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SK Innovation says will buy more EV battery materials in hopes of veto

SK Innovation's plant site in Georgia (SK Innovation)
SK Innovation's plant site in Georgia (SK Innovation)
SK Innovation said Wednesday it is in talks to purchase more cathodes, one of the four key components of lithium-ion batteries, as an apparent demonstration of confidence in future orders.

The prospective supply deal with South Korean cathode materials manufacturer L&F came just days before the April 11 deadline for President Joe Biden’s veto of a US trade court’s decision to sanction SKI from doing business in the US for 10 years.

By law, the US president can override the US International Trade Commission’s final ruling on the trade secret case between the company and its archrival LG Energy Solution.

According to industry sources, batteries using L&F’s cathodes will be supplied to Volkswagen EVs in Europe and the United States.

“When the deal is finalized, we will officially announce it in the middle of April. The deal is imminent,” an SKI official said. The exact size of the deal is unknown and the duration of the deal is expected from three years to maximum five years.

For stealing battery trade secrets from LG Energy Solution, SKI was slapped with a 10-year ban by the USITC on the import, sale and production of EV batteries in the US.

The USITC allowed carve-outs for Volkswagen and Ford, allowing the firm to continue supplying batteries to the firms’ US production lines for two and four years, respectively.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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