Exide Industries JV partner prepares for debt restructuring

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The Swiss lithium-ion battery maker which has partnered with Exide Industries to manufacture products in India, has prepared the ground for its chief shareholder to reduce its debt pile in exchange for greater control of the 109-year-old company.

Leclanché 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 battery manufacture through its JV with Exide and in Indian bus battery packs, alongside Sun Mobility; as well as in EV batteries with Skoda Europe and 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 (Rs388 crore) 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.