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Monbat moves into lithium-ion with German acquisitions

Fri, 06/30/2017 - 14:20 -- News Editor
Monbat moves into lithium-ion with German acquisitions

Bulgarian lead-acid battery manufacturer Monbat has moved into the lithium-ion business with the acquisition of German peers Gaia Akkumulatorenwerke and EAS Germany.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Monbat said it had acquired 100% of all tangible and intangible assets of both companies and is merging them into the EAS Batteries business in Nordhausen, northeast Germany.

Sofia-based Monbat said it plans to invest more than €5 million ($4.4 million) in modernising the Nordhausen site over the next two years, including adding new equipment, “expanding” the workforce and “growing the whole business and further expanding its sales in Germany and neighbouring countries”.

Monbat said its move “will bring additional diversification to the company and marks the entry into the lithium-ion business, which is one of the enabling technologies for the decarbonisation of stationary and mobile energy demands”.

The deal “further allows a new market presence in the high-power battery systems solutions, based on safe and proven LFP cell chemistry, which is a unique technology approach adopted by only one other big player globally”, Monbat said. “This technology can address many niche high power applications and meet the very high requirements for reliability and safety, which many applications demand in areas such as aerospace, defence, marine and public transportation.”

Designated managing director of EAS Batteries Michael Deutmeyer said: “The team at Nordhausen has more than 20 years of manufacturing experience in large-format lithium-ion cells which is unparalleled in Europe. Monbat has a lot of experience working in highly-commoditised markets as well as in mass production of high-quality lead-acid batteries. Combining these two skill sets is an ideal basis for executing the new business development plan.”

Monbat chairman and chief executive officer Atanas Bobokov said the acquisition “marks the entry of Monbat into the German market and commitment to a potentially world-changing technology”. “We will revitalise and merge these two companies into one complete business.”

Monbat was founded in 1959, privatised in 1998 and is now a leading European battery producer. The company has production and recycling plants in three countries and exports to more than 60 countries. Monbat’s consolidated turnover and EBITDA for 2016 was €136 million and €23 million respectively.

Gaia was set up in 1996 and is one of Germany’s leaders in lithium-ion technology, specialising in large format cells and batteries. EAS Germany was formed in 2011 through a joint venture between Gaia and Enersys/Hawker. The company focused on cell production and technology development on high-quality, large cylindrical and high power cells for hybrid electric drive trains, heavy-duty industrials and defence applications.