Ina Fried

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Plastic Logic Nabs New Funding, Plans Plant in Russia

E-reader start-up Plastic Logic said it has finalized an investment deal with the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. The Russian agency, known as RUSNANO, will provide $150 million in equity financing for Plastic Logic, which plans to build a $700 million factory in Zelenograd, Russia.

RUSNANO will also provide $100 million in debt guarantees, while Plastic Logic’s existing investor Oak Investment Partners will add another $50 million in equity investment.

“We evaluated multiple locations and potential partners across the globe for our second factory, Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta said in a statement. “We determined Russia with RUSNANO as an investment partner was the best fit for our business. RUSNANO has demonstrated it is fully invested in our goal to commercialize plastic electronics. We are gratified by the RUSNANO investment package and the continued commitment of Oak Investment Partners in bringing this disruptive technology to market.”

Plastic Logic has been showing off its plastic display technology for years (including a demo at D7), but scrapped its first product–the Que e-reader (see image), after several delays. The company said it still hopes to bring to market a business-oriented e-reader and is working to develop such a product. The company said that the Zelongrad factory, which should be ready for production by 2013 or 2014, will employ more than 300 people and have the capacity to crank out hundreds of thousands of displays per month.

“This investment signifies the potential that we see in the future of Plastic Electronics across a variety of commercial and consumer products,” RUSNANO Managing Director Georgy Kolpachev said in a statement. “Flexible plastic electronic displays will provide
another major milestone in how people process information. Entering this new disruptive segment at the stage of its inception gives Russia a chance to win a leading position in global market of future electronics.”

Despite its new Russian plans, Plastic Logic said it plans to continue investing in the Dresden, Germany, plant it opened in 2008, as well as its research and development center in Cambridge, England.

Still unclear is just how it will compete with the likes of the Kindle, iPad, Nook and the many, many other tablets and e-readers that will hit the market before anything ships from Dresden, Zelenograd or any other Plastic Logic facility.