Hungary leads plans for world’s largest battery spin out

Hungary leads plans for world’s largest battery spin out

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

SK Innovation in Korea is to spin out its battery business on October 1st, creating the world’s largest battery supplier with 500GWh of capacity by 2030.

The company has production sites in Hungary, South Korea, the United States and China for high nickel lithium ion pouch cells and plans to expand capacity to 85GWh by 2023, 200GWh by 2025, and 500GWh by 2030. It is also planning to expand into cylindrical and primsmatic battery cell form factors.

The company is building a second plant in Komárom, Hungary, with an annual production capacity of about 10GWh following a €90m sunsidy from the Euroean Commission. The €700m plant is set for completion later this year, with commercial operation next year, says the company,  The Hungarian government’s subsidy plan for SK Innovation was approved in July after a 10-month review.

“SK Innovation aims to become a global leader in EV battery market through aggressive investment,” said Jee Dong-seob, President of SK Innovation’s Battery Business. “We will make consistent efforts to contribute to the development of local communities and EV market.”

The decision to separate the battery business as SK Battery as well as the oil exploration & production (E&P) business was passed at a 80.2% of approval rate at the extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on Friday.

The company has a backlog of 1TWh of orders which it says makes it the largest battery suppler in the market. This will mean increasing capacity from 40GWh today to over 200GWh by 2025. In contrast, NorthVolt in Europe is planning for a capacity of 150GWh by 2030.This largely on the back of an announcement of a joint venture with car maker Ford and supplier Continental, as well as Daimler, VW, Hyundai Motor and BAIC in China.

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“It will reinforce our competitiveness and expedite business growth by establishing management systems tailor-made to individual business units,” said Kim Jun, CEO and President of SK Innovation. This separation will mark a big turning point for the company in terms of greater global competitiveness and growth acceleration, says Jun.  

SK Battery will handle medium to large-sized batteries, BaaS (Battery as a Service) and ESS (Energy Storage System) activities as well as materials, the lithium-ion battery separator (LiBS) business and the BMR (Battery Metal Recycling) business.

SK E&S will include CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage) alongside the oil exploration and production.

 “It is an inevitable decision in an attempt to gain the unwavering upper hand in the face of increasingly fierce global competition by enhancing each business’s expertise and competitiveness. We will make the most out of this spin-off to expedite the qualitative and quantitative growth of our company by sharpening our competitive edge with the establishment of distinctive and customized management systems,” added Jun.

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