KION Group and BMZ Holding to launch joint venture for lithium-ion batteries
Leading global provider of intralogistics solutions and a European market leader for lithium-ion battery system solutions forge strategic alliance, with each to hold a 50% stake in the joint venture: KION Battery Systems.
KION Group AG, a leading global provider of intralogistics solutions, will join forces with BMZ Holding GmbH to form a joint venture under the name of KION Battery Systems GmbH.
This joint venture will manufacture lithium-ion batteries for industrial trucks in the EMEA region. The two companies now signed an agreement to this effect. KION GROUP AG and BMZ Holding GmbH will each hold a 50% stake in the joint venture (JV). The objective of the JV is to broaden the lithium-ion product offering and to increase production capacity to best serve the rapidly growing demand for lithium-ion battery systems in the intralogistics market.
The production facility for the joint venture is built by BMZ Holding GmbH in Karlstein am Main, the headquarters of the BMZ Group. By 2023, the workforce of the JV is expected to grow to around 80 employees working in mainly research, development and production functions.
Both KION and BMZ have world-leading know-how in the field of lithium-ion technology. Initially, the new JV will focus on the production of 48-volt and 80-volt batteries for counterbalance trucks. Soon, the offering will be expanded to 24-volt batteries for smaller warehouse trucks.
“This alliance will boost our role in the lithium-ion battery segment and will put the KION Group – and, by extension, all of the KION brand companies – in an even stronger competitive position,” explains Gordon Riske, Chief Executive Officer of KION GROUP AG. “The cooperation with BMZ Group will enable us to effectively meet the steadily growing demand for advanced lithium-ion batteries and to ensure highest reliability of supply for our customers.”
Sven Bauer, founder and CEO of BMZ Holding, also confirms the great potential of this collaboration: “KION has been a highly valued partner and customer of ours for a long time. Our two companies have been fostering a strategic and operational business relationship for many years. The technology of BMZ Group and its 25 years of industry experience form a great basis on which the joint venture can build its future success and deliver benefits for both founding companies.”
According to Bauer, direct access to proprietary test labs and development teams as well as strategic, cost-optimized product developments will be key to the success of the joint venture.
The new business will be jointly managed by the KION Group and BMZ Holding. KION’s Carsten Harnisch and Christian Hasenstab from BMZ will be appointed as managing directors of KION Battery Systems GmbH. Likewise, each founding company will appoint two members of the four-person shareholders’ committee. The joint venture will be fully consolidated by KION GROUP AG.
Strategic focus and energy
In its KION 2027 strategy, the KION Group is also placing particular emphasis on providing all relevant energy solutions at highest energy efficiency, as this is one of the key value drivers in intralogistics and material flows. The Group’s global research and development activities focus on key drive technologies for the future. The product portfolios of KION’s brands already provide keydrive technologies, from internal combustion engines to lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries as well as fuel cells. Electric drive systems are of particular importance as KION’s brands are the leading provider of electric-powered forklift and warehouse trucks. Across its brands, the Group has sold more than one million electric trucks in the past ten years.
Last year, electric trucks accounted for about 80% of unit sales – and the share continues to increase. Lithium-ion batteries offer a particular advantage for use in electric vehicles: For example, in contrast to traditional lead-acid batteries, there is no need to swap batteries, because lithium-ion technology supports rapid charging and opportunity charging. There have also been huge advances in the technological development of lithium-ion batteries. They are already a very attractive and cost-effective option in all areas where industrial trucks are used, especially where facilities operate an intensive shift schedule. The batteries are suitable even for heavy-duty trucks that carry substantial loads.
The BMZ Group is a global player in the production of lithium-ion system solutions and was founded by its CEO Sven Bauer 25 years ago. The group operates research and development facilities at various locations around the world. It employs around 3,000 staff at its locations in the US, Germany, Poland, France, Japan and China, creating a global service network to ensure that customers can access local support quickly and easily. The BMZ Group has been growing steadily at an average rate of around 25-30 percent in recent years and has become a European market leader in battery production.
Its supply portfolio covers a wide range of products that include, for example, electric vehicles, e-bike batteries, drive system solutions, power tools, gardening tools, medical services, and industrial battery solutions. The BMZ Group is a single-source provider that offers an end-to-end service – from the development and prototyping stages and testing in its proprietary test lab (including certifications) to complex assembly-line planning for the volume production setup. In addition, customers of BMZ benefit from one of the market’s quickest and most innovative service concepts, extensive recycling solutions and ‘2nd life’ applications.