Saft, leaders in specialised batteries for industrial applications, will invest in a new manufacturing facility in China to meet increasing local demand. The group already operates in 23 countries, and the new Chinese plant will manufacture and assemble two key battery technologies. The first is primary lithium batteries, which are used in electricity meters. Saft notes that the market for batteries for water and gas meters is also growing, and estimates growth in the Chinese meter market at some 20% a year.

The company has shipped more than 20 million cells to China over the last three years, and sees the opening of the new manufacturing plant as a logical step in its strategy to manufacture as close to its customers as possible. Manufacturing will begin in early 2006.