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SK Nexilis, Toyota Tsusho to set up battery materials JV

By Byun Hye-jin

Published : July 31, 2023 - 15:26

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SKC CEO Park Won-cheol (right) and Toyota Tsusho Corp. CEO Ichiro Kashitani shake hands during a signing ceremony on setting up a battery copper foil joint venture in North America at Toyota Tsusho Corp. headquarters in Aichi, Nagoya, Japan. (SKC) SKC CEO Park Won-cheol (right) and Toyota Tsusho Corp. CEO Ichiro Kashitani shake hands during a signing ceremony on setting up a battery copper foil joint venture in North America at Toyota Tsusho Corp. headquarters in Aichi, Nagoya, Japan. (SKC)

SK Nexilis, an SKC subsidiary, said Monday it has partnered up with Japan-based Toyota Tsusho Corp. to set up a joint venture and produce copper foil for electric vehicle rechargeable batteries in North America.

Under the joint investment, SK Nexilis will be in charge of copper foil production, while Toyota Tsusho Corp. plans to secure battery makers in North America. Copper foil is used as a key anode material for lithium-ion batteries.

Details such as the size of the deal and the location where the joint plant will be built were not disclosed.

The two also made agreements to bolster ties in supplying raw materials for copper foils in North America. Toyota Tsusho Corp. already mines and refines lithium in Argentina which could be helpful for the Korean company to secure more raw materials needed for its production facilities in North America, SK Nexilis said.

SKC CEO Park Won-cheol, SK Nexilis CEO Lee Jae-hong, Toyota Tsusho Corp. CEO Ichiro Kashitani, Toyota Tsusho Corp. Vice President Sago Akihiro and other executives participated in the signing ceremony held at the Japanese company headquarters in Nagoya, Japan.

“Based on the deal, we look to global production bases that connect Asia, Europe and North America,” said an SKC official.

“SK Nexilis’ world-class expertise in copper foil manufacturing and Toyota Tsusho Corp.’s competitive edge in supplying and selling key materials for rechargeable batteries will lay a solid ground for the two companies to expand presence in the global markets.”

With the new project set to start in North America, SK Nexilis said its global business will gain momentum. Its battery copper foil manufacturing plant in Malaysia will begin operations this year, and its copper foil plant in Poland is scheduled to complete construction next year.

According to SKC, battery production is expected to surge in North America starting from 2025. But the current annual production volume is less than 1,000 metric tons, opening up more business opportunities for Korean companies.