Johnson Controls’ former battery unit Clarios files for IPO

Clarios employees submerge batteries in water for testing at the company’s lab in Glendale. Credit Jake Hill

Last updated on May 10th, 2021 at 10:37 am

Automotive battery maker Clarios has filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.

The former Johnson Controls battery unit did not disclose how many shares it would offer nor the price range for the proposed offering.

It is estimated that Glendale-based Clarios would be valued at $20 billion in its IPO, marking it one of the largest stock market debuts in the automotive sector in 2021, Reuters reported.

The car battery giant says it expects to commence the IPO after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.

Clarios has a robust portfolio of battery technologies designed to power virtually every type of passenger, commercial and recreational vehicle, from conventional to fully electric. Its primary customers are global automakers, wholesale distributors, auto retailers and big box stores.

In May 2019, Johnson Controls International completed its $13.2 billion sale of its power solutions business to Brookfield Business Partners, a Canadian private equity firm, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, an institutional investor that manages public pension plans in Quebec.

Clarios’ headquarters remains on the same corporate campus as Johnson Controls and although new security measures have been added to separate the two businesses’ operations, they still share some services, including a gym, a cafeteria and nurses’ station.

A 2020 BizTimes Milwaukee cover story took an extensive look at the company.

In fiscal 2018, the then Power Solutions division for Johnson Controls generated approximately $8 billion in annual revenue and produced about 150 million batteries each year. The company now has 16,000 employees across 50 manufacturing, distribution and recycling locations with 500 employees at its headquarters in Glendale.

At the center of the company’s 277,700-square-foot headquarters is a 69,000-square-foot research battery lab where Clarios analyzes, develops and tests its products. Although the lab is one of 10 around the globe, it has several capabilities unique to the facility.

Clarios did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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