British multinational Johnson Matthey has sold off its lithium-ion battery interests in two deals in as many days.
Johnson Matthey (JM) sold off its assets in Canada to battery materials firm Nano One Materials Corp. and its battery materials interests in the UK, Germany and Poland to EV Metals Group.
Liam Condon, chief executive of JM said: “Johnson Matthey made the decision to exit battery materials due to insufficient returns, increased commoditisation of battery materials combined with the need for very high capital investments to remain competitive.
“This important divestment means Johnson Matthey can now focus on our core portfolio.”
First battery deal
On 25 May, the firm confirmed it had sold all the outstanding shares of its Canada-based lithium-ion battery business Johnson Matthey Battery Materials (JMBM) to Nano One in a deal worth around C$10.25 million ($7.9 million).
JMBM Canada includes R&D, pilot to commercial scale cathode production and product qualification and quality assurance systems expertise for tier 1 automotive lithium-ion cell manufacturers.
It also includes its Candiac 2,400 tonne per annum capacity LFP production facility in Québec, Canada.
The transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2022, subject to JMBM Canada fulfilling contractual commitments and certain other customary closing conditions.
Condon said: “We have worked with Nano One on a number of projects over the last year and having seen their innovations, we believe they have the potential to develop the Candiac site in the best way possible.
“We remain at the Candiac site until the end of the year and are fully committed to serving the needs of our customers.”
The Candiac production facility was acquired by Johnson Matthey in 2015 and has been in operation since 2012.
It is a supplier of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material to the lithium-ion battery sector for both automotive and non-automotive applications for a select group of customers.
Second battery deal
On 26 May, JM announced it had entered into an agreement for the sale of part of its battery materials business to EV Metals Group for £50 million ($62.8 million) in cash and a minority equity stake in EV Metals.
The buy-out by the Australian battery chemicals and technology firm includes assets at JM’s battery technology centre in Oxford and battery technology centre and pilot plant in Billingham— both in the UK— a research centre in Moosburg, Germany and the partly constructed site in Konin, Poland.
The deal is expected to be finalised within months.
According to reports, the deal comes five months after JM placed 150 staff at its Billingham plant under consultation, after announcing plans to close the battery materials business.
The sale includes JM’s eLNO® technology, underpinned by the GEMX® and CAM-7® cathode platforms the company licensed from US firm CAMX Power.
EV Metals will continue to develop eLNO, a family of nickel-rich cathode materials.
Michael Naylor, managing director and chief executive officer of EV Metals Group said: “The acquisition of the battery materials business is a strong strategic fit for us.
“It includes world class, leading technology for the production of cathode active materials.
“With our unique upstream, midstream and downstream business model, we are well positioned to drive the successful commercialisation of LMs cam technology, taking full advantage of the group’s ‘mine to OEM’ integrated supply chain, which addresses the long-term market challenge of both surety of raw materials and the supply of processed materials.”