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Nissan selling batteries unit to China’s Envision

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 14:21 -- John Shepherd
Envision CEO Lei Zhang. Photo: Envision

Shanghai-based energy group Envision has agreed a deal to become the majority owner of Nissan’s international lithium-ion batteries business.

The definitive agreement with Envision comes just two months after Nissan’s proposed sale of the business to Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital fell through.

Financial details of the new agreement have not been disclosed. However, Envision will form a new entity for the batteries business— in which Nissan will have 25% share or equity interest.

Envision said it is committed to acquiring Nissan subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) and battery manufacturing operations in Tennessee, owned by Nissan North America— and in Sunderland, England, owned by Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK.

The Chinese group, which has built up an international wind turbine and “digital energy tech” empire since launching in 2007, will also acquire Nissan’s Japanese battery development and production engineering operations in Oppama, Atsugi and Zama.

Envision founder and CEO Lei Zhang (pictured) said the deal would allow the group to expand by “investment in the new company, to realise the value of Internet of things technology for smart transportation, V2G (vehicle to grid) and smart city solutions”.

The deal, expected to be completed by 29 March 2019, is contingent on Nissan acquiring all shares in AESC— founded in 2007 to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries— by buying the combined 49% minority holding held by NEC Corporation and its wholly-owned electrode development and production subsidiary, NEC Energy Devices (NECD). Envision must then purchase all NECED shares from NEC.

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