May 9, 2016 / 7:06 AM / 2 years ago

Total to acquire battery maker Saft for $1.1 billion

PARIS (Reuters) - Total (TOTF.PA) said on Monday it has agreed to buy France based battery manufacturer Saft Groupe S1A.PA for 950 million euros ($1.1 billion), as it seeks to expand its renewable energies business and complement the acquisition in 2011 of a majority stake in U.S. solar power systems maker SunPower (SPWR.O).

View of French oil giant Total headquarters in the financial district of la Defense near Paris March 8, 2010. REUTERS/Charles Platiau (FRANCE BUSINESS)

“The combination of Saft and Total will enable Saft to become the group’s spearhead in electricity storage,” Total Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanné said.

“The acquisition of Saft is part of Total’s ambition to accelerate its development in the fields of renewable energy and electricity,” he added.

Last month Total announced the creation of a gas, renewables and power division to help drive its ambition to become a top renewable power generation and trading company within 20 years.

Under the deal announced on Monday Total has filed an offer for Saft shares with French market regulator AMF of 36.50 euros a share, excluding a dividend of 0.85 euros, to value Saft’s equity at 950 million euros.

It said the offer price represents a 38.3 percent premium to Saft’s closing share price of 26.40 euros on May 6 and had the unanimous backing of Saft’s board.

Total paid $1.3 billion for a majority stake in California-based SunPower and has also invested in other renewable energy ventures including biofuels.

Pouyanne said last year that Total will spend at least half a billion dollars annually in its solar and biofuels businesses with the aim of increasing the share of clean energies in its portfolio to between 15 to 20 percent by 2035 from 3 percent currently.

Shares in Total were up 0.05 percent at 42.96 euros by 1251 GMT.

“The acquisition ... will give Total a competitive advantage in the growing market for batteries and integrated solar power-battery storage systems, while also allowing it to hedge against a long-term risk of falling demand for petroleum-based fuels over the coming decades,” said Francesco Menonna, Power & Renewables analyst at BMI Research.

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