Pinaco, the Vietnamese battery manufacturer, and Furukawa Battery, the Japanese lead-acid battery manufacturer, are to form a strategic partnership and an agreement to that effect should be signed by the end of the year. The agreement should last for five years.
Although Furukawa already owns 10.5% of Pinaco, the agreement will allow it a greater presence on the Pinaco board in exchange for more technical input. One member has already been appointed to the board, said Aki Hashimoto, corporate planning and strategy at Furukawa Battery.
Future projects could include the manufacturing of the UltraBattery, developed by Australia’s CSIRO and Furukawa Battery, before being commercialized by the East Penn subsidiary Ecoult.
“We will deepen and strengthen the relationship in aspects such as management, business and technologies. We have provided technical support to Pinaco since 2010. We will consider which areas we will focus on,” Hashimoto told BESB.
“We believe the demand for automotive batteries is increasing due to the growing availability of four-wheel cars in Vietnam and the need for eco-friendly cars like idling start-stop vehicles is increasing as well.”
Furukawa has operations in India, China, Indonesia and Thailand. In June it installed the first UltraBattery in Thailand for the wind power-generating firm Inter Far East Wind International (I-Wind), a project it described as “the starting point of our industrial storage battery business overseas”.
“We will consider which areas we will focus on and possibly expand the UltraBattery in the Vietnamese market depending on the local demands and requests from Pinaco,” Hashimoto said.
Pinaco makes motorbike and car batteries under the brand Dong Nai as well as dry cell batteries under the brand Con O.
Government figures in 2016 showed there were 45 million registered motorbikes in Vietnam, which has a population of 92 million.
Tariffs on car imports from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will be lifted entirely in 2018, and Vietnam’s car market is expected to grow at 20% annually in the following years.
More than 304,000 automobiles were sold in 2016 compared to 133,000 in 2014.
In 2014, Pinaco was awarded Ford Q1 certification from Ford Motors Group — its highest award and a global recognition for suppliers that have achieved a high level of performance in quality, production and management capacity and customer satisfaction.