Samsung SDI is aiming to cut more costs by becoming more independent in terms of cathode, a key ingredient in EV batteries, by weaning itself off of local cathode makers such as Unicore and L&F.
Industry sources said on April 1 that the Samsung affiliate is aiming to internalize 50% of its cathode supplies by 2023, up from the current 20%.
For this, Samsung SDI named the chief of its ESS business team to head its cathode-making affiliate STM, which was established in a joint effort with Japan’s Toda Corp. in 2011. STM is now wholly held by Samsung SDI.
“EV battery cathode needs to become more internalized in order for battery makers to gain price competitiveness,” said one industry watcher.
As part of such efforts, Samsung SDI has decided to create a joint venture with Eco Pro BM to add to the supplies from STM, but this hasn’t been easy due to costs. Eco Pro BM’s parent firm I Eco Pro, a company that jointly developed cathode with Samsung SDI and Cheil Industries in 2005. Since then, it has attained the cathode business from Cheil Industries.
To help streamline its business for the future, STM sold off a line producing an annual 2400 tons of cathode precursors to Cosmo AM&T. “STM appears to have reached the decision that it was more efficient to outsource precursors.”
Cathode is a key ingredient of EV batteries – Samsung SDI’s main cash cow. To raise capacity, the Samsung affiliate will be investing up to KRW 1.2 trillion into its Hungary facility up until 2030, when it aims for a monthly production of 18 million cells.
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