Britishvolt has agreed to acquire advanced technology battery cell developer and manufacturer EAS from Monbat Group for Eur36 million ($38.6 million), the UK-based battery developer said May 24.
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The two companies have signed a sales and purchase agreement for EAS, which is developing and producing large format lithium-ion cells using innovative and compact electrode production technology, Britishvolt said.
The acquisition will be funded through a combination of cash and a share issuance in Britishvolt, meaning that the Monbat Group is now an investor in Britishvolt, Chief Communications Officer Ben Kilbey told S&P Global Commodity Insights.
The acquisition would allow Britishvolt to scale up the final part of its 46xx cell development and commercialization program, CEO Orral Nadjari said, adding that the 46xx cell format was developed as part of the company's wider research and development program.
EAS has been developing and producing large format cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells from 7.5 Ah to 50 Ah for 25 years and uses compact production technology to ensure high quality standards for its high power and energy cells at a low environmental impact, Britishvolt said. EAS will continue to work at its Nordhausen location.
The scale-up of the development would put the 46xx cell products in the hands of automotive customers, giving them "exactly the cell solution they have been seeking in terms of next-generation, high-performance and long-range battery technology," Nadjari said.
Britishvolt broke ground on its GBP2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) 30 GWh gigafactory in the UK in August 2021 and in October announced plans for a second gigafactory in Quebec, Canada, with a capacity of 60 GWh.
Plug-in light duty electric vehicle sales in Western Europe are expected to total 2.7 million units in 2022 and reach 4.5 million units in 2025 and 7.5 million units in 2030, according to S&P Global analysts.
This rising demand is boosting battery metal prices, with the Platts seaborne lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide assessments up 124.8% and 153%, respectively, since the start of 2022 at $76,000/mt CIF North Asia and at $80,200/mt CIF North Asia as of May 24, S&P Global data showed.
Marine battery products
The deal would also facilitate getting battery systems to the marine battery market segment quicker and help the pathway to decarbonization, he added.
Earlier in May, Scorpio Group invested in Britishvolt to work on batteries for use in the shipping industry.
"EAS has a proven track record in providing innovative, tailor-made battery cell solutions for its customers, and it makes strategic sense so that we join forces and grow together," Nadjari said.
He added that Britishvolt planned to make additional investments in EAS to help it reach its full potential.
When asked for additional information on the investment, Kilbey told S&P Global that a strategic roadmap would be delivered once the purchase was completed.
No exact timeline was given for the acquisition, with Britishvolt saying it would be "completed soon" and the agreement remained subject to regulatory approvals.
The two companies had common goals and, due to the high synergies, the acquisition would accelerate mutual growth, EAS Managing Director Michael Deutmeyer said.
"For EAS and its customers, the focus is on greater capacities in the development and production of innovative cells and battery systems. We are expanding our know-how, deepening our ecological and resource-saving approach in production and enlarging our team," he said.
Monbat would remain part of the expected growth of the lithium-ion industry through a minority stake in Britishvolt, Monbat AD CEO Victor Spiriev said.