Report: TAB on cusp of Li-ion deal with Chinese firm

Mežica/Prevalje – TAB, the Mežica-based maker of starter batteries for cars and industrial batteries, is reportedly on the cusp of striking a deal with a Chinese partner to launch production of lithium-ion cells at the location of the abandoned plant of the pharmaceutical company Lek in Prevalje.

As reported by the newspaper Večer on Tuesday, the plan by the TAB management, which would create 300 jobs in the next five years, was discussed today by the company’s supervisory board.

The supervisors were acquainted with the plan to establish a joint venture called TAB-Haidi JV, which would produce lithium-ion cells and be in the combined ownership of TAB and the Chinese partner, Haidi Energy Technology.

The plan includes the purchase of the production hall in the nearby town of Prevalje, which was built by Lek in 2017-2018 only to be abandoned after the company decided to phase out the production of antibiotics there.

There is no official information about the sale from either of the companies, Večer says, adding that TAB director Bogomir Auprih had previously only confirmed that talks were under way.

According to unofficial information obtained by the newspaper, TAB is waiting for official confirmation from the Chinese partner. The Chinese company would reportedly hold a 26% in the joint venture.

TAB specialises in lead-acid batteries and although it remains successful, analysts have long argued it would have to enter the lithium-ion market to survive.