January 14, 2021: Batek Makina, the Turkish battery equipment manufacturer, signed the final take-over documents for its acquisition of Italian formation firm Bertola and its subsidiary Moran on January 14.
“We had negotiated most of the deal about a year and a half ago,” says Mahmut Celal Sarıçam, managing director and co-founder of Batek.
“But the pandemic has delayed our earlier plans until now.”
The immediate aim will be to ship Bertola equipment from its operations in Milan to Batek’s new plant in Dilovasi, Kocaeli. All existing users of Bertola and Moran equipment will be served by Batek from now on.
Saricam says the formation side of the business should be ready to start in March.
The acquisition of Bertola is a bold initiative by Batek in that the formation business is very different from other sectors of battery machine manufacturing. Only a couple of firms, such as Sovema, include formation equipment as part of their wider product offering.
“One of our objectives through this was to invest in our core business in a distinct way that would basically ensure a vertical growth while bringing some aspects of diversification,” Saricam told BESB.
“Bertola definitely fits our agenda of investing in this fashion as the battery formation business typically is a separate branch of technology.
“We hope to revitalize the legacy of Bertola — one of the best known names in the formation business — and the Moran brands,” he says.
Bertola is one of the oldest firms in the battery charging equipment industry. Its formation business was founded in 1958 in Italy, where it developed several technologies that eclipsed others in the industry, such as IGBT-based battery formation rectifiers.
Bertola is a family owned business and one of the reasons for the sales was the difficulty of passing on the company to the next generation. A previous sale of the business fell through a couple of years ago.
For the past year the firm has been winding itself down but its key staff will be on hand to pass the business on smoothly.
Bertola acquired Moran, another pioneer in the battery formation and testing equipment industry, in 2008. Saricam says the technologies incorporated by this acquisition will include battery formation systems for both automotive and industrial applications, battery test systems and software development for battery charging.
Saricam sees the acquisition in a larger fashion. “The pandemic has disrupted traditional supply chains and deglobalization is occurring. Our ability to service another part of the battery manufacturing industry can only be an asset in these troubled times.
The new plant in the port town of Dilovasi — about 70 kilometres from Istanbul — is the third new manufacturing facility Batek Makina has had since it was founded in 2002.
“Our new state of the art plant is double the size of the previous one. Not only will it offer us vast capabilities in building more of our existing machinery — and possibly developing new machinery — but it will also motivate us to strive to continue to provide excellence.
“For us, understanding the specific conditions and needs of battery manufacturers is key to being able to deliver successful projects.
“Despite megatrends in the industry that favour standardization of products and common procedures, the reality on the factory floor is that we need to build in design flexibility and offer a variety of production methods.”