Morgan Crucible buys Chinese graphite business

Carbon and ceramic components group Morgan Crucible Company plc has acquired a Chinese graphite supplier, Changsha Hairong New Materials, for 64m RMB (£6.15m) in cash. The company has been renamed Morgan AM&T Hairong.

Morgan Crucible says it is a recognised technical leader in the production of graphite materials for anodes used in lithium ion batteries for portable electronics and electric vehicles. Revenues of the business are forecast at more than £5m in 2011 at mid-teen operating profit margins.

The acquisition was from Hunan Caixin Venture Investment, a local Chinese government entity, three individual investors and two senior managers. It was made by Shanghai Morgan Carbon, a joint venture in which Morgan Crucible has a 70% stake, with the rest controlled by a subsidiary of the Shanghai Electric Group.

Morgan Crucible CEO Mark Robertshaw said the group had been developing advanced anode material technology for the lithium ion market.

‘The addition of Hairong to the Morgan Group fits with our strategic priorities and brings with it the opportunity to benefit from China’s expanding demand for electric vehicles and energy storage.

‘Hairong has established itself as the leading supplier of high performance anode materials to the major lithium ion battery companies in China that serve these burgeoning new markets.’