Johnson Controls wants to dissolve lithium ion battery joint venture with Saft

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 18, 2011

Saft Groupe SA has signified its opposition to the first steps that Johnson Controls Inc. has taken to dissolve their lithium ion battery joint venture.

In a press release, Johnson Controls President Alex Molinaroli said that it has filed a motion with the Delaware’s Court of Chancery to terminate the partnership so that it could pursue technologies aside from its deal with Saft to make advanced lithium-ion batteries.

Molinaroli said that what Johnson Controls and Saft have is a “fundamental disagreement about the future direction and appropriate scope of the joint venture.”

He added that the industry is quickly evolving and the investments necessary to be the market leader require Johnson Controls to “do more than the joint venture has done or can do.”

Saft also made a press release to state that it had made many proposals stating the compromises that it was willing to implement; however, Johnson Controls turned down all of them.

Saft said that while several adjustments in JCS’s scope might be considered, it won’t be in its strategic interest to “address through JCS certain lithium-ion markets where Saft is already strongly positioned and enjoys a rapid development.”

The two parties asserted that the customers of the joint venture will not be affected by Johnson Controls’ filing. In 2006, the joint venture was established to develop and make lithium-ion batteries. Johnson Controls produces car interiors and batteries for automobiles and hybrid vehicles.

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