German carmaker Daimler is to acquire two battery cell manufacturing companies from its erstwhile partner Evonik Industries, the companies have announced.
Under the terms of their agreement, Daimler will acquire a 50.1% stake in Evonik’s battery cell company Li-Tec Battery and a 10% stake in joint venture Deutsche Accumotive, making Daimler the sole owner of both companies. Details of the agreement were not revealed.
Based in Kamenz near Dresden, Li-Tec Battery develops, produces and distributes the large lithium-ion battery cells used in Daimler’s ‘Smart Fortwo’ urban two-seater microcar. The car claimed a market share of 30% in Germany’s new electric car sector in 2013.
Deutsche Accumotive develops batteries for automotive applications, and is one of the few companies manufacturing them in Germany. The firm is headquartered near Stuttgart in Kirchheim unter Teck, with a production plant in Kamenz.
The buyout reflects changed market conditions, the companies said. According to an October 2013 statement by CEO Klaus Engel, Evonik would need investment in the range of “three-digit million” euros, and would have to shoulder significantly more risk, in order to deal with the industry’s rapid development and supply-demand imbalance. These conditions had forced the company to look for a buyer for its battery business.
“The agreement creates important opportunities for Germany as an industrial location in an international environment of intense competition … In this way, Evonik and Daimler have found a good solution,” said Thomas Hermann, Evonik’s head of corporate development.
Harald Kröger, head of development at Daimler’s luxury car division Mercedes-Benz Cars Electrics/Electronics, said, “Along the value chain for drive-system batteries with lithium-ion technology, we now have the two most important components: the production of battery cells and the related development and production of highly complex drive-system batteries as a combination of cells and battery electronics.”