Brussels — Umicore has announced an investment programme of € 300 million between 2017 and 2019 to further increase its production of NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) cathode materials for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. NMC is the preferred cathode material technology for rechargeable batteries used in vehicle electrification and global demand is increasing fast.
The demand for Umicore’s 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.
This programme 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.
Umicore’s NMC cathode materials are key ingredients in battery technology to extend the driving range of electrified vehicles and to make them more affordable. Umicore’s twenty years of accumulated expertise in battery materials technology, its early qualification for transportation applications, extensive IP portfolio and unrivalled ability to scale up have made it a leader in this domain.
Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore, commented: „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.“