LG Chem to greatly expand battery materials business

South Korean chemical company LG Chem has revealed its plans to increase its battery materials sales more than six-fold by 2030. The company’s new business strategy will expand its portfolio beyond cathode materials.

LG Chem aims to increase sales from the battery materials business from 4.7 trillion won (3.6 billion euros) in 2022 to 30 trillion won (23.5 billion euros) in 2030. According to the company, this will make it “the world’s leading supplier of battery materials”. This would require an average annual growth rate of 26 per cent.

In addition to its well-established business in cathode materials, LG Chem plans to cultivate its business in battery materials such as separators and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Efforts in research and development will include new materials such as pure silicon anode materials and solid-state battery electrolytes.

The company’s market leadership in producing cathodes is to be strengthened by establishing a global production system connecting Korea, China, the USA and Europe. Global partnerships should also be cemented to secure the company’s metal supply chain. Various initiatives in China, North America, Australia and Korea will include establishing joint ventures for precursors, signing lithium contracts, and making equity investments with major players, including Huayou Cobalt, Piedmont Lithium and Korea Energy Management Cooperation (KEMCO).

LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol said: “We have been making grinding efforts to revolutionize our overall business management system – we have reformed our business portfolio, established business processes based on digital transformation (DX), and reinforced operational capabilities of our offices in four major global regions.”

The production capacity for cathode materials should expand from 120,000 tonnes in the current year to 470,000 tonnes in 2028. In November 2022, for example, it was announced that LG Chem plans to build the largest cathode materials factory in the US in Tennessee.

In the separator market, LG Chem plans to expand its presence in the US and European markets – partly because separators are classified as battery components under the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). In this area, LG Chem plans to further collaborate with the Japanese materials company Toray “to leverage its exclusive, world-class coating technology and unique fabric technology”. The two companies established a joint venture for battery separators in Hungary in 2021. LG Chem also plans to expand its business with other battery materials such as CNTs, anode binders and cathode dispersants – here, it is looking for partners in a similar way as with Toray for separators.

Plans include consolidating the company’s technological leadership by expanding its high-nickel cathode product lineup for pouch-type and cylindrical batteries, mass-producing ultra-high-nickel cathodes. These should have a nickel content of 95 per cent. The focus on high-nickel cathodes should revolve around three key areas of market, technology and metal sourcing. Focus will also be placed on high-voltage mid-nickel (Mid-Ni), lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and manganese-rich (Mn-Rich) cathode materials.

The targets mentioned here relate exclusively to the battery materials business under the LG Chem label. The subsidiary LG Energy Solution, which has operated independently as a battery cell manufacturer since 2020, is not included – even though LGES is an important customer for battery materials.

The new business strategy marks a shift from LG Chem’s petrochemical-centric portfolio to becoming a “top global science company.” The company’s plans not only encompass battery materials but also “sustainability business and innovative new drugs.” These three fields are expected to increase from what was 21 per cent of the company’s sales in 2022 up to 57 per cent of the company’s total sales in 2030.


1 Comment

about „LG Chem to greatly expand battery materials business“
Maryjane Carmine-McMillin
21.07.2023 um 08:29
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