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Spanish EV charger maker Wallbox to go public in $1.5 billion New York SPAC deal

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By Isla Binnie

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish electric-vehicle charger maker Wallbox plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange later this year through a merger with shell company Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp, the companies said on Wednesday.

Wallbox, which counts wind energy leader Iberdrola as its largest institutional investor, will raise about $330 million from the deal, valuing it at around $1.5 billion including debt.

The deal is slated to close in the third quarter and will include a $100 million investment from Kensington along with Janus Henderson Investors, Luxor Capital and Cathay Innovation.

The Barcelona-based company could become the first European vehicle charger maker to hit public markets through merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), a quicker and less onerous route to market than a traditional listing.

Startups in innovative areas like automotive technology have chosen SPACs because they can present investors with the promise of future profits forecast for when their products become mainstream, a practice restricted in IPO regulations.

"This transaction with Kensington will allow us to significantly increase our product development and manufacturing capacity," Wallbox Chief Executive Enric Asuncion said in a statement.

Investors have sought in the sector to replicate the stock market success of electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla Inc.

Silicon Valley battery group Quantumscape Corp, which is backed by Volkswagen, listed through a merger with a separate unit of Kensington last year.

Iberdrola said last week it would snap up the first 1,000 of Wallbox's new line of fast chargers, which it will deploy in homes, businesses and on roads to help meet growing demand.

Kensington has hired Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, Cuatrecasas Goncalves Pereira, and Houthoff as legal advisers and UBS as financial adviser. Wallbox is advised by Barclays, Drake Star Partners, Latham & Watkins LLP and Loyens & Loeff.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Peter Cooney)