September 11, 2017 / 11:10 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Paragon plans IPO for battery systems maker Voltabox

* Paragon to float about 40 percent of Voltabox

* Voltabox to issue up to 5.8 mln new shares

* Paragon to sell 500,000 shares in IPO (Adds CEO comment, background)

By Anneli Palmen

FRANKFURT, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Germany’s Paragon plans to float about 40 percent of its Voltabox battery systems unit on the Frankfurt stock exchange as early as this autumn to raise funds to develop the business.

Voltabox is to issue 5 million new shares plus a greenshoe option of 825,000 shares, with a further 500,000 shares to come from Paragon’s holdings, Paragon and Voltabox said.

The companies did not say how much the initial public offering (IPO) is expected to raise.

“We are in a phase of strong growth,” Voltabox Chief Executive Juergen Pampel told Reuters, adding that proceeds will be used to finance growth, possible acquisitions, research and development and the repayment of debt.

Voltabox, the customers of which include carmaker BMW , brake systems business Knorr-Bremse and industrial robots maker Kuka, makes lithium-ion-based battery systems used in electric forklifts, mining vehicles and trolley buses.

It said it sees opportunities in agricultural markets, construction vehicles and municipal utility vehicles. It also plans to expand into performance electronics and electric engines.

The business generated 10.6 million euros ($12.7 million) in sales in the first half of 2017 but said it had an order backlog of more than 800 million euros.

Its first-half loss before interest and tax (EBIT) narrowed to 0.7 million euros from 1.5 million a year earlier.

Pampel said the company is targeting break-even on an operating level this year and sales of 100 million euros within two years.

Bankhaus Lampe KG will be the sole global coordinator for the IPO and joint bookrunner alongside Hauck & Aufhauser Privatbankiers, Paragon said.

Voltabox, which was founded in 2011 and employs 90 staff, is pressing ahead with the planned offering despite German battery maker Varta’s cancellation of a planned IPO late last year because of a lack of investor demand. ($1 = 0.8322 euros) (Additional reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Goodman)

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