Asahi Kasei eyes electric car growth with $2.2 bln Polypore battery deal

TOKYO, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Japanese chemical manufacturer Asahi Kasei Corp has agreed to buy Polypore International Inc’s energy storage business for $2.2 billion, betting on growth in demand for hybrid and electric cars.

Both companies produce lithium-ion battery separators used in electronic gadgets and automobiles, but Asahi Kasei President Toshio Asano believes that the type produced by U.S.-based Polypore – known as dry process separators – will become the auto sector’s preferred option because of lower costs.

“We have been putting our resources in rechargeable batteries for personal computers and smart phones, but the next big market is electric and hybrid cars,” Asano told reporters on Monday.

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