Posco Chemical is expected to announce where it will build a new cathode factory in Europe within the year, TheElec has learned.
While Poland, where its biggest customer LG Energy Solution has a battery factory at, is the most likely candidate, the company is also looking to win SK Innovation as a new customer, which has its own factory in Hungary.
Where Posco Chemical will ultimately decide to build its new factory is yet to be finalized, people familiar with the matter said.
Meanwhile, EcoPro BM has decided too build its new cathode factory in Hungary, where customers Samsung SDI and SK Innovation have their factories.
EcoPro BM and Posco Chemical are expanding into Europe to increase the efficiency of supplying its cathode to its customers.
Currently, their cathode made in South Korea and China take about a month to arrive in Europe.
The recent blockage of the Suez Canal has also put an added impetus for the two to have local production facilities there.
LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation’s recent ending of their lawsuits has also removed uncertainties over the situation for EcoPro BM and Posco Chemical, which believe this year will be the right time to expand abroad.
Europe is also advantageous in securing the precursors needed for cathode production, one of the people said.
EcoPro, the parent company of EcoPro BM, is already collaborating with LG Energy Solution in battery recycling business at Poland. The pair are looking to extract cathode and anode from scrub and defective batteries, to reuse them in battery production. Posco, the parent company of Posco Chemical, is also part of the business.
EcoPro BM and Posco Chemical are also planning to build new facilities in the US after Europe. Their expansion plan there will likely be announced by the first half of 2022.
Compatriots Dongwha Electrolyte and Enchem have already decided to build new facilities in the US.