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Charge Enterprises: Is EV Charging Company Up for Sale?

December 1, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Charge Enterprises may be up for sale amid debt challenges at the  EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure company, multiple sources tell Sustainable Tech Partner.

Related Update: Charge Enterprises Lawsuit vs. Former Chairman, KORR

The debt problems further highlight financial pressures that have swept across portions of the climate tech and EV charging infrastructure markets in recent months. Indeed, US clean energy stocks have fallen $30 billion in the last six months, Bloomberg reports. And Charge Enterprises' stock ($CRGE) is down more than 90% over the past year, according to SeekingAlpha.

Further complicating matters for some EV charging companies: Tesla's North America Charging Standard and associated Supercharger network have gained critical mass.

Related: See all M&A deals involving sustainability, green IT services and renewable energy businesses listed here.

Charge Enterprises Hires Piper Sandler to Explore Strategic Options

Amid that backdrop, an SEC filing reveals that Charge Enterprises management has "engaged Piper Sandler & Co. to assist the Company in addressing its debt and liquidity positions. The Company intends to consider all strategic alternatives including restructuring or refinancing our debt, seeking additional debt or equity capital, reducing or delaying our business activities and strategic initiatives, or selling assets, other strategic transactions and/or other measures. No assurance can be provided that the Company will be able to refinance, restructure or repay our indebtedness or to continue as a going concern."

Craig Denson, interim CEO, Charge Enterprises
Craig Denson, interim CEO, Charge Enterprises

Chatter about a potential Charge Enterprises asset sale surfaces roughly three months after founder Andrew Fox resigned as chairman and CEO in August 2023. Fox's resignation arrived amid pressure from activist firm Arena Investors. COO Craig Denson is interim CEO and Amy Hanson assumed the chairperson responsibilities. 

Charge Enterprises: Business Focus, Financial Resuts

Charge Enterprises, based in New York, provides end-to-end project management services in the electrical, broadband and EV charging infrastructure markets. The company operates in two market segments:

  • Infrastructure, which includes EV charging, broadband and wireless, and electrical contracting services; and
  • Telecommunications, which provides connection of voice calls, Short Message Services (SMS) and data to global carriers.

Charge Enterprises' revenue was $132.3 million in Q3 of 2023, compared with $185.9 million in the third quarter of 2022, according to a November 8, 2023 earnings report.

The company blamed the revenue drop on weakness in its telecommunications business -- though the infrastructure business continues to grow. Indeed, infrastructure revenues were $31.8 million in Q3 of 2023, up $5.0 million from $26.8 million in the third quarter of 2022. We don't know how much of that growth involved the Greenspeed acquisition from mid-2023.

Meanwhile, overall net loss was $7.0 million in Q3 of 2023, compared with net income of $16.2 million in the third quarter of 2022. Still, the company in early November 2023 reiterated first quarter 2024 and full year 2024 positive adjusted EBITDA expectations.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging and Battery Markets: Under Pressure

Multiple segments of the electric vehicle (EV) market are under pressure. Several EV car makers, battery developers and charging infrastructure providers have suffered layoffs and business setbacks in recent months. Examples include:

  • November 2023: NaaS Technology Inc., an EV charging service company in China, cancelled plans to acquire Charge Amps AB. NaaS Technology did not say why it cancelled the deal.
  • November 2023: Our Next Energy (ONE) layoffs will involve 25% staff cuts at the electric vehicle (EV) battery startup, Reuters reported.
  • November 2023: LG Energy Solution layoffs will impact roughly 170 employees between December 2023 and January 2024, The Holland Sentinel of Michigan reported. The business develops EV (electric vehicle) batteries for U.S. automakers. Key customers include Volvo, Stellantis, Ford and General Motors.
  • November 2023: Tritium DCFC is planning layoffs and an Australia factory closure. The goal: Achieve a path to profitability in 2024, the fast-growing but money-losing electric vehicle (EV) charging technology company said.
  • September 2023: ChargePoint layoffs hit 10% of its staff and reorganized operations amid weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue guidance from the electric vehicle (EV) charging station network company.

Sustainability and Green Technology Jobs: Climate Tech Training Programs

Despite those anecdotal job cuts, demand for green jobs in the United States has grown roughly 50% since 2019, according to Lightcast.

In response, companies such as AccentureEYGoodwill and Microsoft have launched green jobs training programs.

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