South Korea's EcoPro BM to invest in $810 mln cathode plant in Hungary

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Hungary's Minister for External Economy and Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto gestures during a General Affairs meeting in Luxembourg June 22, 2021. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

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BUDAPEST, Dec 8 (Reuters) - South Korea's EcoPro BM (247540.KQ) plans to build a factory in Hungary to produce cathodes used in electric car batteries, Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a Facebook video on Wednesday.

The investment is worth 264 billion forints ($810 million) and the first phase of the construction is planned to be finished by the second half of 2024 in the eastern town of Debrecen. The second phase will finish a year later.

"As the car industry constitutes 30% of the total manufacturing industry output, it is decisive for future economic growth to attract more and more investment in the electric car sector into Hungary," Szijjarto said.

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He said the Hungarian government was providing a grant to EcoPro BM, the amount of which will be published after the European Commission is notified of the deal.

The plant will have a capacity to produce 108,000 tonnes of cathodes annually, enough to supply 1.35 million electric cars.

"The fast-growing European market is a very good opportunity for EcoPro ... this is our first foreign investment and an important step," EcoPro BM's CEO Kwon Woo-seuk said after the agreement.

Ecopro Co Ltd (086520.KQ) is a Korea-based company principally engaged in the manufacture and sale of secondary battery materials.

($1 = 325.8400 forints)

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Reporting by Anita Komuves; editing by David Evans

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