Nissan may be planning to sell its majority stake (51%) in the lithium-ion automotive battery manufacturer AESC — which was established originally as a joint venture between Nissan and the Japanese information technology company NEC — according to a recent report from Bloomberg.
AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corporation) currently supplies Nissan with the lithium-ion batteries used in the Nissan Leaf and the e-NV200. Though, there’s been talk in recent years that this supply arrangement may need to change if Nissan is going to sell more electric vehicles in the future.
The possible buyer of Nissan’s stake in AESC is reportedly the China-based venture capital firm GSR Capital, according to unnamed sources “with knowledge of the matter” cited by Bloomberg.
The deal, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, could be worth as much as $988 million — so it would represent a fairly big move by those involved, if it occurs.
Bloomberg provides more: “The parties aim to announce an agreement within the next two weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential. The Hubei government-backed Yangtze River Industry Fund is contributing at least 20% of the GSR Capital fund doing the AESC deal, the people said.
“GSR Capital sees value in building an independent battery supplier to multiple automakers and is considering moving some of AESC’s manufacturing to Hubei, the people said. The central Chinese province — home to the Three Gorges Dam and the nation’s second-largest carmaker, Dongfeng Motor Group Co. — recently earmarked 547 billion yuan ($80 billion) for investments in areas like clean energy to modernize its economy.
“Sizeable Chinese acquisitions of Japanese assets are rare, with transactions this year totaling just $11.4 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Last year, Japan attracted less than $700 million of deals from firms based in Asia’s biggest economy, the data show.”
This is interesting news, but considering that Nissan has seemingly developed ties with the lithium-ion battery giant LG Chem over the last few years — and seems to have conceded that LG’s batteries are better — it probably isn’t too surprising to many of you. Nissan may well consider battery production to be an area that it doesn’t want to remain in now that there are good supply options (AESC was established around a decade ago, when there weren’t good supply options for electric cars).
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