(LG Energy Solution)
The ambitious plan comes as the world’s second-largest battery maker for electric vehicles reported its second-quarter earnings earlier in the day.
In the April-June period, the company posted 5.1 trillion won in sales and 195.6 billion won in operating profits. While sales were up 1.2 percent compared to a year ago, operating profits tumbled 73 percent over the past year.
Chief Financial Officer Lee Chang-sil did not put too much emphasis on the weaker earnings, saying the drastic decline is the outcome of one-time spending on license fees and settlement payments.
He offered an upbeat outlook for the second half, citing new car launches by its automotive partners, the operation of its first joint venture plant with GM and more orders coming from key clients that would drive up sales and profits overall.
The company projected sales in the second half to jump 48 percent to 12.6 trillion won year-on-year, raising the annual sales target by almost 10 percent to 22 trillion won, up from the 17.9 trillion won in sales last year.
As part of its mid- to long-term strategy, the company aims to elevate annual production capacity to 540 gigawatt-hours by 2025 across all regions. North America will take up the largest at 45 percent, followed by Asia with 35 percent and Europe with 20 percent.
The fast-growing US EV market is expected to be a key market for its aggressive expansion.
It aims to expand joint ventures for pouch and cylindrical batteries for strategic customers and EV startups in North America.
Regarding the delayed construction of its new 1.7 trillion won cylindrical battery plant in the US state of Arizona, the company said a final decision will be made soon. Earlier this month, the company said it was reviewing the feasibility of the new plant, citing inflation fears and unfavorable foreign exchange movement.
CFO Lee denied that the ongoing review was indicating any changes in its supply deals with carmakers or in the demand for EV batteries.
“Hit hard by inflation woes in the US, overall costs are rising on construction, logistics and the workforce,” he said. “It is true that there are uncertainties surrounding our mid- to long-term capacity expansion plans. Still, the demand for EV batteries is expected to remain robust.”
The company said it also plans to start selling lithium ion phosphate (LFP) batteries produced at its China plant in 2023 and to add a new LFP battery production line at its factory in the US state of Michigan in 2024.
It added it was working on next-generation batteries as well, including the more efficient 46 millimeter-wide and 80 millimeter-long 4680 cylindrical battery pack.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)