RUSNANO invests $700m in Plastic Logic
Cambridge plastronics pioneer, Plastic Logic, has confirmed a landmark $700 million (£437.2m) investment from The Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO).
Over time this and allied funding will push the company’s latest haul past the billion dollar mark.The investment project includes building the world’s largest volume production factory for Plastic Logic’s next-generation plastic displays in Zelenograd – Russia’s silicon Valley – and aims to establish a commercial plastic electronics industry in Russia.Plastic Logic will initially employ 300 at the facility and has also pledged to continue to grow its Cambridge and Dresden operations.Plastic Logic has received an initial investment package of $300 million: Under the final agreement, RUSNANO is providing an initial investment of $150 million into the equity of Plastic Logic. Plastic Logic’s lead investor, Oak Investment Partners, a multi-stage venture capital firm, is investing an additional $50 million as part of the project investment plan. In addition to the equity investments, RUSNANO will provide partial guarantees for debt financing in the amount of $100 million.Over the next few years, additional equity and debt will be raised totalling approximately $400 million.Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta said: “We evaluated multiple locations and potential partners across the globe for our second factory. We determined Russia with RUSNANO as an investment partner was the best fit for our business.“RUSNANO has demonstrated it is fully invested in our goal to commercialise plastic electronics. We are gratified by the RUSNANO investment package and the continued commitment of Oak Investment Partners in bringing this disruptive technology to market.”Georgy Kolpachev, RUSNANO’s managing director, added: “Plastic Logic is one of the most promising new technology companies in Silicon Valley. This is an unprecedented investment of close to a billion dollars in the future of plastic electronics to help create one of the largest commercial centres for it in Russia. “This investment signifies the potential that we see in the future of plastic electronics across a variety of commercial and consumer products: Flexible plastic electronic displays will provide another major milestone in how people process information. “Entering this new disruptive segment at the stage of its inception gives Russia a chance to win a leading position in global market of future electronics.”Plastic electronics technology has the potential to revolutionise the design and production of electronic devices. This technology has many economic, manufacturing, form factor and environmental benefits, assuring that it will replace silicon in a variety of devices in the future. Plastic Logic is the leader in the development of this technology for commercial purposes and has developed broad and deep intellectual property in the technology and is actively advancing this technology in its labs and in manufacturing facilities. Plastic Logic’s first application of the technology makes possible an amazingly thin, lightweight, robust and flexible active matrix display that is unmatched in the marketplace. The display is at the core of Plastic Logic’s first commercial consumer electronics product, a next-generation electronic reader for business that is currently under development.The Zelenograd factory, scheduled for production starting in 2013/2014, will have the capacity to produce hundreds of thousands of units of next-generation plastic electronics displays per month. Plastic Logic said it plans to employee 300-plus at the new Zelenograd facility.Zelenograd was a natural choice for the home of the company’s second and largest commercial plastic electronics display factory, according to Konrad Herre, Plastic Logic vice president for manufacturing, who led the site selection process. “Zelenograd is at the centre of the electronics, microelectronics and computer industry and is the equivalent of Silicon Valley in Russia. Zelenograd has invested in the development of a Special Economic Zone with an excellent infrastructure for hi-tech industry, and is home to the Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology (MIET), which gives us access to a highly educated and trained workforce.”At the same time, Plastic Logic plans the continued investment in its first high-volume, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Dresden, Germany, which opened in 2008, as well as its technology R & D centre in Cambridge, England.• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta