EGM vote to reduce historic battery maker’s debts

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Swiss lithium-ion battery maker Leclanché has prepared the ground for chief shareholder FEFAM to reduce the company’s debt pile in exchange for greater control of the 109-year-old company.

CEO Anil Srivastava yesterday re-emphasized an EGM called by the Yverdon-les-Baines-based company next month is to wave through another financial shot in the arm from FEFAM, a group of four Luxembourg-registered investment funds.

The historic brand is investing in Indian battery manufacture – through a JV with Exide Industries – and bus battery packs, alongside Sun Mobility; as well as EV batteries with Skoda Europe and in battery powered maritime cargo shipping, through a project with Norway’s Kongsberg Maritime, all of which activity this year saw its EBITDA losses widen.

Having already backed Leclanché significantly in the past, FEFAM now wants to convert the remaining CHF54.7 million ($54.9 million) it is owed by the Swiss manufacturer into a larger shareholding, as well as committing a further CHF75 million to the company plus a CHF50 million for mergers and acquisitions.

The latest move by FEFAM, to back a company targeting a doubling in turnover this year and positive EBITDA in 2020, would reduce Leclanché’s debt by 65%, but will require shareholder support on December 11.