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Whither Exide

All the past problems of Exide are reflected in the current financial condition of this company which has brought Exides stock price from a high of over $50 a share in 1994 to its current value of under $1.00 a share. After the rebuilding of credibility with Bob Lutz and the addition of GNB, the overwhelming debt of $424 million over the last five years continues to plague the companys restructuring efforts. Now under the guidance of Craig Mulhauser, Exide seeks to find new sources of financing, asset sales and restructuring initiatives. Exides worldwide presence and leading Lead-acid product status make some form of improvement in business operations desirable. Improvements may require breaking up parts of this behemoth.(07-02BD76-12)

The Battery Man
March 2002, pp. 18-23
Fall of the House of Hawkins

Exides problems are delineated from the expansion strategies of Arthur Hawkins into the repair strategies of Bob Lutz. Without focusing on the illegal activities of Hawkins, the author who has no commitment to Exide proposes a simple solution which includes a good product, low manufacturing costs, a solid customer base and little debt. While this might produce a high score answer in an Econ./B School 101 class, the huge impact of Hawkins illegalities and the demise of many business caps post 2000, which also included Exides business, were not considered.

The Battery Man
March 2002, p. 52

Cullen Reports(07-02BD76-4-8)

Exides former president, Arthur Hawkins and former vice president, Alan Gauthier plead guilty to charges of fraud. The former executives were convicted in June of scheming to sell defective batteries to Sears in 1997.

Exide celebrated good news when Ford Motor Company recently selected them to supply 12- Volt batteries for the new Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle. In this fuel cell vehicle the battery will absorb extra energy generated by the fuel cell and use it to power the vehicles many electronic features, power steering and other accessories.(07-02BD76-3)


Auto supplier profits solid on strong demand

Johnson Controls reported profits rising by 16% to $115 million in its second quarter. They raised the current-year outlook for its automotive business. Sales growth for the Controls unit was cut, causing a drop in stock price of $1.06 after reaching a 52 week high of $93.20.

Johnson Controls Financial News Release
April 2002


Johnson Controls (JCI) is named one of Fords best global suppliers. JCI also received the Market Engineering Leadership Award from Frost & Sullivan. Frost & Sullivan reported on JCIs leadership in the Pan-European market with 8.7 percent of the total revenue share compared with nearest rivals which account for less than five percent.

On another positive note, JCI, which garners about three-quarters of its sales from its growing automobile systems operations, said stronger demand on car and light trucks in the U.S. has improved its outlook for business. The Company said that its fiscal second quarter profit rose 16 percent on strength in demand for automobile interior systems and batteries.(06-02 BD75-6-7)


EnerSys Inc. acquires Energy Storage Products Group of INVENSYS plc. John D. Craig, Chairman, President and CEO of EnerSys, said, Our expanded product portfolio will continue to serve two main markets; Motive Power, serving the OEM and aftermarket material handling, railway and mining markets through the Exide, General and Hawker line of products; and Reserve Power, serving utilities, uninterruptible power supply, telecommunications, data communications and internet markets through our Powersafe, Datasafe and Genesis line of products.(05-02 BD74-7)


Gel Electrolyte

Can the SLA Battery Compete in Modern Times?
Two types of sealed Lead-acid batteries have emerged: the sealed Lead-acid (Gelcell) and the Valve Regulated (VRLA). This article focuses on the sealed type. Its benefits include low self discharge, of about 10% per year, and low cost. Its shortcomings include a relatively short cycle life of 200-300 cycles. Its proper charging algorithm should have a constant current first stage, a constant Voltage topping charge and a float charge to compensate for self discharge.(03-02 BD72-12)

The Battery Man
January 2002, pp. 38-41




Sulfuric Acid: Pumping up the Volume

This article is a concise history of sulfuric acid from the suggestion that it was known in the 10th century to the firm knowledge of how to prepare it in the late 15th century. Crude processes evolved through the 18th century when it was discovered that glass holding containers could be replaced with lead boxes. This lead cathedral construction reached chamber sizes of 10 x 10 x 12 feet with 100 chambers in a facility. Sulfuric acid was used for making dyes, hydrochloric acid, nitric acid and cloth bleaching. In 1827 Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac built a tower which recovered the nitrogen oxide gasses reducing the consumption of saltpeter. A later contact process allowed for higher concentration, and finally catalytic processes developed. Today, sulfuric acid is the most widely produced industrial chemical worldwide.

Todays Chemist at Work
September 2001, pp. 57-58


Valve Regulated

Question:Is it true that a lot of investigative work is being done to control / influence the oxygen recombination in a VRLA battery?(07-02BD76-13)

Panasonic MSE Battery Business Unit delivers valve-regulated Lead-acid (VRLA) batteries with guaranteed life span. The Company says it is the only company backing up the reliability of its standby telecom batteries with a 10-year full warranty. (12-01 BD69-11)

Valve Regulated (VRLA) World News and Portals

GNB Industrial Power expands UPS battery product offering. Production has begun on its new Springer S12V285, a 12 Volt monobloc battery with capacity of 285 Watts per cell. This valve-regulated stationary battery was developed for the segment of the Uninterruptible Power Supply market that provides products for medium and large power systems. (05-02 BD74-8)


Matshushita Battery Industrial Co., Ltd./Panasonic receives Product of the Year Award from Frost & Sullivan. The Market Engineering Product Line Strategy Award was given in recognition of the development and introduction of Panasonics MSE valve regulated Lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. Frost & Sullivan honored Panasonic for being the first company to introduce and deliver a reliable VRLA battery that is guaranteed to provide high-quality backup power for telecommunications systems worldwide. Panasonics batteries are backed by an industry-leading warranty of 10 years.(05-02 BD74-8)

 The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) says the conversion to 42/36-Volt automotive electrical systems will boost lead industry fortunes by 33 percent. Reporting to the Battery Council International Convention in Orlando in mid-April, Dr. Patrick Moseley, program manager for ALABC, said, The lead industry has an unprecedented opportunity for substantial growth - not seen for decades as the auto industry switches to 42 Volt car electrical systems. The Lead-acid battery -the most cost effective storage system, will nearly double its lead content in order to meet the demand of its new role. By 2008, 2.25M tons of lead will be required for both electrical standards, which translates into a value of US$11 billion of batteries globally. The new automotive batteries are expected to use as much as 27 kg of lead per unit as opposed to 15 kg of lead in the existing generation of 12-Volt systems. This is based on usage in the first generation of batteries made by Japan Storage Battery and used in the Toyota Crown Automobile - the first vehicle to use the new electrical standard. By 2011, the total value of automotive 36 Volt batteries will outweigh what the market would have been worth had it continued with the 12 Volt standard by at least 8% or US$1 billion worth of batteries being produced, even though they will make up less than 50% of the car fleet. And by 2020, the contribution of 36-Volt systems will be US$23 billion. Contrast this with a figure of just US$14 billion if the market had remained at the 12 Volt standard, says Dr. Moseley. The news for lead producers is even better.

The amount of lead being used in total will increase by 33% to 4.3 billion tons by the same year. All of these predictions are based on conservative estimates of automobile registrations and independent battery studies by Arthur D. Little and Standard and Poors.

This will only happen if the potential of the VRLA battery is realized with continuation of current development work, Dr. Moseley concluded.

(Graph and data are courtesy of Gerry Woolf Associates -Email: [email protected]) (05-02 BD74-7)

 According to a June 2000 report by Standard and Poors, 42/36 Volt systems are expected to be found in approximately 13 million light duty vehicles, roughly 25 percent of the market by 2010. If these figures reach these proportions, the automotive battery industry will increase by $4 billion in the 10 year period from 2000 to 2010. When 10 percent of the vehicles in operation include HEV functions, the dollar value of the automotive battery business will triple. According to information from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), as automotive companies brace for the transition to 42V electrical systems to start with model year 2003, hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) may provide the greatest opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system. Keeping Pace with ALABC, Vol. 6, No. 2, 02/02

New Technology

Power Technology, Inc. demonstrates first prototypes of advanced Lead-acid battery. Prototype Lead-acid batteries using the metal foam electrode technology (See BD 67-9.) have been built by Power Technologies, Inc./BCResearch, Inc. for both motive and telecom applications. In a comparison with a 75 Ah battery built by Douglas Battery, the Power Technology Battery volume is 3800 cm3 compared to the Douglas 36,270 cm3, a 90% reduction. Weight is reduced from 21 kg to 12 kg, a 43% reduction. Performance characterization of the prototype battery is not available. (02-02 BD72-9)


East Penn Manufacturing Co. Inc. receives honor for best place to work in Pennsylvania. The company was listed as the Best Place to Work among manufacturing companies. East Penn also recently received the 2001 CARQUEST BWP Distributors Supplier of the Year award.(05-02 BD74-7)


Corporation Pipsa, S.A. de C.V. in Mexico wins suit against Johnson Controls. On March 18th, The Texas jury awarded $.6.3 million in actual damages, plus attorneys fees and prejudgment interest, and $15.5 million in punitive damages. Pipsa, which produces lead oxide for batteries, sued Johnson Controls and its subsidiaries Johnson Controls Battery Group Inc., and Global Energy Systems, alleging that the three America companies engaged Pipsa in fraudulent business negotiations dating back over seven years. In 1985, Johnson Controls and its subsidiaries promised Pipsa long-term supply contracts on the condition that Pipsa make substantial improvements to its lead smelter plant and battery oxide plant located in Monterey, Mexico. Pipsa spent approximately $6.5 million over the next several years making the plant enhancements specified by Johnson Controls. In 1998, Pipsa was informed that Johnson Controls Battery Group Inc. had entered into a joint venture agreement with Grupo IMSA, Pipsas competitor, and that the new joint venture entity would oversee operations at the Pipsa facilities.(05-02 BD74-6-7)


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