Hearables boom prompts microbattery IPO

Hearables boom prompts microbattery IPO

Business news |
By Rich Pell

Varta is seeking to monetize the growing trend towards in-ear audio that requires microbatteries; both for headsets for smartphones and computers and for hearing aids for the increasingly large older population. The company will reinvest the money raised via the IPO in larger and more efficient manufacturing as well as selective acquisitions.

Varta AG and its primary operating subsidiaries, Varta Microbattery GmbH and Varta Storage GmbH, are 100 percent owned by the Montana Tech Components Group, but are not the sole owners of the Varta trademarks, the company said. The IPO will be conducted by the issuance of new shares in the company but Varta AG did not indicate how many shares would be issued or by how much MTC’s ownership would be diluted.

Johnson Controls Hybrid and Recycling GmbH – previously Varta Automotive GmbH – and Varta Consumer Batteries GmbH & Co. KGaA – currently part of the Spectrum Brands Group – continue to hold trademark rights for automotive, partly industrial and consumer batteries, respectively. 

Varta AG specializes in microbatteries and focuses on the production of hearing aid microbatteries and microbatteries for entertainment electronics and industrial applications, which include, in particular, wireless premium headsets. In energy storage the group focuses on the development, system integration and installation of stationary lithium-ion energy storage systems for residential and commercial customers.

The offering to buy shares is being made to the public in Germany and Austria and private placements outside Germany and Austria. The money raised will be used for the building of a large-scale, automated battery assembly plant and for select company acquisitions in the energy storage sector, Varta said.

The demand for cells for in-ear headsets is expected to increase from 15 million cells in 2015 to 83 million cells in 2020, corresponding to a CAGR of 41 percent. In addition, hearables are expected to be the fastest growing wearable device market, growing to approximately $18 billion by 2020.

Similarly, Varta is well positioned to benefit from the renewable energy market where storage is becoming increasingly important, the company said. The worldwide installed capacity of photovoltaic plants is projected to increase at an average annual growth rate of 22 percent to 613GW by 2020 from 227GW in 2015.

Related articles:
Wireless in-ear listening system claims step toward wearable computing
MEMS speakers: Ready to kick out the voice coil?
Apple win lifts Goertek up MEMS microphone ranks

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