Umicore will invest €300 million (US$328 million) between 2017 and 2019 to further increase its production of NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) cathode materials for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. NMC is a preferred cathode material technology for rechargeable batteries used in vehicle electrification and global demand is increasing fast.
Umicore said the demand for its NMC materials is outpacing the market by a significant margin and the increased capacity will enable Umicore to cater for a surge in customer orders. The investment will also enable Umicore to meet growing demand for its proprietary high-energy LCO (lithium cobalt oxide) cathode materials used in high-end consumer electronics.
While Umicore positions NMC as the high-energy platform for choice for battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, it also offers NCA and NMC as high-power solution for conventional hybrid electric vehicles. Umicore says that its materials can be found in more than 15 electrified cars that are on the market today.
This expansion program entails further investments in Cheonan (South Korea) and Jiangmen (China) with the first production lines expected to be commissioned in late 2018. Combined with the €160-million investment announced last year, this will result in a more than six-fold increase in total capacity by 2020 compared to the levels of 2015.
The scale and scope of the investments underscore Umicore's leadership in clean mobility materials and our commitment to support the rapid growth of our customers. It is rewarding that our strategic choices are now starting to bear fruit and we are excited about the prospects for our business.—Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore
Umicore is a global materials technology and recycling group. It comprises three main business groups: Catalysis, Energy & Surface Technologies and Recycling. Each business group is divided into market-focused business units.
Umicore generates the majority of its revenues from and dedicates most of its R&D efforts to clean mobility materials and recycling. The Group generated a turnover of €11.1 billion (€ 2.7 billion excluding metal) in 2016 and currently employs some 10,100 people.