* Ovonics Battery Co invented technology used in hybrids
* Unit is profitable, has growing revenue stream
* Shares down 2.7 percent
LOS ANGELES, July 19 Energy Conversion Devices Inc
(ENER.O) said it will sell its battery unit as part of a broad
restructuring plan to focus on improving performance at its
primary solar power business.
Energy Conversion Devices' Ovonic Battery Co licenses its
battery technologies for consumer, stationary and vehicle
applications. The company's battery technologies include
nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion.
Ovonics Battery was founded in 1982. The company's founder,
scientist Stanford Ovshinsky, invented and patented the NiMH
battery used in most hybrid vehicles.
In a statement, the company said OBC is profitable and has a
growing revenue stream.
In recent years, however, Energy Conversion Devices has thrown
its weight behind development of solar power technology.
The Auburn Hills, Michigan-based company makes lightweight,
flexible solar laminates for rooftops and buildings, but its
products are less efficient at converting sunlight into
electricity than rival technologies and Energy Conversion Devices
has struggled with stiff competition.
This year, the loss-making company has been plagued by
cutbacks in incentives for solar power in top European solar
markets, particularly Italy.
In May, the company said it would lay off a fifth of its
workforce and said its chief executive of more than three years,
Mark Morelli, had resigned. The company is still searching for a
permanent replacement for Morelli. [ID:nL3E7GA1QS]
Energy Conversion shares were down 3 cents, or 2.7 percent, at
$1.10 in mid-day trade on the Nasdaq. The stock has lost 76
percent of its value sine the beginning of 2011.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles and Vaishnavi Bala in
Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel, Phil Berlowitz)