Exide Technologies today announced plans to defer the start of full production at its Maple, Ontario, manufacturing facility from October 2001 to the first quarter of 2002. The Maple facility is being converted from automotive battery production to an industrial facility to manufacture Absolyte and Champion sealed-technology industrial batteries. “The slowdown in the telecommunications sector has resulted in reduced short-term growth projections for the network-power market and demand for the Absolyte product. In order to maximize the utilization of our existing production facilities, we have opted to defer the start of full production at the Maple facility,” said Craig H. Muhlhauser, president and chief operating officer of Exide Technologies. “The demand for Champion Motive Power products continues to exceed expectations, and we are increasing production of this premium product in our Kankakee, Illinois, plant.” Absolyte, the leading brand of sealed technology industrial batteries in the world, is recognized globally as the premium technology solution for the network power market. The Champion Brand sealed industrial battery is the flagship motive- power product for GNB Industrial Power.