US-Israeli solar energy co Brightsource raises $122m

The company value was $700-800 million, after money.

Brightsource Energy Inc. has raised $122.5 million in its fifth financing round. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company said that it raised the capital in shares and warrants, as part of a planned $125 million offering.

"Venturewire" reports that the company value for the round was $700-800 million, after money. Both current and new investors participated in the round.

Brightsource declined to comment on the report.

Brightsource builds large thermosolar farms. It is not a start-up in the usual sense of the word, but it is the technology company with an Israeli affiliation that has raised the most money - $450 million in five years. It raised $176 million in its previous financing round in the autumn of 2010.

The list of Brightsource's investors also shows that it is not a run-of-the-mill start-up. Shareholders include the Russian government's venture capital fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), VantagePoint Venture Partners, BP Alternative Energy, the California State Teachers Retirement System (Calsters), Google.org, Chevron Technology Ventures, Alstom SA (LSE: ALS; Euronext: ALO) and StateoilHydro Venture.

California-based Brightsource Energy is the parent company of Brightsource Industries (Israel) Ltd. (formerly Luz2), which develops thermosolar solutions based on Luz, founded by Arnold Goldman, which operated in California's Mojave Desert in the 1980s.

Brightsource's technology uses flat mirrors, called heliostats, to concentrate sunlight onto a boiler at the top of a tower to generate steam, which is then piped to run turbines to produce electricity.

Advanced Equities Inc., a specialist in services for companies planning IPOs, assisted Brightsource in the current financing round. In late 2010, Brightsource was reportedly planning an IPO on Nasdaq, and had hired Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sach for this purpose. The current financing round indicates that the company is apparently waiting a bit more before holding an IPO, and opted for mezzanine financing.

The financing round paralleled the completion of procedures for a $1.37 billion US Department of Energy loan guarantee for the construction of a large Ivanpah thermosolar facility in the Mojave that will supply electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

One of the terms of the loan guarantee is that Brightsource must raise additional capital from private investors. The company's project will be the largest thermosolar energy project in the world, and will double the amount of solar energy currently produced in the US.

Brightsource also operates a pilot facility at Mishor Rotem in the Negev.

Brightsource does not expect to generate substantial revenue until the Ivanpah project is completed. However, the company has begun to grant licenses for its technology in order to improve its revenue.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 16, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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