Nissan has confirmed that it plans to sell off its Sunderland-based battery manufacturing subsidiary – but the car maker has pledged that the jobs of the business’s 300 employees will be safe.

Nissan yesterday stated that it had entered into a sale and purchase agreement with private investment fund GSR Capital. 

GSR Capital will acquire Nissan’s Wearside battery-making subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), as well as another battery producing operation owned by Nissan in Tennessee.  

The deal, which is thought to be worth around $1 billion, will also include the sale of battery production facilities in Japan.

Nissan’s president and chief executive officer, Hiroto Saikawa, said, “This is a win-win for AESC and Nissan.” 

“It enables AESC to utilise GSR’s wide networks and proactive investment to expand its customer base and further increase its competitiveness.”

“In turn, this will further enhance Nissan’s EV (electric vehicle) competitiveness. AESC will remain a very important partner for Nissan as we deepen our focus on designing and producing market-leading electric vehicles.” 

Nissan has stated that all workers affected by the change in the ownership of the subsidiary will “continue to be employed.” 

The chairman of GSR Capital, Sonny Wu, commented, “The acquisition of AESC represents an important step for us.”

“We plan to further invest in R&D (research and development), expand existing production capacity in the US, UK and Japan, and also establish new facilities in China and Europe, enabling us to better serve customers around the world.”

The Labour MP for Sunderland Central, Julie Elliott, said, “Any move that appears to secure local jobs must be cautiously welcomed.”

“Around 300 employees will be affected by this sale and a consultation has begun to transfer their employment to the new company under TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking Protection of Employment) regulations.”

(Featured image courtesy of San Sharma, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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