Exide Industries invests $100m in Haldia plant expansion


Indian lead battery manufacturer Exide Industries opened a $100 million assembly facility at its Haldia plant in West Bengal on January 2. The company will also spend $44 million over a period of 18 months from April to make motorcycle batteries at the plant.

Part of the aim of the upgrade is to automate production and Exide will introduce punched grid technology from East Penn Manufacturing in the assembly process.

“The new punched grid technology, as opposed to the older expanded metal technology, will catapult the industry to a new height in terms of product reliability and customer satisfaction,” said Gautam Chatterjee, Exide’s CEO.

He said Exide was the first battery manufacturer in India to use East Penn’s technology, which is carried out by robots to eliminate inconsistencies between different units of batteries. The technology also increases battery life by 20%, he said. These batteries will be sold at a premium under a new sub-brand.

“The first phase of the project will be completed by the fourth quarter of this year,” Chatterjee said. “We are taking the human skill out of the manufacturing process and not leaving anything to chance.”

Exide Industries has nine factories in India, and the expansion will increase its annual production of around 34 million automobile batteries by 15 million batteries, the firm said.

The company has also invested $18 million in a smelting plant on the same site, for which the state has agreed to allocate 25 acres of land.

The developments came as Exide was preparing its last quarter results of 2016, with unaudited accounts showing a 12% increase in profits year on year.