Johnson Controls and battery supplier MAC have signed an agreement to form a joint venture in Colombia to produce and sell lead-acid batteries in Central and South America.

"Johnson Controls Power Solutions has had a presence in South America for more than a decade and our Heliar automotive battery brand is nearing its 80th year in the market," said Johnson Controls vice president and general manager of the Americas Allen Martin.

"We have a strong South American business now and we'll continue to invest in the region to maintain our leadership as the market grows."

Johnson Controls sells several batteries in Latin America, including Heliar, VARTA, LTH and OPTIMA and claims to be the market leader in automotive batteries in South America.

MAC has a strong presence in the Central and South American regions, as well as the Caribbean, selling to the aftermarket and to major automakers. Both companies will increase their exports from Colombia, mainly to countries in the Andean region.

"This alliance is a good business fit for both Johnson Controls and MAC," said MAC president Maria Fernanda Mejia Castro. "We have common business principles such as customer satisfaction, employee development, continuous improvement in product and processes and respect for the environment."

In addition to manufacturing batteries, MAC owns a recycling facility in Yumbo, Colombia, which currently recycles 30,000 tons of lead annually, the equivalent of three million batteries per year.

The proposed joint venture is subject to local authority approvals.