Saft Breaks Ground on Lithium-Ion Battery Factory in Florida

Saft, world leader in the design and manufacture of high-tech batteries, celebrated the groundbreaking of its lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery manufacturing plant at Cecil Commerce Center in Jacksonville today. The factory will build advanced Li-ion cells and batteries for military hybrid electric vehicles, aviation, smart grid support, broadband back-up power and energy storage for renewable energy.

The high-volume factory, which is Saft’s 16th wholly-owned facility worldwide and 6th within the United States, will begin production during the second half of 2011, providing additional capacity needed to meet growing customer demand, particularly in renewable energy storage.

John Searle, Saft Group CEO and Thomas Alcide, Saft America president, symbolically dug up the turf on the 11-acre site. "I am very happy to announce that our latest facility is now under construction. Saft needs this additional capacity for advanced lithium-ion batteries to address our customers’ needs in the very near future. The demand for high-performance, new technology batteries from trusted manufacturers like Saft is increasing rapidly, particularly in emerging applications for energy storage," said John Searle.

"I am honored to join in welcoming Saft’s Li-ion battery manufacturing facility to the Cecil Commerce Center, which underscores that this is a good place to do business. In addition, as a member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, I recognize the contributions of these advanced rechargeable batteries in meeting our energy needs," said Representative Cliff Stearns.

"Jacksonville is delighted to begin breaking ground on such an important facility for our community and our nation," said Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. "Saft America’s presence at Cecil Commerce Center portends great things about our city’s future and we look forward to many years of continued partnership."

The new Saft facility will have a capacity of $300 million in annual sales when it is completed next year. Saft has contracted the Haskell Company to provide the design-build services for this project.

Saft has benefitted from a $95.5 million grant from the Department of Energy for this facility under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as incentives from the state of Florida and from the city of Jacksonville.

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 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 and world leader in lithium-ion satellite batteries. Saft is also delivering its lithium-ion technology to the emerging applications of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.

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.