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On Wednesday, Johnson Controls (JC) took legal action in the Delaware Chancery Court to dissolve the Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture. Formed back in 2006, JC's joint venture with Saft focuses solely on developing and manufacturing lithium-ion motive battery solutions.

Alex Molinaroli, president of JC's power solutions division, states that:
Johnson Controls and Saft have a fundamental disagreement about the future direction and appropriate scope of the joint venture. The industry is evolving rapidly and the investments needed to achieve market leadership require us to do more than the joint venture has done or can do.
JC believes that as powertrain technologies continue to evolve, the company must have access to multiple alternative technologies and be able to rapidly respond to changes in the energy storage space. Molinaroli says that, "This action reaffirms our strategic commitment to the advanced battery industry."

France-based Saft says that it will oppose JC's legal action aimed at ending the joint venture, stating that "it sees no legitimate grounds for the dissolution."

The legal filing will not alter Johnson Controls-Saft's current contracts nor will it affect existing production orders.

[Source: Johnson Controls]
Show full PR text
Johnson Controls Moves to Dissolve Advanced Battery Joint Venture With Saft
The company takes action to strengthen its commitment to advanced batteries


MILWAUKEE, May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson Controls, Inc., (NYSE: JCI) today took legal action in the Delaware Chancery Court to dissolve the Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture. The joint venture was formed in 2006 to develop and manufacture lithium-ion motive battery solutions.

"Johnson Controls and Saft have a fundamental disagreement about the future direction and appropriate scope of the joint venture," said Alex Molinaroli, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "The industry is evolving rapidly and the investments needed to achieve market leadership require us to do more than the joint venture has done or can do."

Johnson Controls believes that as vehicle power train technologies continue to evolve and new markets emerge for advanced batteries, the company must have access to multiple alternative technologies and be able to flexibly participate more broadly across the energy storage space.

"This action reaffirms our strategic commitment to the advanced battery industry," said Molinaroli.

Today's filing does not affect Johnson Controls-Saft's current contracts, production orders or program launches.

"We are confident we will continue to provide our customers with quality products that meet and exceed their needs. Our commitment to our customers and this market is not changed. All of this activity reflects our long-term commitment to be a leader in the advanced battery space," said Molinaroli.

About Johnson Controls:

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 142,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; automotive batteries; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2011, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #1 company in its annual "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list. For additional information, please visit http://www.johnsoncontrols.com.

About Johnson Controls Power Solutions:

Johnson Controls Power Solutions is the global leader in lead-acid starter batteries and advanced lead-acid batteries for Start-Stop vehicles. Our 35 manufacturing facilities supply more than one third of the world's lead-acid batteries to major auto makers and aftermarket retailers. Through our innovations we are building the advanced battery industry for more fuel efficient and sustainable vehicles. Our commitment to sustainability is evidenced by our world-class technology, manufacturing and recycling capabilities.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      Spec
      • 6 Months Ago
      If JC was smart, they'd bail on Saft and buy out Ener1 that is struggling and has had its stock crash recently. Perhaps that is what this is about, maybe JC will buy Ener1 (HEV).
      Naturenut99
      • 6 Months Ago
      I like JC's reasoning.... They want to be more aggressive and agile. They want to be strong in the market not a "was in the market."
        Nick
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Naturenut99
        Let's not blindly believe every press release. We don't know what's going on. It may be that JC believe battery tech could be 10x more lucrative than they thought, and want to cut off Saft to reap a higher profit in the future. It could be for many other reasons than the vague one stated.
      Roy_H
      • 6 Months Ago
      Well, here is my WAG. I think JC has a binding agreement to use Saft batteries, and they are just not good enough. JC must break the agreement to buy batteries from more technically advanced companies. Saft wants to hang on to its captive customer, if Saft had many customers eager to buy its products it wouldn't care about loosing JC. There is no way JC would consider buying an other also-ran Enerdel.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 6 Months Ago
      saft is one of the many companies who think they should get ridiculous payment for their product. JC should have known that