While the Covid-19 pandemic has dented demand for electric vehicles this year, a South Korean supplier expects its battery sales to reach a new high thanks to strength in Europe and a contract with Tesla Inc.’s factory in China.
Revenue at LG Chem Ltd.’s battery business will reach a record of about 13 trillion won ($11 billion) this year, before hitting 30 trillion won in 2025, Chief Executive Officer Hak Cheol Shin said in an interview at his office in Seoul.
“We have no problem in our supply chain and can deliver all of the orders from customers this year despite the coronavirus,” Shin said.
Even with demand for rechargeable batteries seen slumping for the first time ever in 2020, South Korean makers posted sales gains in the first half. The Asian nation’s suppliers particularly benefited from European governments using virus recovery funds to help boost EV sales as well as new models from automakers including Volkswagen AG, according to SNE Research.
Sales at LG Chem jumped 83% to 10.5 gigawatt hours, lifted by rising demand for Tesla’s Model 3 sedans in China as well as for Renault SA’s Zoe cars, SNE Research said. That helped LG Chem, whose stock has more than doubled this year to a record high market value of about $44 billion, take the market lead over China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. The Korean company’s shares rose as much as 11.5% Friday morning after Bloomberg published the first version of this story. CATL fell as much as 4.4% amid general weakness in Chinese stocks.
“The point is how much LG will be able to get orders from Tesla, because everyone agrees Tesla will lead the electric-car market,” said Hwang Kyu-Won, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea Co. “However, if other automakers catch up with Tesla, that might be good news for LG Chem too, because of its diversified customers.”read more