Samsung SDI and EcoPro BM have decided to construct a joint venture in Pohang that will mass-produce cathode materials for electric vehicles. Cathode material is one of four key materials of a battery and it is an important material that determines main characteristics of a battery such as capacity and output. Samsung SDI’s decision to construct a joint venture shows that the company is accelerating its effort to strengthen its competitive edge in battery materials.
Samsung SDI and EcoPro BM held a groundbreaking ceremony for the joint venture at the Yeongil Industrial Complex in Pohang on Wednesday with major personnel such as CEO Jun Young-hyun of Samsung SDI, Chairman Lee Dong-chae of EcoPro BM, and President Choi Moon-ho of EcoPro BM in attendance.
$163 million (180 billion KRW) will be invested in the joint venture that will be completed in December next year and begin mass-production of next-generation high-nickel cathode materials (31,000 tons annually). The companies plan to invest twice more than their original investment by 2025 in order to increase the annual production capacity by 2.5 times. Their goal is to build a plant that will have the highest cathode material production capacity in the world.
The decision to build a joint venture was made as Samsung SDI has been looking to strengthen its competitive edge in battery materials while EcoPro BM has been looking to secure stable suppliers.

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<Samsung SDI and EcoPro BM held a groundbreaking ceremony for a joint venture called EcoPro EM with many major personnel from the two companies and Pohang-si in attendance.>

Cathode material is a key material that determines battery performance. Because it is responsible for about 40 to 50% of production cost, it is directly connected to competitive pricing of battery.
EcoPro BM is the biggest cathode materials supplier in South Korea. It is the only cathode materials supplier in the world that supplies both NCA (Nickel, Cobalt, Aluminum) and NCM (Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese) cathode materials. With a joint venture for cathode materials, the company has secured stable amount of orders.
Samsung SDI believes that smooth procurement of cathode materials is a key competitive edge for the future. As a result, it is carrying out a two-track strategy through its subsidiary STM and the joint venture EcoPro EM.
Samsung SDI transferred its cathode materials production line to STM last year in order to assist its subsidiary strengthen its competitive edge in cathode material by raising the level of professionality in the business.
Because Samsung SDI is also focusing on development of anode materials, it will be interesting to see what investments and partnerships the company will push for in the future for the development of its battery materials technology.
Samsung SDI increased capacity of anode by developing a technology that combines silicon, which is made thousandths of thickness of a hair, and graphite and creates singular compound.
CEO Jun of Samsung SDI said that the future of battery lies on procurement of competitive edge in battery materials and that the company will accelerate development of next-generation batteries through innovative and differentiated materials technologies.
Staff Reporter Kim, Jiwoong |