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July 7, 2021

Verkor raises EUR100m for Grenoble battery cells

Localised battery manufacturing ramping up across Europe.

By Simon Warburton

Verkor has raised EUR100m (US$118m) in funding one year after its launch.

Co-led by EQT Ventures and Renault, with participation from the French government and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, the funding will support the company’s expansion and trigger the construction of the Verkor Innovation Centre (VIC), where the battery cells and modules will be designed to support Europe’s net-zero goals.

Also participating in the round were EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC, Schneider Electric, Capgemini, Arkema, Tokai COBEX and the Fund for Ecologic Modernisation of Transport (FMET), managed by Demeter.

The ten partners want to build a competitive, sustainable and local battery cell value chain in Europe. Verkor maintains it will deliver on this with a battery cell manufacturing capacity of 16 GWh in 2024, scaling to +50 GWh by 2030.

The VIC will be located in Grenoble and operational in 2022.

It will accommodate a pilot line for battery cell manufacturing, an R&D centre, testing facilities, module prototyping and provide training for engineers and technicians.

“We are honoured to have shareholders of such a high quality on board with us,” said Verkor CEO, Benoit Lemaignan, at a signing ceremony in Paris. “I want to thank our team for what we have achieved together in less than a year of existence.”

“Our new shareholding structure totally reflects our ambition: an end-to-end approach to battery manufacturing, each of us focusing on what we do best, while cross-fertilising our expertise.”

For her part, French Minister of Industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, added: “I welcome this new partnership which is another building block in the industrial and technological ecosystem for batteries in France and in Europe. With the automotive industry facing unprecedented challenges, the investments we make today will turn into tomorrow’s jobs.

“We are supporting Verkor’s growth through CORAM, the French orientation committee for automotive and mobility research, which is financed by the French future investment programme, the PIA. Our goal is to accelerate the development of digital processes for battery cell manufacturing, which will be implemented in the future gigafactory”.

Verkor will benefit from the industrial experience of new shareholders Arkema and Tokai COBEX, a manufacturer of low-carbon, battery anode materials. Demeter, an energy transition private equity fund also steps in with its Fund for Ecological Modernisation of transport (FMET), while the French Government, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and Bpifrance will provide financial support for the R&D programme.

The news follows the signing of a partnership between Verkor and Renault, through which Verkor will supply an initial capacity of at least 10 GWh per year for the C and higher segments of the Renault range, as well as for the Alpine models.

“Verkor will now benefit from the industrial expertise of new shareholders Arkema, a leader in high-performance specialty materials and Tokai COBEX, a speciality manufacturer of low-carbon, ultra-efficient battery anode materials,” said a Verkor statement.

“Demeter, a major energy transition private equity fund also steps in with its Fund for Ecological Modernisation of transport (FMET), while the French Government, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and Bpifrance will provide financial support for the R&D programme.”

Barber Hauler Capital Advisers, Santander Corporate & Investment Banking, acted as financial advisors to the company and De Gaulle and Fleurance & Associés as legal advisors.

Verkor brings five new partners on board, raising €100m to develop high-performance sustainable battery cells in France

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