New investment in Caithness battery power
6th March 2014
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Chief Executive Alex Paterson has been visiting a Thurso factory where two battery manufacturing firms are powering ahead under new ownership.
HIE has supported the smooth change-over for new investors at AGM Batteries and ABSL Power Solutions, which were previously owned by US-based multinational Enersys Inc.
Denchi House, the HIE custom-built battery factory on Thurso's business park on the outskirts of the town, is home to the two companies, which together employ around 35 staff.
AGM Batteries Ltd is a manufacturer of battery cells – the basic building blocks from which batteries are assembled – specialising in Hi-Tech Lithium Ion battery cells; whilst their neighbour ABSL Power Solutions Ltd is an assembly plant producing the finished product.
AGM Batteries Ltd has now been bought by AMTE Power Ltd, which will continue to trade under its existing name. AMTE is lead by a management team with significant experience in developing new technology, particularly in the battery cell sector, and they have exciting plans to develop niche products particularly for specialised military applications.
Steve Farmer, Chief Operating Officer at AMTE, said: "Battery Cell technology is moving ahead very quickly, and we believe there is a fantastic opportunity to build on the skills of the local workforce and take AGM to a whole new level. The support of HIE has been invaluable in helping us pull our plans together, and we are looking forward to an exciting future for AGM in the years ahead."
Meanwhile, the ABSL battery assembly business has also changed hands, with new owners Denchi Power Ltd taking over at the beginning of February. The new company sees a great opportunity to build on the success of ABSL, particularly in supplying the highly specialised and very demanding requirements of the military sector.
"ABSL has a great reputation with our customers," says Derek Campbell of Denchi Power Ltd. "We will be building on that reputation, and harnessing the unique skills of our workforce here in Thurso to build a world-beating business."
"Maintaining very close working relationships with our customers is the key to success in these markets," explained Derek. "Not only do we aim to deliver the products they need right now; but we will work with our customers to plan ahead for the next generation of power solutions – and develop the products they need when they need them."
HIE has provided a package of financial support to Denchi Power to help them develop the business. As well as their existing range of battery packs, the new company has ambitious plans to develop new products to serve the needs of their customers.
"It was great to discuss the future plans for these two Thurso firms with their ambitious new management teams," said HIE’s Chief Executive Alex Paterson. "It is a great boost to the area to see the confidence that the new investors have in their local workforce, who deliver highly technical specialist products to the most exacting of standards."