The Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché is entering into a partnership with the Eneris Group operating from Poland, as well as strategically repositioning itself. Several joint ventures in Europe are to be established for this purpose.
According to the announcement, Leclanché wants to become a “market-oriented, research-driven software and system integration company”. Customer contracts will remain with the Swiss company, and existing orders will continue to be served. Leclanché says that it has an order backlog of over CHF90M (almost 84 million euros) until 2021.
The changes in the strategic repositioning mainly affect production, which is where the new partner from Poland comes in. Eneris is investing a total of CHF95 million in the form of working capital loans and in expanding capacities. The plan is to set up two production joint ventures, one in Germany for cell production and the other in Switzerland and Poland for module assembly. A third is being considered for France. Some 135 production employees are to be transferred to the joint ventures. The new partners are not yet providing details of the individual joint ventures.
Leclanché will relinquish part of the control over the joint ventures. “They will be majority-owned by Eneris, while Leclanché will hold a minority stake with important reserve matters and approval rights,” says Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché. However, according to the Swiss, they will continue to own the technology and will continue to invest in research and development around cells, modules and battery management systems.
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According to Leclanché, the Eneris Group is a key participant in the EU programme ‘Important Project for Common European Interest on batteries’ (IPCEI). With this partnership, the Swiss company says it wants to become one of the market leaders in the field of energy storage with a full value chain. The focus will continue to be on stationary energy storage systems, but also on mobile applications in ships, trains, heavy-duty machinery, trucks and buses.
The Swiss company emphasize that they have solid foundations for profitable growth and that restructuring while “recognizing the challenging current economic conditions due to COVID-19”. Currently, demand far exceeds production capacity, they say. Leclanché will not have to shoulder the investment of 113 million Swiss francs for 2020 and 2021 alone with the cooperation.
On another front, the company will be cutting its operating costs by around 20 per cent. “The Board of Directors of the Company has decided to reorganize Leclanché’s operating model as the current Business Units have reached a critical size in terms of personnel, revenue and customer contracts,” says chairman Stefan Müller.
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