Total launches $1bn bid for Saft to align storage with renewables

French oil giant Total has moved to buy compatriot battery-maker Saft in a deal worth some €950m ($1.08bn).

The "friendly tender" will target all of Saft’s issued and outstanding shares at €36.50 each, an offer price which represents a 38.3% premium above the company's current stock price, and nine times its reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda).

“The combination of Saft and Total will enable Saft to become the group’s spearhead in electricity storage,” said Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanné.

"The acquisition is part of Total’s ambition to accelerate its development in the fields of renewable energy and electricity, initiated in 2011 with the acquisition of SunPower."

Adding Saft to the Total group would "notably allow us to complement our portfolio with electricity storage solutions, a key component of the future growth of renewable energy," said Pouyanné.

The Total CEO has made no secret of the oil and gas group's ambitions in renewables, saying he wants it to become a top-three solar player within 20 years.

Ghislain Lescuyer, Saft’s chief executive, added: "Total will provide Saft with the required expertise and resources needed for its future development, particularly in terms of technological and commercial capabilities."

Saft is involved in a wide array of projects seeking to trial the integration of storage with renewable energy plants around the world.

The company has been particularly active in Japan, where Saft opened an office in February and where it has long-standing links with Sumitomo.

Last month Saft secured a €2m deal to provide a lithium-ion storage system for Finnish utility Fortum, for deployment at a large-scale pilot project in southern Finland.

The proposed offer by Total is subject to review by French markets authority AMF, which will evaluate its compliance with applicable laws and regulations.