This could be the first indigenous Lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in India, if Exide's plan materialises.
Storage battery major Exide Industries is exploring all the possible options to get into cell manufacturing for lithium-ion batteries. For this new venture, the company is awaiting fine print and details of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme as the government has recently approved the scheme for manufacturing advanced chemistry cell (ACC) battery in the country.
This could be the first indigenous Lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in India, if Exide’s plan materialises.
The company is “seriously” exploring the option of getting into Lithium-ion cell manufacturing project, and is evaluating the possibility of participating in the PLI programme of the government of India, MD & CEO Subir Chakraborty said while answering shareholders’ queries at the company’s 74th AGM on Tuesday.
Later, talking to reporters during a virtual press meet, Chakraborty said, “The government has announced its intent to float the PLI scheme for cell manufacturing in the country. We were previously considering and evaluating the prospects of cell manufacturing in India. We are right now exploring all the possible options. As you are also aware the PLI scheme has not yet been floated for batteries, as and when it is floated, we will take a keen look at it and evaluate that whether we will go forward on that or not.”
Notably, the government in May this year approved the PLI scheme for manufacturing advanced chemistry cell (ACC) battery for achieving the manufacturing capacity of 50 giga watt hour (GWh) of ACC and 5 GWh of “Niche” ACC with an estimated outlay of `18,100 crore. ACCs are essentially lithium-ion cells, essential for developing electric vehicles and power storage.
According to Chakraborty, the ballpark figure for minimum investment needed for cell manufacturing facility for lithium-ion batteries is around $100 million (Rs 700 crore) for per giga watt hour (GWh).
Eyeing India’s electric vehicle (EV) market, Exide had formed a joint venture with Switzerland-based Leclanché SA in June, 2018. Lithium-ion battery module and packing facility of the JV company, Exide Leclanche Energy, is in Gujarat. It is a 1.5 GWh facility.
Exide Industries invested around Rs 192 crore up to March 31, 2021, in the Gujarat facility. This fiscal, the company has invested Rs 40 crore more in this facility. Equity shareholding of Exide in the JV company stands at 82.71% of the total paid-up share capital in April.
“In our opinion, the Gujarat plant is the most modern module and packing facility in our country. It is very flexible and diversified unit. We have more than 100 OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and utility companies, who have shown keen interests even during the pandemic,” Chakraborty said during the press meet. “Due to the first and second Covid waves there has been delay in the setting up and functioning of the facility. Currently, the plant is not 100% functioning. We expect the plant to be functioning fully by the end of this fiscal.”
Exide reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 31.81 crore for the first quarter this fiscal, as against a net loss of Rs 13.56 crore in the same period of the last fiscal. Revenue from operations rose to `3,542.63 crore during the quarter from Rs 2,526.11 crore in the first quarter of FY21.