NEC Exiting Battery Business, Likely Selling Its Division To Chinese Investment Group

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The Tokyo-based manufacturer NEC is reportedly in final talks with the China-based investment group GSR to sell its battery electrode subsidiary, NEC Energy Devices, according to recent reports.

If the deal goes through, then that means that NEC will have completely exited the expensive lithium-ion business — presuming that the sale of NEC’s interest in its automotive battery joint venture with Nissan Motor to GSR also goes through.

As it stands, the company currently sells electrodes used in lithium-ion batteries for Nissan’s LEAF electric cars, amongst smaller contracts. Annual sales total around ¥15 billion.

With regard to the new deal, the offer price is reportedly around ¥15 billion (~$135 million).

Here’s more on the deal: “The move comes as (many) countries look to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and other non-polluting cars. Both France and the UK have announced that they will ban the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by 2040. The global market for rechargeable batteries for environmentally friendly vehicles is forecast to reach nearly $60 billion in 2025, up fivefold from last year, according to Japanese research company Fuji Keizai.

“Panasonic, the world’s top player in automotive lithium-ion car batteries, supplies Tesla and Toyota Motor and continues to make massive investments in the field. But NEC relies almost exclusively on Nissan, which is now looking to expand its battery supplier network. Given the amount of investment required to keep its battery business competitive, and the lack of synergies with its other operations, NEC has decided to leave the space.”

That makes sense. Further consolidations in the automotive battery industry over the coming years seem likely.

Image via NEC Energy Devices

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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