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ZAGREB (Croatia), September 6 (SeeNews) - German sports car manufacturer Porsche has increased its stake in Croatian electric vehicle developer and producer Rimac Automobili to 15.5% from 10% acquired last year, Rimac said on Friday.
"It quickly became clear to us that Porsche and Rimac could learn a lot from each other," Rimac Automobili quoted Lutz Meschke, deputy executive board chairman and CFO of Porsche AG, as saying in a statement.
"We are convinced of Mate Rimac and his company, so now we have increased our stake and are expanding our cooperation in battery technology," Meschke said.
Porsche's additional investment aims to strengthen the year-long partnership between the two companies by calling on Rimac’s expertise in vehicle electrification, including powertrains, batteries and other components related to electrification and autonomous driving, as Porsche increases the scale of its electrified model range, Rimac Automobili said.
It did not say how much Porsche had invested in raising its stake in Rimac.
"The fact that Porsche is now increasing its stake is the best confirmation of our cooperation and the basis for an even closer relationship," Rimac founder and CEO, Mate Rimac, said in the statement.
Thanks to Porsche's latest investment, Rimac Automobili will continue its rapid pace of development, including a significant increase of its component production. The company will also be able to support a greater range and volume of partners with production ranging from advanced powertrains and drivetrains, to industry-leading infotainment and connectivity systems, the Croatian company said.
Rimac is currently finalising the development of its new hypercar - the Rimac C_Two, most of whose major components are designed, engineered and manufactured in-house. The C_Two car still needs to undergo an extensive crash-testing programme ahead of its customer deliveries in 2020.
Besides Porsche, Rimac's shareholders include China's Camel Group with 14%, Hyundai Motor with 11% and Kia with 2.7%.
Prior to the increase of Porsche's stake, Mate Rimac controlled 47.7% of the company, with the remainder distributed among smaller shareholders.
In May, the Croatian company signed an 80 million euro ($88 million) strategic partnership deal with Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors Corporation, planning to collaborate on the development of two high-performance electric vehicles (EVs) by 2020. The collaboration of the three companies will result in developing an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle.
Also in May, Rimac said that the company will need an additional financing of 70 million euro to complete an investment cycle, which will expand its business and help it build a new campus and a factory.
In July, Hyundai Motor Group said it will step up its strategic partnership with Rimac Automobili and will support its aspirations to turn Croatia into an automotive industry centre.
Sveta Nedelja-based Rimac Automobili was founded in 2009 when Mate Rimac began working from his garage on his vision of producing electric sports cars.
The company now employs some 600 people and plans to grow into an established Tier-1 supplier for the industry. For the purpose, Rimac plans to launch production in 2020 of new high-volume production lines for battery packs, powertrain systems and the C_Two hypercar at the new facilities currently under construction, the company said in its statement.