Banner Batteries focuses upon sustainable growth and innovative solutions

The 2023/24 financial year (1.4.2023 to 31.3.2024) presented Banner with a variety of challenges..........

Successful business development despite a challenging environment:

  • Sales of four million starter and and on-board batteries
  • Sales development and strategic investments characterise the company group
  • Growth forecast for lead-acid batteries
  • Expansion strategy for Energy Solutions, the group’s second business unit

The 2023/24 financial year (1.4.2023 to 31.3.2024) presented Banner with a variety of challenges. Nevertheless, despite a slight decline in sales as compared to the previous year, the group remains future-oriented and focused on sustainable technologies and innovative solutions in the automotive and energy storage fields. Moreover, owing to significant investments and a marked emphasis upon sustainability and employee development, within its industrial branch the Banner Group continues to hold a position as a leading provider.

Leonding, 28 May 2024. With sales of EUR 302 million, which represented a fall of around one per cent, the group result was marginally lower than in the preceding year. However, this development must be viewed against the backdrop of a challenging market environment. For as Andreas Bawart, Banner’s Commercial CEO, explains, “The financial year was characterised by the energy crisis in combination with the war in Ukraine and the related rise in inflation. In addition, the increased competition emanating from the penetration of the European market by Asian manufacturers and supply chain problems exerted further pressure upon the automotive industry.” Despite these challenges, the Automotive business unit continues to rely on its proven lead-acid technology, which thanks to in-house production in Leonding, guarantees reliable delivery.

E-mobility and lead-acid batteries

As Andreas Bawart says, “We can already see that the initial euphoria for e-cars has waned and a certain disillusionment has set in. Many first-time buyers of electric cars are realising that the promised ranges are unachievable and that public charging facilities remain inadequate. This has led to a decline in new e-vehicle registrations, especially following the cuts to some state subsidies in Germany.” However, as Andreas Bawart adds, “Irrespective of these developments over 90 per cent of e-cars will continue to use a 12 V on-board power supply battery with proven lead-acid technology.” He thus predicts further market growth for lead-acid batteries of one to two per cent annually over the next ten years.

Investments in production site and training facilities

During the last three years, the Banner has invested over 25 million euros in the development of its headquarters in Leonding. The focus has been and remains on the expansion of production capacity and office building modernisation, while additional spending on digitalisation and process improvements helps to ensure future group viability. Banner is also meeting the challenge of the skilled worker shortage through the establishment of a modern training workshop at its headquarters in Austria and the “Apprenticeships from 15” programme, which will be launched at the end of 2024. The first electrical engineering technicians will begin their training at Banner in autumn and the company also seeks to support the next generation of its personnel through internal training and close cooperation with technical colleges. The group currently employs a total of 750 people across Europe.

The Energy Solutions business unit: innovation and expansion

The Energy Solutions business unit is the Banner Group’s second mainstay and focuses on new technologies and energy storage solutions for critical infrastructure. The company recently invested around ten million euros in the creation of a new unit location with the aim of developing solutions precisely tailored to individual customer requirements. The batteries of Energy Solutions can be used in a wide variety of applications, ranging from electric forklift trucks and aerial work platforms to leisure vehicles such as golf carts and caravans. The businett unit is thus preparing to both meet the growing demand for energy storage solutions and open up new markets.

Sustainability and recycling

Sustainability and a resource-conserving approach along the value added chain are key issues for Banner. The group is committed to sustainable transformation and attaches great importance to compliance with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Recycling accounts for over 95% of the lead used in the production process for starter and on-board power supply batteries and up to 80% of the polypropylene employed for battery boxes. In addition, the sulphuric acid collected from used batteries is processed into sodium sulphate, which in turn is utilised in the production of detergents and glass. The group is thus intensively involved in sustainable development and is continuously working to optimise its ecological footprint.

Conclusion and outlook

Banner has mixed feelings about the future. With a clear emphasis upon sustainability, innovation and employee advancement, the group is focused upon continuous growth and a strong market position. For as Andreas Bawart concludes, “Our strategic measures underline our determination to respond to current requirements, but the more difficult framework conditions in Austria are making it increasingly difficult to implement this strategy successfully.”

Photo 1: Andreas Bawart, the Banner Group’s Commercial CEO
Photo 2: Banner starter and on-board batteries