DETROIT -- Johnson Controls Inc. said it has reached an agreement with French company Saft Groupe SA to end their battery making joint venture, Johnson Controls-Saft. The U.S.-based supplier will buy out Saft and retain control of most of the operations.
JCI announced in May that it was taking steps to end the joint venture, but Saft had said it would fight the move. In an announcement Friday, the companies said JCI will now pay Saft $145 million to acquire its shares in the venture, which also includes an up-front royalty payment to Saft for some of its lithium-ion battery technology.
The deal is expected to close by the end of September.
Saft will retain a battery plant in Nersac, France, but JCI will take over all other operations, including a new facility now under construction in the U.S. state of Michigan, which will produce batteries and packs for the auto industry.
The move will strengthen Johnson Controls' strategic commitment to the battery industry, said Alex Molinari, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions.
JCI already was a producer of traditional auto batteries in addition to new manufacturing in lithium-ion systems.
JCI ranks No.7 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $16.6 billion in 2010. Europe accounted for 49 percent of that total.