Amazon to invest in the French company’s technology for self-driving trucks

FILE PHOTO: A worker uses a forklift to retrieve products that have been stored in a large Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, USA, 27 November 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

(Reuters) – Amazon (AMZN.O) could build a stake of almost a third in warehouse robotics company Balyo (BALYO.PA) in the next seven years, as part of a deal that could boost sales of the French company, the technology for self-driving of forklift trucks.

Warehouse automation is an important element in the efforts of Amazon to the cost and the speed of the deliveries. The world’s largest online retailer are currently using robots developed by Kiva Systems, a company it bought for $775 million in 2012.

“This agreement … represents an unprecedented opportunity for Balyo to grow its business and supports the soundness of our investments over the years to perfect our automated solutions,” Balyo Chief Executive Fabien Bardinet said on Thursday.

Under the terms of the deal, Amazon will receive free stock warrants to 29 percent of the Balyo, the capital, which it may exercise, depending on the orders of the products of the company.

The full 29 percent would be exercised if Amazon orders up to 300 million euro ($346 million) of Balyo is turned on products.

Balyo, of which the navigation system turns trucks into self-driving vehicles, said it expects 2018 revenue to come in at € 23.3 million, a growth of 40 percent in the previous year.

($1 = 0.8661 euro)

Reporting by Michal Aleksandrowicz and Alan Charlish in Gdynia; Editing by Mark Potter

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