Written by Andreas Fritz
• Production capacity for lithium-ion batteries to be expanded to 200 million cells per year by the end of 2021
• Latest innovation offering higher energy density and improved cycle stability is just around the corner
• Around 600 new jobs to be created in Germany
• Additional investment requirement secured thanks to cash flow and credit line
The VARTA AG Group, technology and innovation leader in rechargeable lithium-ion cells for high-tech consumer products, notably for true wireless headsets, continues to grow at great speed. This is driven by sustained high customer demand for lithium-ion batteries in a market experiencing annual growth of around 30 percent.
The Executive Board of VARTA AG has therefore decided to significantly expand production capacity once again, and more quickly than originally intended. Following last year’s plans to increase production capacity to over 150 million cells per year from 2022, VARTA AG will now expand its capacity to 200 million cells per year, with implementation scheduled for the end of 2021. As early as mid-2020, the company will be able to produce at least 100 million cells per year.
The next step in innovation is also just around the corner: later this year VARTA AG will present a lithium-ion cell that offers a 15 per cent higher energy density combined with improved cycle stability. In this way, the company continues to set the industry standard with its innovations and cements its leadership in technology.
Herbert Schein, CEO of VARTA AG, says: “Our future clearly lies especially in the field of lithium-ion technology. Here, as an innovation leader, we set the industry standards. This has allowed us to gain unique competitive advantages, which we safeguard through patents and rapid advances in innovation. With the accelerated expansion of our production capacities announced today, we are not only continuing to build on our strong market position, but are also creating further 600 new jobs in our region.”
Strong cash flow enables major investments
The capacity expansion requires an additional investment volume of around EUR 125 million (for additional 50 million cells per year). The investment volume will be financed using the cash flow from operating activities, advance payments from customers and, in the medium term, the attractive cash flow of the newly acquired VARTA Consumer business. In addition, the Group can draw on a revolving credit line of EUR 80 million.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Steffen Munz adds: “We continue to record extremely high order volumes. Our very healthy balance sheet allows us to continue investing heavily, and our solid and rising cash flow will also play its part.”
600 new jobs will be created in Germany
The investments will be made at the two main production sites for lithium-ion cells in Germany, in Ellwangen and Nördlingen. At the Ellwangen site, alongside lithium-ion cell production, a new production facility will significantly expand our electrode production. At the Nördlingen site, lithium-ion cell production will also be increased by establishing a new production facility adjacent to the existing plant.
With its high level of investment in the further expansion of production capacity for lithium-ion batteries, the VARTA AG Group will create around 600 additional jobs in this area.
About VARTA AG
VARTA AG produces and markets a comprehensive battery portfolio, ranging from microbatteries, household batteries, energy storage systems to customer-specific battery solutions for a wide range of applications, and, as a technology leader, sets industry standards in key areas. As the parent company of the Group, it operates in the business segments “Microbatteries & Solutions” and “Household Batteries”.
The “Microbatteries & Solutions” segment focuses on the OEM business for microbatteries as well as on the lithium-ion battery pack business. Through intensive research and development, VARTA sets global standards in the microbattery sector and is a recognized innovation leader in the important growth markets of lithium-ion technology and primary hearing aid batteries. The “Household Batteries” segment comprises the battery business for end customers, including household batteries, rechargeable batteries, chargers, portable power (power banks) and lights as well as energy storage devices. The VARTA AG Group currently employs almost 4,000 people. With five production and manufacturing facilities in Europe and Asia, and distribution centers in Asia, Europe and the USA, VARTA AG’s operating subsidiaries are currently active in over 75 countries worldwide.
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