Major battery maker files bankruptcy petition

News Story
- 13 Jun 2013 ( #620 ) - Milton, GA, United States
2 min read
The US operation of Exide Technologies filed a voluntary petition on 10 June for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.

The manufacturer and recycler of lead-acid batteries says it plans to continue to operate globally without interruption during the restructuring.

For the fiscal year ended 31 March 2012, Exide had sales of USD3.08 billion, of which motive power applications accounted for USD667.5 million, according to the company.

Exide's motive power batteries are used in the materials handling industry for electric forklifts and in other industries for floor cleaning machinery, powered wheelchair, railroad locomotive, mining and electric road vehicle applications. Technologies for those uses include flooded flat plate products, tubular plate products, absorbed glass mat products and gel electrolyte products.

A highly leveraged balance sheet, what Exide calls "unprecedented increases in our product costs" and the mandated closing of a California recycling facility have hindered operations.

Exide says its primary motive power customers in the Americas include Hyster-Yale, Toyota and Target and in Europe, Toyota, KION Group and Jungheinrich.

An early 2010 move negatively impacted Exide's business. Giant retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc moved its battery business to Johnson Controls Inc.

Other Exide motive power battery competitors include EnerSys Inc globally; East Penn Manufacturing Co Inc and Crown Battery Inc in the Americas; Hoppecke Batterien GmbH & Co KG and Midac Batteries SpA in Europe; and GS Yuasa Corp and Hitachi Chemical Co Ltd subsidiary Shin-Kobe in Asia.

On 24 April, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control mandated the closing of an Exide secondary lead recycling facility in Vernon, California. The agency alleges that the plant's underground storm water system is not in compliance with state requirements and the facility's furnace emissions fail to meet health risk standards.
The Vernon facility had provided a significant portion of the company's domestic lead requirements.

Other Exide sites for secondary lead recycling in the US are located in Cannon Hollow, Missouri; Muncie, Indiana; and Reading, Pennsylvania. An environmental clean-up is under way at a former Exide battery recycling site in Frisco, Texas.

Publicly traded Exide is based in Milton near Alpharetta, Georgia.

Exide has named Robert M Caruso as chief restructuring officer. He is a managing director of New York-based Alvarez & Marsal LLC.
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