Tesla Battery Supplier LG Chem Says Exploring Joint Ventures With 'Couple' Of Automakers

LG Chem Ltd. CEO Hak Cheol Shin told Reuters Friday that the company was in talks with a “couple” of automakers to set up battery manufacturing joint ventures.

What Happened: Shin didn't provide further details or name the companies LG Chem is in discussions with.

The LG Chem CEO pointed to the joint ventures the battery maker has already established with General Motors Company GM and Geely Automobile Holdings Limited GELYF, adding, "we have ongoing discussions with a couple of other automakers.”

Shin claimed that Tesla Inc TSLA, which is one of its key customers, is not one of the companies it is in discussions with — for the joint ventures. 

The Korean firm supplies batteries for Model 3 sedans built at Tesla’s China Gigafactory, which Shin described as a “good partnership,” and hoped could be expanded further.

Shin told Reuters that LG Chem is searching for a site for a new battery factory in Europe.

Why It Matters: LG Chem emerged as the largest electric vehicle battery supplier in the first half of 2020, SNE research said in August.  The company gained from a spike in demand for Tesla’s Model 3 vehicles in China and Renault SA's RNLSY Zoe model.

This month, the Seoul-headquartered company preannounced a 159% profit growth to $785.33 million for the third quarter.

LG Chem expects its revenue to more than double at $25.3 billion in five years, Shin told Bloomberg in August. 

European demand for EVs is reportedly benefiting the company as governments on the continent are using COVID-19 recovery funds to boost EV sales.

The Elon Musk-led Tesla is reportedly seeking to acquire a stake in LG Chem so as to secure a new supply of batteries.

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