Brand row settled, Exide Industries buys sole Indian plant of US namesake

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After settling the trademark dispute over the use of the ‘Exide’ brand name in an out of court settlement with the Indian arm of US-based Exide Technologies, Exide Industries, the market leader in batteries in India, is poised to take overBSE,  the former’s sole plant in this country.

Sources have knowledge of the development, claiming the move effectively marks the US-based company’s exit from India.

On Monday, Exide Industries told the BSE that it has signed an agreement with Tudor India -– the Indian arm of Exide Technologies -- to buy its movable and immovable assets of its factory in Sabarkantha in Gujarat.

“Tudor India had only one plant in India and it has been shut for quite some time. Also, recently Exide Industries has resolved the trademark dispute with Exide Technologies over the brand name in an out-of-court settlement. This effectively leaves Tudor India neither with any plant nor a brand name,” the source said.

Tudor India is a subsidiary of GNB Industrial Power (UK) Ltd. This UK-based company, in turn, is a subsidiary of Exide Technologies.

The all-cash deal is expected to be executed in the next 30 days.

An official in Exide Industries said that the Indian company is acquiring only the plant and not the company or any intellectual rights and trademarks and hence will not carry any liability of Tudor India.

However, it will be getting 64,470 square metres of factory area and the requisite licenses for manufacturing of batteries. Typically, this factory used to roll out lead, lithium and gel based batteries under the Prestolite brand name.

Sources reasoned that since Exide Industries operates in the market segment which has been termed as chemically hazardous, obtaining a new license and putting up a new plant is cumbersome. “On the other hand, through this deal, Exide Industries is getting both the land as well as the license”, the source added.

In June 2013, Exide Technologies had filed for bankruptcy protection in the USA in 2013 aimed at cutting its debt and implementing a restructuring plan to better compete in the market. In 2015, this company claimed to have emerged from the financial restructuring into a “newly reorganized company” but became a privately held firm from being previously traded in the US bourses.

Last year in May, Exide Industries had stated that it has resolved its age-long dispute dating back to 1997 with Exide Technologies over the trademark. The Indian company had dragged the US firm to the Delhi High Court, which ordered the US enterprise from not using the name.

Under the terms of the out-of-court settlement, Exide Technologies has agreed to forever waive any right or claim to the ownership and use of Exide mark in India.

During the year ended March 31, 2018, Exide Industries registered a Rs.91.86 billion topline with an operating margin of Rs. 12.41 billion and a gross profit of Rs.10.48 billion. It’s market capitalisation stands at Rs. 221 billion.

Timeline

1997 - Legal battle between US-based Exide Technologies and India-based Exide Industries ensues over                 Exide trademark

2013 – Exide Technologies files for bankruptcy in USA

2015 – Exide Technologies delists from US bourses to become privately held company 

2017 – Exide Technologies forever foregoes its claim to Exide brand name in India in out-of-court                                settlement

2018 – Exide Industries buys its namesake’s sole plant in India