Umicore recently entered into an agreement to sell all of its shares in beLife to its joint venture partner Prayon. beLife was created by both shareholders in order to demonstrate the industrial scale production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material and to qualify this material at some of the major global Li-ion battery makers.
Prayon and major cathode material producer Pulead (China) and phosphate leader Prayon (Belgium) have entered into an agreement to form a joint venture for the manufacture and sale of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) under licence from LiFePO4+C Licensing LLC. (Earlier post.)
The Li-ion battery industry is expected to grow significantly in the next decade. In view of the China-centered growth of LFP in the coming years, a locally focused organization is critical to participate in this segment of the market, Umicore said.
We are pleased with all the progress we have achieved with our JV-partner of beLife in recent years. Umicore has decided to further strengthen its efforts in NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) and high energy LCO (lithium cobaltite) cathode materials. These are the materials of choice in the fast growing automotive segment and portable electronic segment respectively.—Kurt Vandeputte, Vice President of Umicore’s Rechargeable Battery Materials business unit
The share transfer is expected to take place in early 2016 and will have no material impact on Umicore’s financial results.