VivoPower

Founded by Arowana in August 2014, VivoPower International PLC is a NASDAQ listed sustainable energy solutions company with operations in the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, the United States and Canada. VivoPower is a certified B Corporation and was recognised as one of the top 50 impact companies in the world by the Real Leaders Impact Awards.


Having started its life focused on developing small solar power systems in Australia, VivoPower today is a NASDAQ listed and London headquartered group that provides ruggedised electric vehicles, battery technology, solar energy systems and critical power solutions to a global customer base. Its core purpose is to deliver sustainable energy solutions (SES) to its customers and help them in their journey to achieving net zero.

VivoPower scaled rapidly after inception and overcame many challenges to successfully IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange in December 2016. Arowana remains the largest shareholder in VivoPower and a number of its key executives serve on the board and operate as part of the management team.

The entrepreneurs among us will appreciate that no business is without its challenges, and VivoPower has been no different, experiencing a number of seemingly insurmountable problems before its IPO and after its IPO. Pre IPO, these included the demise of the largest solar company in the world, SunEdison (which turned solar from a hot sector on the NASDAQ into an unpopular sector making capital raising difficult), Brexit volatility, the last-minute withdrawal of a solar contractor (which threatened the build of our first US solar plant) and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States (which made various stakeholders nervous about renewable energy policy and future opportunities). Post IPO, VivoPower had to contend with Trump’s renewable energy tariffs making solar development less profitable in the US, a badly underperforming stock price as well internal management culture issues and consequential legal cases. By the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020, these issues had left VivoPower with virtually no cash, a long list of overdue creditors and a market capitalisation of less than US$10m.

In March 2020, led by Arowana’s founder, Kevin Chin, a core team of VivoPower and on secondment Arowana executives embarked on a no fail hyper-turnaround mission codenamed Operation Sunfish. Through a combination of sheer grit, crisis inspired creativity and some luck, the mission thankfully succeeded, ending with an oversubscribed capital raising of US$29m in October 2020. By this point, VivoPower’s market capitalisation had achieved a high in excess of US$300m with the capital raising enabling VivoPower to complete a transformational strategic pivot and acquire an electric vehicle company called Tembo. The hyper-turnaround mission was recognised by the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) as the Transaction of the Year for the sub $50m revenue category.

The acquisition of Tembo has created the springboard for VivoPower to accelerate the delivery of its 3 pronged sustainable energy solutions (SES) which encompasses:

- Design and development of ruggedised electric vehicles, delivered to customers via sale or lease financing;
- EV battery repair, maintenance and second life applications; and
- Critical electrical power retrofits on-site (eg. warehouses and depots) to optimise EV battery charging.

Solar systems

When VivoPower was established, it embarked on a strategy to develop small scale distributed generation solar systems in Australia. However, the team quickly realised the addressable market was too small and moved to exploring markets in South East Asia and the United States. Following an immersive search over a 6 month period, VivoPower landed 2 utility scale solar projects to develop in North Carolina (NC-31 and NC-47). Over a 15 month period to March 2017, VivoPower successfully developed, operated and sold 91MW worth of projects in the US – enough to power over 21,000 homes. In April 2017, VivoPower entered into a joint venture to develop a 1.8GW portfolio of solar projects in the US, making it one of the largest solar developers in North America at the time. Meanwhile, in Australia, VivoPower developed and built solar projects of all sizes, including the 600 kW Amaroo Solar Project, which is the country’s largest solar system on a school rooftop, a 3.6 MW solar facility at Cubbie Station, the largest irrigation property in the southern hemisphere and more than 80 rooftop solar systems for small and medium business customers.

Since the strategic pivot to sustainable energy solutions, VivoPower has exited all of its solar development activities in Australia. It has also taken control of its US solar joint venture as part of a legal settlement, renamed it to Caret LLC and is executing on a power-to-x strategy to maximise value.

By virtue of the above experience, VivoPower’s expertise in this area today also extends into designing and developing on-site solar generation systems and microgrids to help power customers’ electric vehicle fleets and critical power infrastructure.

Electric vehicles and battery tech

In October 2020, VivoPower announced its intention to enter the commercial electric vehicle market and duly acquired a 51% shareholding in Tembo e-LV B.V., based in the Netherlands. In February 2021, following a capital injection, VivoPower moved to 100% ownership of Tembo.

Tembo is a specialist battery-electric and off-road vehicle company that focused on designing and building ruggedised light electric vehicle solutions for customers across the globe in the mining, infrastructure, utilities, government services (including defence, police vehicles and ambulances) and humanitarian aid sectors.

The inspiration for the strategic move into electric vehicles was a keynote speech given by clean energy expert and visionary, Tony Seba at the official opening of Arowana’s London offices in September 2017. Tony spoke about electric vehicle adoption happening much faster than most would expect. Subsequently, the catalyst for the strategic pivot was the grassroot insights from VivoPower’s own Critical Power services businesses in Australia that there was growing demand for vehicle electrification solutions from mining and infrastructure customers.

Given that VivoPower has an established and active customer base in some of Tembo’s focus markets (particularly mining, infrastructure and utilities), the acquisition is a key enabler to VivoPower’s commitment to its 3 pronged Sustainable Energy Solution(SES) strategy to help customers in these sectors move to decarbonisation.

Critical power

Both Aevitas businesses are headquartered in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle region, which is the most densely populated industrial belt in Australia. Structural and cyclical factors have created a strong operating environment for these critical power services businesses, particularly the strong growth in infrastructure investment, buoyant conditions for the mining sector, and increasing demand for data centres and solar farms.

J.A. Martin and Kenshaw are owned by VivoPower through a holding company called Aevitas, which was formed in 2013 and acquired by VivoPower in December 2016.

Through its wholly-owned Australian subsidiaries, J.A. Martin and Kenshaw, VivoPower provides critical energy infrastructure generation and distribution solutions including the design, supply, installation and maintenance of power and control systems to a customer base in excess of 750 active government, mining, utilities, infrastructure and industrial customers.

Key Information

Industry
Renewable Energy
Geography
Global

Website

Milestones

2021
Launches Caret Solar and Power-to-X strategy
2021
Signs binding LOI with Toyota Motor Corporation Australia
2021
Secures global battery partnership with Tottenham Hotspur FC
2021
Completes buyout of 100% of Tembo e-LV
2021
VivoPower announces US$250m Tembo EV partnership deal with GB Auto
2021
Recognised as Top 50 impact company in 2021 Real Leaders Impact Awards
2020
Signs definitive agreement to acquire 51% of Tembo e-LV
2020
VivoPower raises USD$28.75 million in upsized public share offering
2020
Announces strategic pivot to sustainable energy solutions (SES)
2018
VivoPower secures B Corp accreditation
2017
VivoPower announces a joint venture to build 1.8GW of solar projects in the US
2016
VivoPower moves headquarters to London and is listed on the NASDAQ
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