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Ecopro inks $33.5bn deal with Samsung

On the opening day of the Munich Motor Show (IAA) in Munich, Germany, Ecopro BM Co. announced a groundbreaking deal with Samsung SDI Co. that could reshape the electric vehicle (EV) market. This announcement comes as Europe’s automakers gather at the IAA Mobility car show, aiming to compete with Tesla Inc. and confront the growing competition from China.

Ecopro BM Co., based in Cheongju, South Korea, has signed a long-term contract with Samsung SDI Co. to supply a crucial component for electric car batteries. The deal, valued at a staggering 43.8 trillion won ($33.5 billion), spans from 2024 to 2028 and revolves around the supply of cathode-active materials. These cathodes are based on nickel-cobalt-aluminum chemistry and are specifically designed for high-nickel batteries, as detailed in a company filing released after the stock market closed in Seoul.

The significance of this contract lies in Ecopro’s commitment to providing cathodes to Samsung’s production facilities, both in South Korea and overseas, though the filing did not specify the exact locations. Samsung has been strategically expanding its battery production, with plans for two battery plants in Kokomo, Indiana, in partnership with Stellantis NV, and an existing facility in Hungary.

This monumental deal takes place amidst a challenging landscape for the electric vehicle market. Car manufacturers have been forced to slash their sales targets for EVs due to higher interest rates, which have adversely affected automobile purchases. At the same time, the Biden administration’s stringent regulations on sourcing battery minerals from foreign adversaries, including China, have created opportunities for countries like South Korea.

South Korea, with its advanced battery technology, is poised to reduce its heavy reliance on Chinese components and strengthen its position in the global EV market. Ecopro BM Co.’s partnership with Samsung SDI Co. exemplifies the commitment to innovation and sustainability in the face of market challenges, signaling a promising future for electric vehicles in a rapidly evolving industry.

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