Johnson Controls to acquire automotive battery business

Johnson Controls and Varta today announced an agreement whereby Johnson Controls expects to acquire Varta’s Automotive Battery Division, a major European automotive battery manufacturer, for 312.5 million Euros.

Johnson Controls and Varta today announced an agreement whereby Johnson Controls expects to acquire Varta’s Automotive Battery Division, a major European automotive battery manufacturer.

Johnson Controls will pay 312.5 million Euros for Varta’s automotive battery business. The completion of the acquisition, which is anticipated to be slightly accretive to Johnson Controls fiscal 2003 results, depends on receiving customary regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close near the end of the calendar year.

Johnson Controls, an automotive battery supplier in North and South America, said that when the acquisition is complete, it expects to have annual battery sales of approximately $1.8 billion with a market leadership position in Europe as well as in the Americas.

Varta’s Automotive Battery Division, headquartered in Hannover, Germany, reported fiscal 2001 sales of 590 million Euros and earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 29 million Euros.

Varta operates six battery assembly plants in Europe located in Austria, France, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic. Varta manufactures automotive batteries for customers including BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, PSA and Volkswagen.

Varta’s research and development efforts are said to include the development of batteries for emerging higher energy, higher power and longer life automotive applications such as dual battery systems, 42-volt electrical systems and battery solutions for hybrid vehicles.

The company has programs underway with a number of automakers that focus on lead-acid AGM as well as nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion battery systems.

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