EcoPro BM [247540:KS], the largest cathode materials manufacturer in South Korea, announced a plan on December 9 to establish a cathode material plant in Debrecen, Hungary, with an investment of KRW970bn (USD824.1m), as reported by Korea Economic Daily on the next day. The factory is expected to produce 108,000 tons of cathode materials a year, sufficient for batteries of 1.35m electric vehicles (EV). The first phase of this project is expected to start operation by 2H24 and the second phase is to start a year later. Also, the scheme will obtain support from the Hungarian government by a grant to EcoPro BM.
The expansion in Hungary is part of EcoPro BM’s plan to raise its cathode materials production capacity to 480,000 tons in 2026, enough for 6m EVs, compared with its current annual output of 95,000 tons. For that, it will allocate KRW2.8tr (USD2.374bn) to its factories in South Korea, North America, and Europe. Citing the founder of EcoPro BM, Lee Dong-che, the enterprise will start building cathode factories in the US and Eastern Europe next year, as it needs to aggressively boost production in response to the fast-growing EV market. According to a report by Canalys, the global electric car sales surged 160% YoY to 2.6m units in the first half of 2021.