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DURACELL, TOSHIBA, VARTA ANNOUNCE COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT TO DEVELOP NICKEL METAL HYDRIDE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

 DURACELL, TOSHIBA, VARTA ANNOUNCE COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT TO
 DEVELOP NICKEL METAL HYDRIDE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES
 BETHEL, Conn., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Duracell International Inc. (NYSE: DUR), Toshiba Battery Co. Ltd., and Varta Batterie AG announced today their intention to cooperate closely on the research and development, manufacturing, and standardization of nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) rechargeable batteries. Discussions concerning a definitive agreement are underway.
 Ni-MH batteries are particularly well suited for high-power electronic devices like cellular telephones, camcorders and notebook computers. Customer use of these devices is expected to increase significantly in the future. Most of these applications are currently powered by nickel cadmium batteries.
 Ni-MH batteries can replace nickel-cadmium batteries in many devices and have the advantage of longer life in use. In addition, Ni-MH has the potential to eliminate cadmium, which is considered an environmentally problematic heavy metal.
 The intended cooperation between Duracell, Toshiba and Varta will encompass:
 -- Joint technical development to optimize product and
 process characteristics;
 -- The establishment of joint manufacturing operations;
 -- Common efforts to standardize Ni-MH battery sizes to
 facilitate broad-scale distribution of replacement
 batteries and greater consumer acceptance of new high power
 devices.
 Each company has already made substantial investments in basic Ni-MH technology at their respective research and engineering centers. The coordination of these activities will speed up the progress of this advanced technology.
 Duracell International Inc., is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of high-performance alkaline batteries. Duracell's batteries are sold throughout the world, primarily under the DURACELL\ brand trademark.
 Toshiba Battery Company, headquartered in Tokyo, is one of the leading battery manufacturing and marketing companies in Japan. Along with semi-conductors and displays, batteries are considered key to Toshiba Corporation's leadership in information processing and communications devices.
 Varta AG are battery system experts, with worldwide activities in the marketing of portable automotive and industrial batteries. Their headquarters are in Hannover, Germany.
 The three companies believe that their cooperation will accelerate the use of high-power devices and will help equipment manufacturers develop new products with wide consumer appeal.
 DURACELL/TOSHIBA/VARTA COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT
 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
 Q. WHICH COMPANY HAS THE LEAD ROLE IN THIS JOINT VENTURE?
 A. This is an agreement in which each partner brings specific
 strengths. Our roles are very clear and together we have strong
 leadership in place.
 Q. WHO BRINGS WHAT TO THE TABLE?
 A. All three partners bring expertise in all areas of the battery
 business, representing the full range of required experience.
 Duracell's key role is to create a consumer aftermarket for
 nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH)2 batteries.
 Q. WHY IS DURACELL PURSUING THIS AVENUE AS OPPOSED TO DOING IT
 ALONE?
 A. This step greatly accelerates our ability to enter the
 rechargeable business while minimizing the risks.
 Q. HOW/WHERE WILL PRODUCT BE DISTRIBUTED?
 A. Through the existing distribution channels of Duracell, Toshiba
 and Varta.
 Q. WHOSE BRAND NAME WILL BE USED?
 A. All three brand names will be used, depending on which company
 is distributing the product, and where. Toshiba and Varta will
 emphasize sales to OEMS. Duracell will focus on creating a
 consumer aftermarket.
 Q. WHAT IS THE BOTTOMLINE IMPACT FOR DURACELL AND WHEN WILL IT
 HAPPEN?
 A. Duracell does not expect to see any significant bottomline
 impact from Ni-MH sales before fiscal 1995. The focus now is on
 building a new type of high-performance rechargeable battery
 that eliminates cadmium and provides longer lasting benefits
 when compared to nickel cadmium.
 Q. WHEN WILL PRODUCT BE AVAILABLE?
 A. We will begin selling finished product to OEM accounts by the
 end of this calendar year (1992). Distribution to consumer
 trade channels will occur gradually throughout the U.S. and
 Europe, but we expect that it will be as much as two years
 before significant quantities are available for consumer
 purchase.
 Q. WHO WILL MANUFACTURE THESE NEW BATTERIES AND WHERE?
 A. Production will be expanded at Toshiba's existing Ni-MH plant in
 Takasaki, Tokyo. We will monitor capacity utilization closely
 and will take appropriate steps to ensure adequate capacity as
 business demands grow.
 Q. IF IT IS EVER BUILT, WHERE WOULD A SECOND FACILITY BE LOCATED?
 A. We will locate any future production facility wherever it makes
 economic sense to do so.
 Q. WHAT ARE THE CAPITAL COSTS?
 A. None, until we decide to build a facility.
 Q. HOW DOES Ni-MH COMPARE TO Ni-Cd?
 A. Ni-MH provides greater consumer convenience than Ni-Cd in that
 it provides longer usage life at about the same cost per
 kilowatt hour as Ni-Cd. We believe R&D efforts will eventually
 yield a Ni-MH battery that outperforms Ni-Cd on a cost per watt-
 hour basis.
 Q. WILL Ni-MH REPLACE Ni-Cd COMPLETELY?
 A. Not in the short term but to a significant extent over time. In
 the short term, Ni-Cd batteries will still be needed for things
 such as cordless power tools.
 Q. DO Ni-MH BATTERIES CONTAIN ANY CADMIUM OR MERCURY?
 A. No mercury; trace elements of cadmium. Eliminating cadmium from
 Ni-MH is an R&D priority of the alliance.
 Q. WILL THIS PRODUCT HAVE ANY PERFORMANCE ADVANTAGE OVER
 EXISTING Ni-MH?
 A. The goal is to eventually offer a performance advantage versus
 competitive product.
 Q. WHAT IS THE GOAL OF STANDARDIZATION? OR, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
 A. The goal of standardization it to narrow the number of Ni-MH
 batteries so as to facilitate a rational and widespread retail
 distribution of the product. To accomplish this, we must work
 closely with OEMs to convince them to design around an agreed
 set of battery pack configurations. Naturally, this is a major
 task. By working together, the three companies can accelerate
 the standardization process.
 Q. WHAT PRODUCTS DOES DURACELL INTEND TO OFFER?
 A. Duracell intends to work toward the development of a limited
 number of standardized Ni-MH batteries. Those batteries are
 intended for use in High Power consumer electronic evices such
 as cellular-phones, camcorders and notebook computers.
 -0- 1/30/92
 /CONTACT: Jim Donahue of Duracell Inc., 203-796-4654/
 (DUR) CO: Duracell International Inc.; Toshiba Battery Co. Ltd.;
 Varta Batterie AG ST: Connecticut IN: HOU SU: JVN


TS-PS -- NY008 -- 5031 01/30/92 06:51 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Date:Jan 30, 1992
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