Verkor secures billion euro loan to complete cell factory

French battery manufacturer and Renault partner Verkor has secured €1.3 billion in financing for its battery cell factory in northern France. The plant has been under construction since autumn 2023 and will be open in 2025.

According to a company statement, Verkor has secured over 1.3 billion euros from 16 commercial and three public banks. The battery manufacturer aims to connect the factory in Dunkirk to the grid next year. It will have an annual capacity of 16 GWh. Verkor has raised a total of more than 3 billion euros in capital for the factory and its research centre so far.

Among the investors is the European Investment Bank with 400 million euros, of which 270 million euros are direct loans under the European Commission’s InvestEU mandate and 130 million euros are intermediated loans to the commercial banks involved. These, in turn, provide 961 million euros, of which the French government guarantees 353 million euros. Verkor mentions the Banque des Territoires separately, which grants the company a bridging loan of 130 million euros and then a subordinated loan of 150 million euros.

According to Verkor CEO Benoit Lemaignan, the debt financing will enable his company to finalise the construction of its Gigafactory. “The participation of 19 leading banks in demonstrates the credibility of our project, and enables us to accelerate our drive to become one of Europe’s leading battery manufacturers. We are also delighted that this financing takes the form of an unprecedented ‘green loan’,” he says.

The Verkor plant is currently being built in the port of Dunkirk and will create around 1,200 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs. Expanding capacity from an initial 16 GWh to 50 GWh is planned by 2030. In September 2023, Verkor had already received more than two billion euros in fresh capital, which will flow into the construction of the battery cell factory in Dunkerque and the research and development activities in Grenoble.

The primary customer for the battery cells will be the Renault Group. The car manufacturer entered into a strategic partnership with Verkor in 2021, which was converted into a commercial partnership, i.e. a binding supply contract, in April 2023. Together, the companies want to develop and manufacture high-performance batteries for Renault EVs from the C segment upwards and for Alpine models. According to an earlier announcement, Renault intends to purchase ten GWh from Verkor from 2026 and then 20 GWh from 2030, while Verkor’s research and development is based in Grenoble. It is where the Verkor Innovation Centre (VIC) is located, which started operations at the end of June 2023.

Dunkirk is thus becoming an ever-larger battery hub. A battery cell factory from ProLogium, a battery recycling plant from Eramet and Suez, and a cathode material plant from XTC and Orano are also being built there – and Envision’s battery factory in Douai, which is currently under construction, is not far away either.


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