Related Links

Related Stories


Johnson Matthey to acquire battery materials business from Clariant

Swiss specialty chemicals giant Clariant has agreed to divest its Business Line Energy Storage to UK-based Johnson Matthey, which will further strengthen JM’s Battery Technologies business. Clariant’s Energy Storage unit is a leading supplier of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material to the lithium-ion battery sector for both automotive and non-automotive applications.

Clariant divests Energy Storage business

Johnson Matthey has entered into an agreement to acquire the battery materials business of Clariant for US$75 million, with the deal expected to complete early in 2015.

The Energy Storage business of Clariant is the world’s largest producer of hydrothermal lithium iron phosphate (LFP), which is used in lithium-ion cathodes for electric vehicles and stationary battery applications. In 2013 the business, which employs around 100 people, had sales of some CHF16 million (US$17 million), but made an operating loss.

Manufacturing, R&D, intellectual property

The transaction covers all of the assets of Clariant’s Energy Storage business, including its Canadian manufacturing facility in Candiac, Quebec, an R&D centre and pilot plant in Moosburg, Germany, together with the customer order book and a substantial intellectual property (IP) portfolio.

As part of the transaction, Johnson Matthey (JM) will gain rights to basic patents on LFP and its use as a cathode material, as well as a number of other important patents relating to LFP. In addition, JM is acquiring an IP portfolio covering current and future battery materials from Clariant and a well established R&D group.

JM strengthens Battery Technologies business

The combination of Clariant’s Canadian manufacturing operations with the Chinese facility that Johnson Matthey acquired from A123 Systems in September, will allow JM to optimise its LFP manufacturing capacity to best meet its customers’ needs.

Following completion, these two battery materials acquisitions will be integrated into a single entity, Johnson Matthey Battery Materials. JM says that this will give it freedom to operate within the field of LFP cathode materials to supply to an established base of customers in a market with strong growth potential.

The latest transaction will accelerate product development by combining the expertise within Clariant’s battery materials R&D team with the depth and strength in advanced materials within the Johnson Matthey group.

This will support JM’s strategy to develop a broad portfolio of current and future generation battery materials for a range of high-performance applications, in particular automotive.

The acquisition... provides us with a strong position in LFP from which to develop a broad portfolio of battery materials
Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey

Combining expertise to grow sales

Johnson Matthey Battery Technologies will combine expertise in applications engineering, materials science, and electrochemistry to provide a unique offering to the growing Li-ion cell industry.

The Battery Technologies business is expected to deliver sales in excess of £100 million ($161 million) in 2015/16 and break even (excluding integration costs) in that year, then contribute good growth in operating profit thereafter.

Developing a broad portfolio of battery materials

‘The acquisition of Clariant’s battery materials business provides us with a strong position in LFP from which to develop a broad portfolio of battery materials,’ says Robert MacLeod, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey. ‘It enhances our Battery Technologies business, complementing our recently acquired battery materials manufacturing assets and our expertise in battery systems.’

He continues: ‘These, together with our continued investment in battery materials R&D, will support our work to develop the next generation of higher-performance products that can meet the challenging energy storage requirements of batteries for the automotive sector.’

Lithium iron phosphate

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is an important Li-ion cathode material which offers both high power density and long cell cycle life.

LFP is one of the safest of all Li-ion chemistries, since it is resistant to thermal runaway. These features make it the best chemistry for use in high-power applications such as mild hybrid vehicles in both automotive and heavy-duty sectors.

Share this article

More services


This article is featured in:
Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Policy, investment and markets