By Kim Kwang-tae
SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- LG Chem Wroclaw Energy, the Polish subsidiary of South Korea's top chemical firm LG Chem Ltd., has signed a 480 million-euro (US$530 million) loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank said.
The bank said the loan will be used for the construction and operation of manufacturing facilities in Wroclaw, southwestern Poland, for advanced lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells and batteries for electric vehicles.
The financing will cover around a third of total project costs, estimated at 1.5 billion euros. The remainder will come from LG Chem's own resources and from other financing sources, according to the bank.
Earlier this month, LG Chem acquired a Turkish television assembly factory in Poland for $31.4 million to expand its plant for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The television assembly factory is located next to LG Chem's EV battery plant in Wroclaw.
The EIB-backed project will have an annual production capacity of over 35 gigawatt-hours, which could potentially power more than 500,000 zero-emission electric cars per year, according to the bank.
European Investment Bank Vice President Teresa Czerwinska, who oversees operations in Poland, said the deal will help Europe build a critical mass in electric vehicle battery production at a pivotal time of EV commercialization in Europe.
"It promotes a shift to electromobility and to a greener automotive industry," Czerwinska said in comments posted on the bank's website Thursday.
Currently, LG Chem has five battery plants in South Korea, China, the United States and Poland, with a combined capacity of 70 gigawatt-hours.
LG Chem supplies EV batteries to 13 of the top 20 car brands, including German automaker Volkswagen, French carmaker Renault, American auto giant General Motors and South Korea's largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor.
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