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ITOCHU and InSpec ally to offer services to build rechargeable battery production plants in North America; Japanese battery manufacturing equipment

1 November 2012

Japan-based ITOCHU Corporation, its wholly owned US industrial machinery sales company, TEXMAC Inc., and Oregon-based InSpec Group will commence contract services for the construction of manufacturing plants for secondary batteries, such as lithium-ion batteries, and a range of ancillary facilities. TEXMAC and InSpec entered into an alliance agreement on 31 October, and the companies will support both Japanese and North American manufacturers in constructing new plants in the future.

Demand for secondary (rechargeable) batteries in the North American market is expected to continue to grow, not only for use in hybrid and electric vehicles, but also for stationary power sources including housing, large facilities of various industries and grid scale storage applications.

As a result, ITOCHU concluded, the expansion of production capacity for secondary batteries has become essential in the market. In addition, reflecting the recent strong yen, price competition in the secondary battery sector has been escalating. In response, Japanese manufacturers of raw materials for batteries (positive-electrode materials, negative-electrode materials, separators and electrolytic solutions) and battery manufacturers have been accelerating their initiatives to relocate their manufacturing bases to North America.

TEXMAC possesses extensive knowledge and experience, gained through sales in North America over a long period of time, of the equipment of Japanese manufacturers who claim a significant share of the secondary battery manufacturing sector. InSpec has a track record of gaining large numbers of orders from raw materials manufacturers and battery manufacturers to construct plants in North America. It also possesses a superior price competitive edge based on proposal-style cost reductions.

Within the alliance, TEXMAC is to identify new customers who are investigating business development in North America, and present and consult regarding production facilities based on customers’ required specifications. It will also supply Japanese manufacturers’ equipment, which enjoys a large share of the secondary battery manufacturing sector, and supporting operations, including maintenance, after the commencement of operations at the plants.

InSpec is to provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services ranging from the selection of potential plant sites through the design and construction of manufacturing plants, including the acquisition of a range of permissions and licenses, to the running of trial operations, in addition to technological support and regular facility maintenance after the commencement of operations.

The alliance between TEXMAC and InSpec primarily targets the construction work of secondary battery manufacturing plants. However, the companies will not restrict their sales activities to this sector, and they will seek opportunities for involvement in the construction work of plants in other sectors.

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