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Amazon to invest in robotics firm Balyo’s technology for self-driving forklifts


Amazon is planning to build a stake of almost one-third in warehouse robotics firm Balyo in the next seven years, as part of a deal that could boost sales of the French company’s technology for self-driving forklift trucks

Warehouse automation is regarded as a key element in efforts by Amazon to cut its costs and speed up deliveries. The world’s biggest online retailer currently uses robots developed by Kiva Systems, a company it bought for $775mn 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 robotic solutions,” Balyo Chief Executive Fabien Bardinet stated on Thursday.

Under the terms of the deal, Amazon will receive free stock warrants representing up to 29% of Balyo’s capital which it can exercise depending on orders of the company’s products. The full 29% would be exercised if Amazon orders up to $346mn of Balyo’s enabled products.

Balyo, whose navigation system turns forklifts into self-driving vehicles, stated that it expected its 2018 revenue to come in at $26.8mn, up 40% on the previous year.

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