|Industry||Industrial Electrical Equipment|
VARTA AG (Vertrieb, Aufladung, Reparatur Transportabler Akkumulatoren; Distribution, charging, repair of transportable accumulators; pronounced [ˈvaʁta]) is a company based in Germany manufacturing batteries for global automotive, industrial and consumer markets. A sales slogan was "you're smarter to fit Varta!" in the mid-1990s. However, the brand is now owned by other companies.
VARTA was created in 1904 as a subsidiary of Accumulatorenfabrik Aktiengesellschaft (AFA) and was based in Berlin and Hagen in Westphalia. AFA was acquired by Günther Quandt after the First World War and the VARTA business was expanded greatly. The company was the manufacturer of batteries and accumulators for the Wehrmacht, submarines and the Luftwaffe during World War II. During this period 3,500 slave labourers worked in AFA's factories under appalling conditions.
After the war, most of the shares of Varta passed from Günther Quandt to Herbert Quandt. The subsidiary in East-Berlin was occupied by the Soviets and was named Berliner Akkumulatoren- und Elementefabrik. In 1977, VARTA AG's businesses were split up by Herbert Quandt. Battery and plastics operations were retained in VARTA AG, but the pharmaceuticals and specialty chemical businesses was transferred to a new public company called Altana, and the electrical business was spun off into a company called CEAG. Herbert Quandt's shares in VARTA AG were left to his three children by his second marriage; while the two children of his third marriage received shares in Altana and CEAG (and a substantial stake in BMW).
However, by 2006 Varta AG had sold all its operating divisions and the Quandts had sold their shares. VARTA AG is currently liquidating its remaining assets, contracts, liabilities and shareholdings (in particular the manufacture and sale of VARTA batteries). The VARTA businesses continues elsewhere in other hands.
- The automotive battery unit was sold to Johnson Controls in 2002
- V.E. Beteiligungs GmbH and Buy-Out Beteiligungs-Invest AG of Austria bought the Micro Battery business in 2006
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