SK Innovation pledges $488 mn to expand EV battery plant in China

2019.05.15 14:39:12 | 2019.05.15 15:40:44

[Photo provided by SK Innovation Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by SK Innovation Co.]

Korea’s third largest battery maker SK Innovation Co. will invest additionally in China to expand battery capacity in the world’s biggest electric vehicle market and build economies of scale to meet future demand.

The company’s board on Tuesday approved a plan to invest 579.9 billion won ($488 million) to build its second EV battery production line in China next to the battery making factory under construction in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province. It said further details have yet to be determined including a factory site and size.

Shares of SK Innovation rose 2.41 percent to close Wednesday at 170,000 won.

The company which built manufacturing facility later in China than its bigger Korean peers LG Chem and Samsung SDI has turned eager from last year to catch up, timed with Beijing’s easing in bias against Korean battery makers. It aims to achieve capacity of 60 gigawatt hours (GWh) per annum by 2022 in China.

SK Innovation`s EV battery plant in Hungary. [Photo by SK Innovation Co.]이미지 확대

SK Innovation`s EV battery plant in Hungary. [Photo by SK Innovation Co.]

Last August, SK Innovation broke ground for its first EV battery producing factory in Changzhou after forming a joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp. and Beijing Electronics Holding Co. The plant will be sitting on an area of 300,000 square meters and capable of producing 7.5GWh worth of battery cells a year, enough to supply 250,000 units of EV. The company aims to complete the construction in the latter half of this year and begin commercial production in the first half of 2020.

The company has been aggressively expanding its overseas capacity in a bet that the EVs would become a mainstream in the global auto market, having already allocated nearly 5 trillion won for expansion. It began to construct its first factory in Hungary last March, second factory in the country in February this year and U.S. base in Georgia in March. Upon the completion of the manufacturing lines, its total annual capacity would reach 40GWh in 2022.

By Kang Doo-soon and Choi Mira

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