Volkswagen has now completed the increase in its stake in Chinese battery cell partner Gotion High-Tech announced last year. Volkswagen is now the largest shareholder in the Chinese battery specialist.
The number of Gotion shares held by Volkswagen China rose to 441 million and the shareholding to 26.47 per cent as of 15 December. VW had previously held only a minority stake, as the private placement now completed means VW China has acquired 384 million shares.
The price Volkswagen is paying is based on the share price on 29 May 2020, when the transaction was first announced. Since Gotion’s share price has risen sharply since then, the price is about 68 per cent lower than today’s share price.
With 18.17 per cent, Gotion CEO Li Zhen is the second largest shareholder. Li, however, will continue to hold a powerful position at the battery maker: According to Chinese media reports, Volkswagen China will give up part of its voting rights for at least three years, in line with a “prior commitment”. This is to ensure the “solid development of Gotion” – but Li will remain the “de facto controller”, as CN EV Post puts it.
Since the announcement of the VW investment, Gotion has made enormous progress in expanding its business activities. In September, it announced that it would reach a production capacity of 300 GWh by 2025 – three times as much as previously planned. The company also demonstrated an LFP cell with an energy density of 210 Wh/kg and also started series production of a cell with high nickel content. This is to achieve an energy density of 302 Wh/kg at cell level.
While the relationship with Volkswagen has become increasingly close – Gotion has replaced Northvolt as its partner for battery cell production in Salzgitter and is possibly to build VW’s unified cell in China – the company has also entered into collaborations with other carmakers. In November, a battery deal was signed with Great Wall, and there has also been a partnership with VinFast since August 2021.
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