January 30, 2017 / 11:07 AM / 8 months ago

Chinese battery maker CATL buys stake in Finnish car supplier

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) has bought a 22 percent stake in Finnish auto supplier Valmet Automotive to expand in the European electric car market.

The Chinese company, which bought its stake for an undisclosed sum via a new share issue, said on Monday it would partner with the Finnish firm to supply European carmakers with battery packs and drivetrain solutions for electric cars.

“Our shared aim is to develop a strong position in the European electrical vehicles market,” CATL Chief Operating Officer Jia Zhou said in a statement.

CATL, which is looking to list on Beijing’s exchange, plans to build a factory in Europe.

CATL tripled its production capacity for lithium-ion car batteries last year and plans to grow its battery capacity sixfold by 2020 to 50 gigawatt hours, which could put it ahead of Tesla Motor Inc’s (TSLA.O) Gigafactory in Nevada.

Valmet Automotive currently builds Mercedes-Benz SUV’s for Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) at its plant in southern Finland where it previously built Fisker’s Karma hybrid luxury cars.

Its other owners are private equity firm Pontos and state-owned Finnish Industry Investment.

Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Jussi Rosendahl and Mark Potter

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