Blue I is now holding from current shareholders. The company expects to close this round by the end of March at a company value of $16-20 million before money. The proceeds will be used to finance the company's newly launched platforms, including a comprehensive municipal network water quality control system. Blue I is reportedly about to install the first system in Barcelona.
After the financing round, Blue I plans to enter into a strategic partnership with large international water quality control systems makers. The company already supplies its systems to General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) and Veolia Environnement SA (NYSE: VE; Paris: VIEG).
Blue I has raised $7 million to date, including $2.7 million in its previous round in 2006, which was one of Israel's most significant cleantech investments that year. In addition to Shaked Global Group, Ben-David and Tene Investments each own 20% of Blue I, Blue Drink (European and Israeli angels led by Blue I chairman Ronen Melnick) owns 18%, and Docor International Management Ltd. and TN Ventures (a private fund owned by Tamar Naor) jointly own 15%. Company employees, including four in China and two in the US, own the rest.
Blue I's Israeli customers include Central Bottling Co. Ltd. (Coca-Cola Israel), Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), Mekorot National Water Company, and Oil Refineries Ltd. (TASE:ORL). Foreign customers include Nestle (SWX:NESN), an Italian power station, Bayer, and hospitals in France.
Market sources estimate Blue I's 2007 revenue at several million dollars. Under a strategic plan prepared by Ernst & Young, the company plans to grow by 80% this year and by more than 100% in 2009. Ernst & Young declined to respond to "Globes"' questions.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 10, 2008
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