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LG Chem begins billion-dollar plan to be world’s biggest battery materials firm

Thu, 08/12/2021 - 15:41 -- paul Crompton
LG CHem office building

LG Chem has bought the battery materials manufacturing arm of its subsidiary LG Electronics in a bid to become the “world’s largest general battery materials company”.

The Korean firm bought the operations of the Chemical Electronic Material (CEM) business sector under the LG Electronics’ Business Solution Division for 525 billion KRW ($456 million).

The purchase will bring the four key materials for batteries under LG Chem’s roof, in addition to its existing businesses in the anode materials, cathode binders, electrolyte additive, and CNT (carbon nanotube) sectors.

The announcement on 29 July includes all “tangible and intangible” assets such as production facilities and personnel in the business sector. 

The LG Electronics CEM Division manufactures battery materials such as separation membranes and display materials, and it has production facilities in Cheongju Korea, Hangzhou of China, and Wroclaw of Poland. 

Billion-dollar investment 

LG Chem plans to invest 6 trillion KRW ($5 billion), including this acquisition, to become the world’s top general battery materials company.

The firm plans to build a 60,000-ton capacity plant in Gumi, South Korea, this December for the cathode material business. 

Through this, the cathode production capacity of LG Chem will increase from 40,000 tons last year to 260,000 tons by 2026.

A joint venture is being prepared with an unnamed mining company for the supply of metals that will be used as the raw materials for anode materials. 

The company is also set to focus R&D on anode materials, separation membranes, cathode binders, and radiant adhesives to “differentiate its technologies and acquire market leadership”. 

It also plans to triple CNT production scale from 1,700 tons by 2025. 

In June 2020, LG Chem announced it would invest around KRW 65 billion ($53 million, at the time) to expand CNT manufacturing by 1,200 tons at its Yeosu plant from Q1 of this year.

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