Categories: Environment

Batteries: Verkor achieves record fundraising for its Dunkirk gigafactory

The French start-up Verkor has completed a record fundraising of two billion euros for its battery factory in the north of France.

The French start-up Verkor took a decisive step on Thursday towards the realization of its ambitious battery factory. The company managed to complete a record fundraising round, arousing the enthusiasm of both private investors and the French state. The objective is to face Asian competition and stimulate the production of electric cars in Europe.

Verkor announced that it had brought together “more than 2 billion euros” for his project, including a record amount “ of at least 850 million euros » from private investors. This is the largest fundraising ever carried out by a French start-up.

An important battery factory for France

This sum is supplemented by a public subsidy of around 650 million euros (subject to validation by the European Commission) and a loan of 600 million euros from the European Investment Bank.

Emmanuel Macron warmly welcomed this success in a company press release, describing this round of funding as “strong signal on our reindustrialization ambition”. He also stressed that France “attracts investments, strengthens its industrial sector while decarbonizing its economy and creating jobs”.

This operation propelled the valuation of Verkor to “more than a billion euros”according to Benoit Lemaignan, co-founder and president of the company, who indicated that the total amount could increase over the weeks.

Founded in 2020, Verkor recently inaugurated its high-power battery pilot plant in Grenoble, and it intends to open its giant battery factory in Dunkirk by 2025. This project promises to create 1,200 direct jobs and initially produce 16 gigawatt hours (GWh) of batteries per year.

The first construction works are already underway, and the financing guarantees an efficient implementation of the factory. Verkor is closely monitored by the French government, because this factory is supposed to contribute to the objective of producing two million electric cars in France by 2030thus “ending” years of outsourcing in the automotive sector.

Who are the main investors?

This fundraising saw the participation of a wide range of investors. Australian asset manager Macquarie Asset Management is the “lead investor”, with the support of Meridiam, a French company specializing in infrastructure, which contributed €200 million. These two entities will become the first shareholders of Verkor.

Other key players also took part in this initiative, including Crédit Agricole Assurances and the Fonds Stratégique de Participations (FSP), an alliance of seven French insurance companies.

Renault, which has committed to purchasing a large part of Verkor’s battery production, also contributed to this fundraising. Verkor batteries will equip future Alpine models, as well as “other vehicles from higher segments from 2025”according to Luca de Meo, the boss of Renault Group.

Let us remember that France is in the process of becoming a major hub for the production of batteries for electric vehicles. Further south, in Douvrin (North), Stellantis, TotalEnergies and Mercedes have established the first French battery factory for electric cars, in partnership with their joint venture Automotive Cells Company (ACC). In addition, Renault also plans to open its own factory in 2024, in collaboration with the Chinese group AESC-Envision, also in the Northern region, in Douai.

Read also :
• France inaugurates its first battery factory
• How many battery factories are there in Europe?
• How many jobs will be created thanks to the new battery factories in France?

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