China’s CATL to invest €240 million in Europe’s first battery cell fab


Representing its first manufacturing facility outside of China and, if completed, the first fab of its kind in Europe, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) will set up shop in Thüringen, Germany. €240 million will be invested in the project by 2022, and 600 new jobs created.

The 14 GWh fab, which is set to be built across a 70 hectare industrial area in Erfurter Kreuz, will focus on the automated and intelligent production of batteries for European manufactured EVs, according to a presentation held by representatives of the Thüringen state, in Berlin on Monday.

“This is the most important industrial investment in Thüringen in the last 10 years,” said Minister of Economic Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee.

Europe is said to be a strategic growth region for lithium-ion battery maker, CATL. There are several reasons why the Chinese manufacturer decided to set up shop in Germany, including proximity to both customers and other manufacturers.

“The construction of a plant for the production of intelligent batteries in Germany is the first step in our investment plan for Europe. It serves the collaboration between European automakers and CATL,” said CEO, Robin Zeng.

Minister Tiefensee described the news as the most important to come out of Thüringen in the past 10 years, staing that it has catapulted the federal state into the European league, at the very least, because it will be the site of Europe’s first battery cell production site.

He believes that in the course of the fab’s construction, even more companies will choose Thüringen as the site for battery production and supply.

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On June 11, CATL, based in southeast China’s Fujian province, raised $852.5 million in an initial public offering, reports Bloomberg NEF, selling 217 million new shares, or 10% of its enlarged capital, at an initial price of RMB 25.14 ($3.92) each, according to Reuters.

Billion dollar BMW deal

Prior to the announcement, Reuters and a BMW blog both reported that car manufacturer, BMW had signed a €4 billion deal with CATL for the delivery of battery cells over the coming years. Reuters added a long-term cooperation contract, with a term of at least 10 years, has been inked, with €1.5 billion worth of orders coming from Germany, and €2.5 billion, from China.

From 2021, CATL is expected to deliver cells from its Thüringen base for BMW’s autonomous EV, iNext.

Neither CATL, nor BMW responded to enquiries from pv magazine.

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