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Johnson Matthey buys Clariant’s LFP business for $75M; to combine with A123 Systems’ China facility in new Battery Materials entity

Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has agreed to sell its Energy Storage line of business to Johnson Matthey Plc for US$75 million at closing, which is expected early 2015. The Energy Storage business of Clariant is the largest hydrothermal Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) producer in the world. The lithium iron cathode material is used in electric vehicles and stationary battery applications. In September, JM acquired A123 System's cathode manufacturing facility in China. (Earlier post.)

The transaction covers all of the assets of Clariant’s Energy Storage business including its manufacturing facility in Candiac, Québec, an R&D center and pilot plant in Moosburg, Germany together with the customer order book and an IP portfolio.

Johnson Matthey will gain rights to basic patents on LFP and its use as a cathode material, as well as a number of other important patents relating to LFP. In addition, Johnson Matthey is acquiring a portfolio of IP covering current and future battery materials from Clariant and a well-established R&D group.

In 2013 the Energy Storage business generated around CHF 16 million (US$17 million) in sales but with an operating loss. The business employs around 100 employees predominantly in Canada and Germany.

Following completion, Johnson Matthey will integrate the two battery materials acquisitions into a single entity, Johnson Matthey Battery Materials, to deliver benefits from R&D, manufacturing and commercial synergies. This entity, together with its Battery Systems business, will constitute Johnson Matthey’s Battery Technologies business which sits within its New Businesses Division.

This acquisition provides us with a strong position in LFP from which to develop a broad portfolio of battery materials. It further strengthens our battery technologies capability which marks an important step in Johnson Matthey’s long term strategy to establish new business areas.

—Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey


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