Samsung SDI sees strong lithium-ion battery market; shares hit

SEOUL Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:22am EDT

A visitor walks past the Samsung booth at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 16, 2011. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

A visitor walks past the Samsung booth at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung SDI Co Ltd, the world's No.1 maker of rechargeable batteries, forecast on Wednesday the global lithium-ion battery market would triple by 2015, helping its shares rise nearly 6 percent to a record high.

Rechargeable battery makers, led by Samsung, LG Chem and Sanyo Electric, are betting on strong growth thanks to rising demand from makers of electric cars, smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics products.

Samsung SDI, which counts Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co among its major battery clients, predicted the global lithium-ion battery market would swell to $32 billion in 2015 from $11 billion last year.

The estimate is more bullish than some analysts' predictions, reflecting prospects for the fast-growing electric car battery sector.

Samsung SDI also estimated electric vehicles would account for 7 percent of the global automobile market by 2015, rising to 17 percent by 2020.

Samsung SDI shares ended 4.8 percent higher after climbing as much as 5.8 percent to a fresh record high.

The company said earlier this month that it planned to spend $359 million on battery production this year in order to boost capacity.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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