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Exide protagonists reach compromise

Calcutta, July 4: After fighting a legal battle for over five years, Exide Technologies — the US-based battery multinational — has buried its differences with Rajan Raheja-controlled Exide Industries over the use of the ‘Exide’ brand in India. The two companies are now looking to work together.

Albrecht Leuschner, chairman of Exide Holdings — Exide Technologies’ European subsidiary — said: “We are certainly unhappy about the fact that we cannot use the ‘Exide’ brand in India, but that will not be a stumbling block anymore in developing close ties with Exide Industries in India.”

Leuschner met the management of Exide Industries today, and discussed “possibilities of creating value through collaboration between the two companies”.

“We are bullish on India and China, and would like to join forces with Exide Industries to create value propositions for both the companies in these markets,” Leuschner said after his “goodwill visit” to the company’s headquarters in Calcutta. The point of his first visit to the city, he said, was “to build bridges”.

Talks of truce between the two companies started when Exide Industries chairman S.B. Ganguly met Leuschner at an international convention of battery manufacturers in Mexico last month.

Last year, the Delhi High Court passed a “permanent injunction” on the use of the ‘Exide’ brand by Exide Technologies in India.

Officials of Exide Industries said: “It appears that they (Exide Technologies) have finally realised that the legal battle is pointless, and that we will never let them have our brand. They have a range of other well known brands like Hagen, Fulmen, Tudor, which they could use in India.” Besides India, Exide Industries owns the ‘Exide’ brand in countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Singapore.

Though Leuschner said that the two companies were exploring possibilities of working together, he did not indicate what the exercise could lead to. Both the companies denied media reports that Exide Holdings was looking to pick up an equity stake in Exide Industries.

Senior officials of Exide Industries said this could lead to flow of technology and sharing of resources between the companies. The improvement in relationship could benefit Exide Industries, which, officials revealed, was planning to enter Australia, where Exide Technologies owns the ‘Exide’ brand.

Exide Industries is actively looking at possibilities of expanding its operations overseas. It has even looked at distribution possibilities in Iraq and Iran previously, but has had to drop these countries from its radar due to the war.

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