Eveready close to acquiring European battery company

May 14th, 2009 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, May 14 (IANS) Dry cell batteries and flashlights manufacturers Eveready Industries India is close to acquiring Paris-based Uniross SA, a top official said over a conference call from Frankfurt.
Uniross, a 40 million-euro ($54-million) European leader in rechargeable batteries, is reported to be in deep financial trouble owing to the recession and hike in raw material prices.

Eveready, based here, Thursday signed a term sheet with CG Holding, which owns 70 percent in Uniross SA, to invest up to 10 million euros ($13.5 million) in an overseas joint venture, which in turn will pave the way for acquiring 80 percent stake in the French company.

“The existing promoters of the troubled company (Uniross), that is CG Holding, had approached us directly and they have now agreed to issue fresh shares to us, diluting thereby their holdings to 20 percent,” Deepak Khaitan, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Eveready said.

“We are putting in 6 million euros in the form of equity, which will give us 80 percent equity in the company (Uniross) and the rest in debt,” he added.

This deal will be Eveready’s first ever overseas acquisition. “We hope everything will be complete by end-June, but it may take little longer,” Khaitan said.

Once this deal is done, Eveready will tap overseas markets with Uniross brand while continuing with the Eveready in India.

Khaitan added: “The rechargeable battery business has been growing worldwide. Uniross has a number of technologies including that of Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Lithium Ion battery that does not require charging and can be used instantly and have great future.”

The company has manufacturing base in China and presence in Europe, South Africa and Hong Kong. “Besides, this acquisition would help us have a brand outside India,” he said.

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