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European EV Battery Maker to Acquire Cordless Power Tool Battery Maker

Axeon Holdings plc, a provider of advanced battery and battery management systems primarily to the automotive industry and the supplier of battery packs to UK electric truck maker Modec (earlier post), has conditionally agreed to purchase Ristma A.G., a Swiss battery pack manufacturer primarily serving the handheld cordless power tool market.

Axeon and Ristma operate in complementary segments of the battery pack market. Axeon operates in the electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) market, which is adopting Li-ion battery pack technology as its technology of choice. Ristma manufactures battery packs principally for the handheld cordless power tools market, which is also moving to Li-ion battery technology.

Axeon’s acquisition of Ristma essentially replicates the approach A123Systems is taking to building a presence in two prominent markets for lithium-ion technology (power tools and automotive), but in reverse order. A123Systems started with the power tool market, and then extended into the automotive market.

Axeon will acquire the entire issued share capital of Ristma for CHF 12.5 million (US$10.4 million or €7.5 million) in cash and a deferred consideration of up to CHF 5.5 million (US$4.6 million or €3.3 million) to be satisfied by the issue of ordinary shares.

Axeon said that it also is raising approximately £5 million (US$10.2 million or €7.4 million) before expenses through the placement of 7,846,250 new ordinary shares with institutional and other investors.

Axeon says that it is seeing increasing enquiries for its battery packs from automotive customers in the UK and mainland Europe. Axeon management believes that Ristma has the manufacturing infrastructure which Axeon needs to be able to accelerate sales of its EV and HEV products in mainland Europe. Ristma’s established manufacturing facility in Poland is of particular importance to Axeon as the Directors believe that it provides a good location and workforce to supply European automotive customers with EV and HEV battery packs.

Ristma provides an exciting opportunity for Axeon.  Ristma has supplied battery packs to blue chip companies such as Bosch and Hilti for over 15 years, and we have a leading position in the provision of battery packs to Modec and the broader EV and HEV markets.

The combination of Axeon’s skills in the design and manufacture of large Li-ion battery packs with Ristma’s volume manufacturing skill in medium Li-ion battery packs will accelerate our roll out into continental Europe.

—Hamish Grant, Axeon CEO

Earlier, Axeon had announced that its Modec electric urban delivery vehicle battery program continues to go to plan with production ramp-up of sodium nickel chloride battery packs and the delivery of the first pre-production Li-ion battery pack.  This event has crystallized the first order for Li-ion battery packs worth £675,000 covering the first two months of Li-ion battery pack production.

Axeon has received an order from Veicoli to build a prototype Li-ion battery pack for an electric taxi program in Italy.  This is Axeon’s first electric vehicle contract win in continental Europe and is the first tangible result of investment this year in sales activity in Europe.

Axeon has also completed its battery management system development program with ITI-Energy. Axeon and ITI-Energy have agreed an exploitation License relating to certain aspects of the intellectual property developed under the program. 

The Modec electric urban delivery vehicle production is ramping up as planned. This programme will be the backbone of revenue growth over the next eighteen months.  It is very encouraging to see some of the sales potential we have identified in Europe being converted into real business.

—Charles Matthews, Chairman of Axeon Holdings plc



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