SAFT Opens New Plant in China

Facility to manufacture NiCad and eventually lithium-based batteries for utility and railroad industries in China

Published: 06-Oct-2004

Saft, the world leader in specialized batteries for industrial and defense applications, announces that it is to invest in a new manufacturing facility in China.

The new plant, which is additional capacity for the group, will manufacture and assemble two key battery technologies. The first is primary lithium batteries, which are used in electricity meters in China today, and for which the market is growing rapidly. There is also a rapidly developing market for batteries for water and gas meters. Saft estimates that the Chinese market is growing at approximately 20% per annum.

The second market with fast growth in China for Saft is rail, with projects currently on-going for several cities. These applications use Saft’s nickel-cadmium batteries, for reasons of reliability, safety and robustness. This investment is to reply to increasing demand from local rail manufacturers to modernize their rolling stock and increase the presence of added-value components.

The initial investment will be 5 M€ and Saft sees huge potential in the Chinese market for specialized batteries. The group is continuing to expand and invest worldwide in its primary lithium technologies for industrial applications, one of the main areas currently driving the group’s growth.

Saft CEO, John Searle, commented: “Opening this new manufacturing plant in China is a logical step for Saft. We have shipped more than 20 million cells to China over the last three years and demand is growing there for high added value products such as ours. It is our strategy to manufacture as close to our customers as we can in order to offer them the best possible service”

Manufacturing will begin in early 2006 with an initial 150 employees.

This strategic decision confirms Saft’s continued growth in the industrial markets it serves.

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