Four of South Korea’s battery cathode manufacturers are planning to more than double their production capacity within the next two years.
The increase is done to meet high demand from the three local battery makers __ LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation.
EcoPro BM is planning to increase its production capacity from 50,000 metric tonnes a year to 80,000 metric tonnes a year by 2023. The company recorded 855.2 billion won in sales and 55.7 billion won in operating income last year. Operating income increased by 17.5 billion won from the previous year. EcoPro BM is supplying nickel, cobalt and aluminum (NCA) cathode to Samsung SDI, the world’s largest cylinder battery maker.
Earlier this month, EcoPro BM said it is planning spend 240 billion won in facilities this year, up 40 billion won 2020. In 2019, spending facilities was 100 billion won. The company will invest 100 billion won into CAM5-N plant, which manufactures cathode for SK Innovation, and 140 billion won into EcoPro EM’s CAM6 plant, which manufacturers them for Samsung SDI.
Posco Chemical is planning to spend 1.27 trillion won it secured from sales of its share to expand its production capacity. Its current production capacity is 40,000 metric tonnes per year but this will be increased to 98,000 metric tonnes per year in 2022. In 2025, it will be increased to up to 270,000 metric tonnes a year.
The company recorded 1.56 trillion won in sales and 60.3 billion won in operating income last year, its highest on record. Sales from cathode contributed 351.4 billion won, an increase from the previous year’s 253 billion won.
Around 88% of the sales of cathode came from electric vehicle batteries, an increase of 50% from the previous year.
Cosmo AM&T previously supplied small cathode for Samsung SDI but began supplying cathode for EV batteries last year. It is spending 43 billion won to expand its nickel, cobalt and manganese (NCM) cathode plant at Chungju. The plant’s capacity will be increased from 10,000 metric tonnes to 13,640 metric tonnes a year.
Cosmo AM&T bought STM’s precursor business for 31.2 billion won last year to expand its cathode business. Starting in the second half of the year, the company will began supplying NCM cathode with over 83% nickel to LG Energy Solution. Last year, Cosmo Am&T recorded 204.2 billion won in sales and 12.43 billion won in operating income.
L&F is planning to increase its current annual production capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes to 80,000 metric tonnes by 2023. It spent 210 billion won to expand its factory near Daegu. It will produce nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum (NCMA) cathode with over 90% nickel.
The company clinched a 1.45 trillion won deal with LG Energy Solution last year to supply cathode. Most of them will be NCMA cathode with over 80% nickel. It is highly likely that the cathode will be used for LG Energy Solution’s 21700 battery supply to Tesla. L&F recorded 358.6 billion won in sales and operating income of 1.3 billion won in 2020.