Nissan gets out of electric battery business

Nissan to sell off its battery subsidiary and operations to GSR Capital

Published: August 8, 2017, 10:30 PM
Updated: August 11, 2017, 5:07 AM

Nissan headquarters logo

2012 nissan leaf

Nissan may be one of the big players in the auto electrification business, but it will no longer be in the battery business, as the company has sold off its battery operations and production facilities to GSR Capital.

The sale and purchase agreement actually applies to Nissan’s battery subsidiary, Automotive Energy Supply (AESC), as well as the battery manufacturing facilities in Smyrna, Tennessee and Sunderland, England, and the company’s battery development and production engineering operations in Japan.

“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,” said Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan. “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.”

2013 Nissan Leaf

GSR Capital, a leading private investment fund with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Palo Alto, has stated intention to retain the workforce at all facilities, and to keep AESC headquarters and development centres in Japan. The firm focuses on investments in high growth sectors in electric vehicles, new energy, modern agriculture, healthcare and wireless technologies

“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 U.S., UK and Japan, and also establish new facilities in China and Europe, enabling us to better serve customers around the world,” said Sonny Wu, chairman of GSR Capital. 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.”

2013 Nissan Leaf

AESC was founded in 2007 to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries, and is currently owned by Nissan and minority partner NEC and its subsidiary NEC Energy Devices (NECED). Nissan will begin the changeover in ownership by acquiring the 49% of shares owned by NEC and its subsidiary with NEC’s approval, which is also in negotiations to sell NECED to GSR Capital (on which the Nissan/GSR Capital deal is contingent).

No financial terms were disclosed in the deals, which are all expected to be completed by the end of the year, pending all the consultations and regulatory approvals from all the various bodies.