Korean battery maker LG Chem has secured around $5 billion in loans to build lithium-ion manufacturing plants outside of the country between 2020 and 2024.
The money has been earmarked by a group of financial institutions led by the state-run lender Korea Development Bank (KDB), and includes the Export-Import Bank of Korea and Nonghyup Bank.
Although it is unclear in which country the money will be spent, the announcement comes days after the Seoul-headquartered firm confirmed it was to build a lithium-ion battery plant with US vehicle OEM General Motors.
The battery cell assembly plant in the Lordstown area of Northeast Ohio, will have an annual capacity of more than 30GWh, with flexibility for expansion.
Together, the companies will invest up to $2.3 billion through a new, equally-owned joint venture to develop and produce advanced battery technologies, with the goal of reducing battery costs to industry-leading levels.
LG Chem vice-chairman & CEO Hak-Cheol Shin said the joint venture would allow it to prepare the South Korea firm for the anticipated growth of the North American EV market, while giving them insights into the broader EV ecosystem.
Groundbreaking is expected to take place in mid-2020.
Last month, US vehicle maker GM sold its 6.2 million sq. ft. manufacturing complex to investment group Lordstown Motors, which is backed by electric truck maker Workhorse Group.
LG Chem will benefit from a dedicated production stream of future electric vehicles from GM’s next generation of battery-electric vehicles, including an all-new battery-electric truck coming in 2021.
This investment builds on GM’s $28 million investment in its Warren, Michigan battery laboratory late last year. The facility will be more than 100,000 sq. ft. and includes heavy and mild battery abuse test areas.
Image courtesy of FSC: From left: NongHyup Bank CEO Lee Dae-hoon, Korea Development Bank chairman Lee Dong-gull, Eun, LG Chem vice-chairman Shin Hak-cheol and Export-Import Bank of Korea CEO Bang Moon-kyu.