Hydro-Québec and Kerr McGee Sign Agreement

May 14, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Hydro-Québec (Canada) has signed an agreement with Kerr McGee Chemical LLC (Oklahoma City, OK) to develop and market AVESTOR Corp.'s (Canada) lithium-metal-polymer battery (LMP). The announcement was made near the future site of a new battery plant by Bernard Landry, premier of Quebec, André Caillé, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec, and Luke Corbett, chairman and CEO of Kerr McGee.

Kerr McGee will hold 50 percent of AVESTOR. Hydro-Québec will retain ownership

of the other half and will be in charge of operating the company together with Kerr McGee.

AVESTOR will build its first manufacturing plant in Boucherville, a Montreal suburb. Employing some 170 skilled and semi-skilled workers by 2003, the plant will allow the

company to accelerate the marketing of its LMP battery. AVESTOR plans to start marketing batteries for electric vehicles and peak power production in 2004, following the 2002 launch of batteries for stationary applications such as telecommunications. The Boucherville plant will produce batteries for the latter market whose worth is estimated to be $2.8 billion. AVESTOR is forecasting over 11-percent annual growth in this market up to 2005.

“As a result of this partnership between two financial giants—Hydro-Québec and Kerr McGee Chemical LLC—Quebec will be industrially and commercially positioned in a high-growth niche and will thus benefit fully from a technology that was developed here in Quebec. We're especially pleased to announce that the Government of Quebec is devoting considerable effort to stimulating R&D and developing the economy," said Premier Landry.

AVESTOR should soon receive the environmental permits to start building the plant in September. Production is expected to start out at 35,000 batteries a year in 2002, ramping up to 175,000 the following year.