Saft To Build Lithium-Ion Battery Factory in Jacksonville, Florida

Following receipt of a $95 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and successful negotiations between Saft, the state of Florida, and the city of Jacksonville, construction will soon begin in Jacksonville for the lithium-ion (Li-ion) factory of the future.

The total estimated cost of the project is around $200 million, and it will bring roughly 279 jobs to the area during the next six years.

"Florida is stepping onto the world stage as a major marketplace for advanced energy technologies," said Governor Charlie Crist. "We are excited about Saft establishing their lithium-ion factory in Florida, and we look forward to their being a part of Florida’s renewable energy future."

To be located at Cecil Commerce Center, Saft’s new facility will be a high-volume manufacturing plant building advanced Li-ion cells and batteries for electric vehicles, military hybrid vehicles, aviation, smart grid support, broadband back-up power and energy storage for renewable energy.

"The City of Jacksonville looks forward to having Saft America, Inc. as a strong community partner at Cecil and is eager to see their development of lithium-ion cells and batteries that will help address the nation’s energy needs," said Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. "This truly was a collaborative effort with local, state and federal officials working together to attract this international company to Jacksonville and I greatly appreciate all of the hard work to strengthen Jacksonville’s position as the ideal location for their battery plant."

Construction is scheduled to commence within the next few months and be completed before the end of 2010. The presence of this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility ensures that competitive battery solutions will be imminently available to the U.S. and world markets from the Jacksonville facility.

"We extend our thanks to the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, the Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership and Enterprise Florida for their dedication to bringing this project to fruition. Through this partnership between Saft, the city of Jacksonville, and the state of Florida, we are going to build an advanced factory of the future and bring many high-technology jobs to Jacksonville," said Thomas Alcide, president of Saft America, Inc.

Saft (Euronext: Saft) is a world specialist in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry. Saft batteries are used in high performance applications, such as industrial infrastructure and processes, transportation, space and defense.

Saft is the world’s leading manufacturer of nickel-cadmium batteries for industrial applications and of primary lithium batteries for a wide range of end markets. The group is also the European leader for specialized advanced technologies for the defense and space industries. With approximately 4,000 employees worldwide, Saft is present in 18 countries. Its 15 manufacturing sites and extensive sales network enable the group to serve its customers worldwide. Saft is listed in the SBF 120 index on the Paris Stock Market.