Nissan Motor has entered into a definitive sale and purchase agreement with GSR Capital (GSR), a private investment fund, for the sale of Nissan’s automotive electric battery operations and production facilities to GSR.
The sale and purchase agreement covers Nissan’s battery subsidiary, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), as well as battery manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tennessee, owned by Nissan North America Inc. (NNA), and in Sunderland, England, owned by Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. (NMUK). Assets sold to GSR will also include part of Nissan’s Japanese battery development and production engineering operations located in Oppama, Atsugi and Zama.
Nissan will implement the transaction by first taking full control of AESC—founded in 2007 to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries—by acquiring the combined 49% minority holding held by NEC Corporation and its wholly owned battery and electrode subsidiary, NEC Energy Devices, Ltd (NECED).
This is a win-win for AESC and Nissan. It enables AESC to utilize GSR’s wide networks and proactive investment to expand its customer base and further increase its competitiveness. In turn, this will further enhance Nissan’s EV competitiveness. AESC will remain a very important partner for Nissan as we deepen our focus on designing and producing market-leading electric vehicles.—Hiroto Saikawa, president and CEO of Nissan
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 production capacity in the US, UK and Japan, and also establish new facilities in China and Europe, enabling us to better serve customers around the world. With these capabilities and plans added to the battery business’ already skilled workforce, high technical capabilities and proven product-quality track record, we will be in a very good position for growth.—Sonny Wu, chairman of GSR Capital
The workforce at all facilities covered by the deal, including the production plants at Zama, Sunderland and Smyrna, will continue to be employed. The headquarters and development centers of the business will remain in Japan.
The transaction is subject to normal consultation with staff representative bodies and, pending regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of December 2017. The transaction is contingent on GSR concluding purchase of all NECED shares from NEC. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
GSR Capital is a leading private investment fund with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Palo Alto. The firm focuses on investments in high growth sectors in electric vehicles, new energy, modern agriculture, healthcare and wireless technologies.