AAA weekly

2020-03-02

Lead-acid Battery Business in ASEAN, Hitachi Chemical Restructures Thai Operations

In ASEAN, automobile lead-acid battery manufacturers, the majority of them Japanese companies, are working to expand sales for both automakers and aftersales services, primarily due to the increase in automobile and motorcycle ownership. While capacity expansion is limited to a few companies, suppliers are working to secure profits by expanding exports of repair batteries to neighboring countries and increasing sales of high value-added products such as batteries for idling-stop vehicles. GS Yuasa, the largest player in the ASEAN lead-acid battery market, is working to increase production capacity in Thailand and launch a new company in Myanmar. The company has invested 10.14 million US dollars in Siam GS Battery Myanmar, a subsidiary in Myanmar, and started operating a charging plant and began sales in May 2019.

Hitachi Chemical is restructuring its lead-acid storage battery business in Thailand. Hitachi Chemical manufactures lead-acid storage batteries at two companies, Hitachi Chemical Storage Battery (Thailand) (HCBT), acquired in 2017, and Hitachi Chemical Asia (Thailand) (HCTD). However, Hitachi Chemical will spin off the lead-acid battery business of HCTD, launching a new company, Hitachi Chemical Gateway Battery (Thailand), in April 2020. The new company is envisioning integration with HCBT in the future to improve management efficiency by consolidating operations. However, depending on the progress of Showa Denko’s acquisition plan for Hitachi Chemical announced in December 2019, there is a possibility that the undertaking may be revised.

(SUZUKI Kohei)