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Loan boost to upgrade Kazakhstan lead-acid battery plant

Wed, 03/20/2019 - 09:52 -- Hugh Finzel
Talykorgan facility

The Kazakh arm of Russia’s Sberbank group has approved a KZT1 billion (US$2.7 million) loan for Kazakhstan lead battery manufacturer, Kainar-AKB, to upgrade its Taldykorgan plant.

The funds will be used “to purchase (new) and upgrade existing equipment of the Taldykorgan Battery Plant”.

The loan has been granted under Kazakhstan’s Road Map 2020, a state-led programme for issuing grants, loans, and reductions interest rates and loan repayments, to support small and medium-sized businesses in the country. 

Kaimar-AKB manufactures “accumulators for cars, trucks, agricultural and military equipment of all sectors of the national economy”.

Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States countries, Poland, Germany and China all have long-term contracts for products from the Taldykorgan plant, Sberbank said.

Construction of the Taldykorgan battery plant began in 1970, with the first battery— the 6ST-75EM— being produced there in 1975. Kaimar-AKB was one of five battery manufacturers in the former USSR.

Kaimar-AKB head Serikbai Azhmaganbetov said all battery components are produced at the company’s facility— from casting plants and components to assembling finished products. He said the company currently produces up to 2.5 million batteries annually.

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Loan deal expansion plan for Greek lead-acid maker Sunlight

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Sunlight Xanthi factory

Greek lead-acid battery maker Sunlight is to expand manufacturing and new product development boosted by a €12.5 million (US$14.2m) financial shot in the arm from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Sunlight, part of the Olympia Group, said it will “significantly increase manufacturing capacity” at its plant in Xanthi, northern Greece thanks to the loan— the first support for industrial investment in Greece under a new EIB lending initiative backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

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ADB loan for combined energy storage in Mongolia

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
ADB Country Director for Mongolia Ms. Yolanda Fernandez Lommen (seated, left) with Minister of Finance Mr. Khurelbaatar Chimed (seated, right) during the signing of the projects

The Mongolian government has signed loan agreements with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth a total of US$85.6 million, part of which will be used to deploy batteries in developing the country’s first distributed renewable energy system.

The $40m ADB renewable energy loan will be supplemented by $14.6m from the Strategic Climate Fund and $6m from the Japan Fund for the Joint Crediting Mechanism; Mongolia’s government will contribute $5.6m to the project.

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Exide gets a warning from ratings agency

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Moody’s, the credit rating agency that gave Exide a tough time a decade ago is once again putting the company’s financial performance under the microscope.

Exide Technologies has seen weak operating performance over the last two financial quarters that has resulted in a poor credit rating.

Moody’s Investor Services changed Exide’s rating outlook from stable to negative. The company’s rating is categorised as highly speculative in the categories of Corporate Family and Probability of Default Rating, as well as its liquidity rating.

In an attempt to remedy this, and raise its credit rating back to its previous level, the company has closed battery transportation and recycling facilities in Tennessee, Texas and Pennsylvania. The company hopes the savings on operational costs from closing these facilities will improve earnings for 2013.

These combined actions will bring North American capacity down to demand level and limit the company’s exposure to volatile core costs related to recycling.

The company could be in further trouble if it cannot manage fluctuations in commodity costs; if the global demand for battery products dips; or not being able to offset lower demand with restructuring savings could lower operating performance.

If Exide cannot achieve a sequentially consecutive improvement in operating profits, Moody’s could further downgrade it.

The company can be considered for a stable rating when it can sustain EBIT (total expense from interest payments) over 1.0x; generate positive free cash flow; and maintain an adequate liquidity profile.

The sale of the smelter in Frisco, Texas should gain the company US$37million, which will strengthen the company’s US$74 million in cash on its September 2012 balance sheet.

Exide's ‘highly speculative’ Corporate Family Rating of B3 reflects the company's business focus on markets that enjoy greater stability. The automotive aftermarket replacement battery market represents about 75% of Exide's transportation revenues (44% of total revenues). About half of Exide's revenues are generated in North America where industry reports indicate shipments of both aftermarket and OEM batteries have increased on a year-to-date basis through October 2012. 

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