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Autos & Transportation

Volkswagen CEO says European battery plans could include JVs, IPOs

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Volkswagen group CEO Herbert Diess delivers a speech during a visit to the SEAT (Volkswagen group) carmaker's factory in Martorell, near Barcelona, March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Albert Gea

FRANKFURT, May 6 (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) is looking for outside money in its plan to build up to six battery cell factories in Europe by 2030, Chief Executive Herbert Diess said on Thursday, adding he was open to listing some of those activities on the stock exchange.

Diess said the carmaker could not fund these plants alone. "We can't. We are looking for partnerships," he told analysts after presenting first-quarter results.

Volkswagen announced in March the battery factory plans, which are expected to have a capacity of 240 gigawatt hours.

As part of the deal, Volkswagen has raised its 20% stake in Northvolt and also taken over the Swedish firm's stake in a planned battery cell venture in the German city of Salzgitter, which will form the second factory from 2025.

This will be followed by a factory in Spain, France or Portugal in 2026 and a site in Poland, Slovakia or the Czech Republic by 2027. Two more plants will be set up by 2030.

"And I hope that within the next couple of months, we are able to announce the next sites and the next partnerships, even I wouldn't exclude IPOing some of the activities," Diess said.

He said options included entering joint ventures with existing battery cell suppliers and that there was strong interest from other industries and local governments to co-invest in batteries.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz Editing by Madeline Chambers

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