SK On, a battery affiliate of SK Group, has completed an equity investment in Changzhou BTR New Material Technology, a joint venture it established with its Chinese partners EVE Energy and BTR.
EVE Energy is a battery manufacturer, while BTR is a developer of battery raw materials. Established in January 2017, BTR is a subsidiary of China’s Baoan Group. It is focusing on research and development of battery cathode materials. It has technologies to produce cathode materials for NCM, NCA and LFP batteries.
SK On acquired a 31.3 percent stake in the joint venture by investing 438 million yuan (about 84.7 billion won) on July 15. This was about 6 percentage points higher than the 25 percent stake that SK On had agreed to acquire earlier. SK On became the second-largest shareholder after BTR. The joint plant will have an annual production capacity of up to 50,000 tons of cathode materials.
Cathode material prices have risen sharply over the past few years. According to SK On’s semiannual report, the price of cathode material stood at 25,209 won per kg in 2020, but rose to 27,952 won in 2021 and then surged to 67,800 won in the first half of this year.
SK On aims to stabilize cathode materials prices and strengthen the battery supply chain in China. The Korean battery maker is operating battery factories in Changzhou, Huizhou, and Yancheng and their combined capacity amounts to 77GWh.