Receivers: Sell Better Place in Parts, Not as Going Concern

Following two disastrous attempts to sell electric car company whole, attorneys suggest new approach.

The drawn-out process of liquidating Better Place apparently will be coming to a dismal conclusion – the company’s court-appointed receivers favor selling off the electric car company in parts, as opposed to leaving it as a whole, going 
concern.

“Apparently there will be greater financial utility from selling the assets of the company in parts than selling the company as a whole,” they stated, in a report submitted to the Lod District Court on Thursday.

This comes after two previous attempts to sell the company as a whole failed. In both cases, the potential buyers failed to make the payments to which they had committed.

“After two attempts to sell all assets and operations as a going concern, which took into account … the interests of the employees and the customers, there’s no question that we must now consider the interests of the creditors,” wrote attorneys Sigal Rozen-Rechav and Shaul Kotler to the court.

This means that Better Place’s assets – including charging stations, unsold cars, control centers and other equipment – would be sold off separately. In order to operate the company’s battery replacement stations, the buyer would need to negotiate with the landowners. The stations are not being offered for sale.

Thus, it seems that Better Place has no more chance of being sold as a going concern that offers customers with electric cars charging and battery replacement.

In the meanwhile, the company has ceased operations, and the battery-replacement stations are standing idle. Electric car owners pay the Israel Electric Corporation directly in order to charge their vehicles.

The court-appointed managers had been negotiating with 250 car owners, represented by a team of lawyers, who were interested in purchasing the batteries in their cars and the charging stations. Some need to finish paying for their vehicles as well.

The car owners had offered to pay NIS 1,000 per battery, NIS 150 per charging station and NIS 10,000 for the remainder of the cars’ value.

Rozen-Rechav and Kotler have stated that they think these terms are very low and are asking NIS 5,000 per battery and NIS 30,000 per vehicle.

If the car owners do not want the batteries, they will be offered to whoever buys the company, for NIS 3,500 apiece.

Rozen-Rechav and Kotler had sharp criticism for the last group that had agreed to buy Better Place, headed by Tzachi Merkur, describing physical altercations between members of the group and the court-appointed trustees’ security guards, as well as attempts to take expensive office equipment. Merkur’s Success Assets group still has vehicles belonging to Better Place, they say.

Merkur could not be reached for comment, while Success Assets stated that the arguments were baseless and had been proven wrong in the past.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court rejected a petition by Merkur, who had asked it to postpone a decision rescinding his group’s control of Better Place in early October.

Tomer Appelbaum