Nissan Exits Electric Vehicle Battery Business

August 08, 2017 by Paul Shepard

GSR Capital has entered into a definitive sale and purchase agreement with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. for the sale of Nissan's electric battery operations and production facilities to GSR. The acquisition covers Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), Nissan's battery manufacturing operations in the US and UK, and part of Nissan's battery development and engineering operations based in Japan.

GSR will be joined by other limited partners including Hong Kong private investment firms, Hong Kong conglomerates and other industrial investors in making this acquisition.

Following the completion of the transaction, GSR intends to expand the scale of existing production facilities in Japan, UK and the US to cater to new customers. GSR also intends to open new production facilities in China, enabling AESC to serve the fast-growing Chinese market for electric vehicle batteries and stationary lithium-ion batteries. This will provide AESC a unique presence in all major automotive markets globally, differentiating itself from its key competitors.

Nissan's battery operations comprise the full value chain from research & development, cell manufacturing, module/ pack assembly, and battery management systems. AESC's lithium-ion batteries already power more than 270,000 Nissan LEAF vehicles, the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, with over 3.6 billion kilometers driven without a single critical incident since its introduction in 2010.

Its manufacturing processes are also highly efficient with consistent high yields across its three plants. GSR aims to grow AESC as a pure-play battery supplier to Tier 1 automotive OEMs globally and will be selecting key local partners for expansion in Europe and China.

Sonny Wu, Chairman of GSR Capital, added: "The acquisition of AESC represents an important step for us in the new energy vehicle industry chain. We plan to further invest in R&D, expand existing capacities in the U.S., U.K., Japan, and also establish new facilities in China and Europe to better serve global customers with our global supply chain capabilities and safety first engineering DNA."

"We are also particularly impressed with the track record and capabilities of the senior management team and employees. GSR is eager for the continued leadership of the current executive team to drive forward the long term success of the business. We are also offering continued employment to the company's employees and also are seeking ways to expand employment opportunities in the communities in which the business operates. We are committed to not causing any changes to the current workforce, nor will we seek to close or relocate any sites and there will be no job losses caused by this transition."

The announced transaction is subject to normal consultation with staff representative bodies and successful completion of pending regulatory approvals.  The transaction is contingent on GSR concluding purchase of all shares in NEC Energy Devices, Ltd. from NEC Corporation. Financial terms have not been disclosed.