On February 8, 2018, Umicore, the Belgian materials technology group, reported that net profit rose 15% to 267 million euro in 2017, driven by the rapid growth of the demand for rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles. CEO Marc Grynberg said: “Global demand for Li-ion rechargeable batteries used in electrified vehicles will continue to grow fast as automotive OEMs roll out their electrification strategy.”
Concurrently, Umicore announced that it is going to invest 660 million euro to ramp up the production of battery (cathode) materials. The investment will trigger one new factory in Jiangmen, China, and one in Europe. The location for the European one, which would entail the first cathode material production site in Europe, stills needs to be decided. CEO Grynberg: “The European project is in an advanced phase of preparation, with final site selection expected in the course of 2018 and production starting in the course of 2020.”
The final decision about the EU location will depend on how key conditions are met: (1) a sufficient amount of trained and skilled personnel, (2) competitive labour and energy costs, (3) a guaranteed and low-carbon energy supply, (4) good logistics, (5) rapid permitting procedures.
- Read the official Umicore press release here: http://www.umicore.com/en/media/press/2017fypressreleaseen
- Read (Flemish) Financial Times report here: https://www.tijd.be/ondernemen/technologie/umicore-we-kijken-ook-naar-belgie-voor-nieuwe-fabriek/9980999.html