French start-up raises €2bn for Dunkirk battery plant

Dunkirk battery plant
In June this year, Verkor opened an innovation centre in its home town of Grenoble (Verkor)

French battery start-up Verkor has secured over €2bn to fund an electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in Dunkirk.

The company received €600m from the European Investment Bank and €650m in state subsidies, which are subject to European Commission approval.

Other investors include Australian firm Macquarie Asset Management, Meridiam, the state-owned investment fund SPI of BPI France, and Verkor’s original partners, Renault SA and EQT Ventures.

The gigafactory will make high-performance low-carbon battery cells. It is expected to create 1,200 jobs and will have an initial production capacity of 16GWh a year when the factory becomes operational by 2025.

The move comes a month after the French government agreed to give €1.5bn to Taiwanese battery maker ProLogium to build a factory near Dunkirk. That plant’s value is expected to be €5.2bn, with ground being broken next year (see further reading).

Grenoble-based Verkor said the successful funding round proved the robustness of its development plan.

Bloomberg notes that the investment aligns with President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to attract investment in EVs and compete with green technology incentives in the US and Asia. 

Macron said the finance was “a bold signal of our ambition for reindustrialisation”.

Benoit Lemaignan, Verkor’s chief executive, said the firm was “now on track to becoming one of the leading European battery manufacturers”.

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