Cummins Buys Johnson Matthey’s U.K. Battery Operations

Cummins Inc. has acquired Johnson Matthey’s U.K. automotive battery systems business, a subsidiary of Johnson Matthey that specializes in high-voltage automotive grade battery systems for electric and hybrid vehicles. The deal was signed and closed Jan. 31. No financial details were provided.

As one of Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery system suppliers, Johnson Matthey’s battery systems business has 50 employees and is based in Milton Keynes.

As part of the acquisition, Cummins and Johnson Matthey also agreed to collaborate on the development of high energy battery materials for commercial heavy-duty applications.

“The addition of Johnson Matthey Battery Systems’ technical expertise and customer base in markets that are more rapidly adopting electrification further positions us as a global energy storage supplier,” said Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO of Cummins. “By combining our electrification capabilities, portfolio of diverse power solutions, and global network, Cummins is uniquely positioned to lead in electrification.

“What differentiates us is our ability to help customers succeed with high-quality products across the spectrum of power solutions they use, whether it’s electric, diesel, natural gas or other energy solutions.”

The acquisition of the automotive battery systems business is intended to allow Cummins to expand its electrification and energy storage capabilities. Johnson Matthey said it will be able to focus on developing high energy battery materials, including its enhanced lithium nickel oxide (eLNO) product, for transport applications within its overall technology portfolio.

The companies said they will collaborate on the development of new products with enhanced performance characteristics for commercial applications relying on the expertise of each organization.

“This collaboration with Cummins is an important step for us,” said Robert MacLeod, chief executive of Johnson Matthey. “It will enable us to grow our position in high energy battery materials, particularly for heavy duty applications, and apply our chemistry expertise to develop new products that will give our customers, and ultimately consumers, the performance they demand from electrically powered vehicles.

“In divesting our automotive battery systems business to Cummins we can focus on our strategy of expanding our eLNO platform and developing commercial battery materials for the full range of transport applications.”

This is the second battery-related acquisition Cummins has made in the last few months. In mid-October Cummins acquired Brammo of Talent, Ore., which designs and develops low-voltage battery packs for mobile and stationary applications. With the addition of Johnson Matthey Battery Systems high-voltage battery expertise, Cummins said it now has capability across the entire range of energy storage options.

Cummins said it will continue to explore other opportunities to add electrification capabilities as it prepares for delivery of electrified powertrains to customers in 2019.