Leclanché’s dual strategy for growth

The massive Leclanché battery order for Hecate Canada Storage II in Ontario is just one of the signs that its targeting of the stationary energy storage and electric vehicle markets is paying off. Photo Credit: De Lijn

The massive Leclanché battery order for Hecate Canada Storage II in Ontario is just one of the signs that its targeting of the stationary energy storage and electric vehicle markets is paying off. Photo Credit: De Lijn

By Jason Deign

The world’s oldest battery company isn’t clinging to the past. Leclanché, of Switzerland, is betting on its two newest lines of business for future growth, said Jacques Boppe, the company’s vice president of corporate development.

“Stationary storage is a growth business and transportation is a growth market,” said Boppe.

Both areas were given separate business unit status in January 2015 as part of a turnaround plan that saw Anil Srivastava, the former boss of Areva Renewables, taking the helm of the company in June 2014.

The turnaround followed financial troubles that resulted in Leclanché’s German subsidiary needing a €5m bailout from the Bruellan Corporate Governance Action Fund in 2012.

Boppe said Leclanché is expecting both business units to blossom while it continues to serve its legacy business, creating and distributing custom battery systems for specialist customers such as the Swiss Army, from a third unit.
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Battery boss questions current market focus

Industry focus should be on hybrid energy storage systems, says Anil Srivastava of Leclanché at Energy Storage Europe.

Industry focus should be on hybrid energy storage systems, says Anil Srivastava of Leclanché at Energy Storage Europe. Photo credit: Leclanché

Energy storage’s current focus on the advantages of different technologies is potentially wrong, according to the head of one of Europe’s top battery companies. Anil Srivastava, chief executive of Leclanché, says that instead of debating the merits of individual storage technologies the industry needs to adopt a multiple-technology approach that consolidates the strengths of different options into hybrid systems.

This plea is expected to be the centrepiece of Srivastava’s keynote speech at the Energy Storage Europe conference in Düsseldorft next month.

“Different storage applications often require different capabilities,” says Srivastava. “While some areas of application need high output and quick reaction, others demand inexpensive storage technologies with a high capacity.

“Frequently these various features need to be combined seamlessly with each other. These days, many people are on the lookout for a kind of miracle system that fulfils all their requirements equally as well.”

Until such a concept exists, Srivastava argues, batteries, for example, will continue to be used in devices to which they are not ideally suited, which will lead to oversized storage systems or reduced service lifespans.
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Leclanché obtains €5m bailout loan

Swiss lithium-ion battery producer Leclanché has announced that its German subsidiary, Leclanché GmbH, has obtained a €5 million (USD$6.5 million) bridging loan from the Bruellan Corporate Governance Action Fund, to cover its short-term funding needs. The loan expires in March 2013 and is secured with assets of Leclanché GmbH.

Both parties have agreed that following a capital increase to raise further funds for Leclanché SA, Bruellan has the right to convert the loan into shares of Leclanché.