Exide battery plant in Columbus lands 3-year federal contract

Local facility on Joy Road will make batteries for various military vehicles

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 17, 2014 

Battery manufacturer Exide Technologies said Monday it has landed a three-year federal contract that will bring work to its plant on Joy Road in Columbus.

Atlanta-based Exide said the local facility will make batteries to be used in the military’s fleet of “rolling stock vehicles.” Rolling stock can include Humvees, trucks, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

The federal contract for “storage batteries” will supply the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio, the company said.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released Monday. But online site, Targeted News Service, indicated Exide in late February was awarded an $18.5 million federal contract to make storage batteries for the agency.

Exide, which has 241 hourly and salaried employees in Columbus, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last June. A month later, it said it had secured $500 million in financing to continue operating the company during the restructuring process, which it has yet to complete.

At the time of the filing, James Bolch was the firm’s president and chief executive officer. Bob Caruso was identified as the CEO Monday.

Exide has been operating in Columbus since 1963. Its plant at 3639 Joy Road includes a 155,000-square-foot facility that has long churned out industrial batteries used as backup power for telecommunication switching systems, cell phone towers, data centers and banks.

In 2012, it announced a combined $70 million upgrade of its Columbus plant and another in Bristol, Tenn. That added 45,000 square feet of manufacturing space locally. At that time, the company said there were 145 employees locally, with plans to increase that to about 250.

The new battery contract with the U.S. military is one of a “family” of such products that Exide supplies the government, it said Monday.

The company operates in more than 80 countries and is a major manufacturer and recycler of lead-acid batteries. It serves the transportation and industrial markets.

The Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime operates around the world as well. It awards more than 700,000 contracts each year, handling 6.7 million orders and annual sales of $3.1 billion.

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