French battery startup Verkor raised more than €2 billion ($2.2 billion) to fund a factory in northern France as well as research as President Emmanuel Macron steps up efforts to attract electric-vehicle investments.
(Bloomberg) — French battery startup Verkor raised more than €2 billion ($2.2 billion) to fund a factory in northern France as well as research as President Emmanuel Macron steps up efforts to attract electric-vehicle investments.
The new €1.5 billion plant, located in the port of Dunkirk, will create 1,200 jobs, Verkor Chief Executive Officer Benoit Lemaignan said in a phone interview. It will have initial production capacity of 16 gigawatt hours a year and is expected to be operational by 2025.
The factory is among four of its kind planned in France, as Macron pushes to compete with green-technology incentives in the US and Asia.
Investors including Macquarie Asset Management, Meridiam, state-owned Bpifrance’s SPI investment fund as well as Verkor’s original partners Renault SA and EQT Ventures joined the Series-C funding round, according to a statement Thursday. The wider deal included about €650 million in French subsidies at both national and local level.
The investments in Verkor are “a bold sign of our ambition for re-industrialization,” Macron said. “It also demonstrates the full coherence of our innovation policy at national and European level, with the support of everyone, investors, large companies and local territories.”
The deal comes on the heels of another win for Macron, after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that officials are investigating China’s subsidies policies for EV makers.
The area around Dunkirk has been attracting other investments, such as those from Taiwanese battery maker ProLogium Technology Co., thanks to its location close to electric-car factories in France and neighboring nations, its deep-water harbor and rail connections that can be used for exports.
Grenoble-based Verkor earlier this year announced a deal to supply Renault with high-performance batteries starting in 2025 for vehicles such as the upcoming Alpine electric C-Crossover GT. Renault, which used to own about 20% of Verkor, will end up having a smaller stake after the fundraising but remains an important shareholder, Verkor said.
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