Samsung SDI is considering investing in EcoProBM, South Korea’s largest battery anode maker.
At its second quarter earnings report on July 16, EcoProBM said it is working closely with Samsung SDI on getting funding for building the CAM6 plant in Pohang, a city further south of Seoul.
“We are talking about various ways, including running exclusive lines for Samsung SDI and getting investment for that,” EcoProBM CEO Kim Byung-hoon told The Elec.
EcoProBM is currently working on high-nickel anode for EV batteries to be supplied to Samsung SDI. The Samsung unit previously sought other suppliers, but the recently mended ties.
CAM6 is going to be built close to the CAM5 plant, which is sheduled to be completed by September at the earliest. Following client certification later this year, the plant is expected to show an operation rate of 80% or more in the second quarter of next year. CAM5’s production lines are capable of producing up to 26,000 tons of battery anode.
“We haven’t decided on the capacity of the CAM6, but we expect it to be around 50,000 tons a year,” said Kim. That would be nearly double that of CAM5, meaning that at least four lines would have to be dedicated to battery anode.
Should Samsung SDI make a commitment, EcoProBM would be able to consider expanding the NCA anode to square EV batteries, as Samsung SDI hopes to apply hybrid anode consisting a mix of NCM and NCA to its square EV batteries. The NCA is to be supplied by EcoProBM.
When nickel content goes up, batteries become more effective and allows electric cars to drive longer after a single charge. And because it uses less rare materials, such as cobalt, which is the most expensive, the battery prices also become cheaper. But because higher nickel content makes batteries more prone to explosions, there is a limit to the use.
Touching on future prospects, Kim said next year’s sales would grow to over 1 trillion won ($847.6 million).
In the second quarter, EcoProBM’s revenues rose 5% on-year to 136 billion won. Its operating profit, however, fell 2% to 11.1 billion won. Operation profit rate stood at 8%.
Non-IT products such as wireless vacuum cleaners and electric tools led the sales, logging revenues of 100.6 billion won to record a 20% rise from last year.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.