Verkor secures more than €2B to launch battery gigafactory in France

Verkor, which in April entered a long-term commercial partnership with Renault to supply the equivalent of 12 GWh of batteries each year, recently secured more than €2 billion in financing following the signing of a minimum of €850-million Series C funding, approval of European Investment Bank (EIB) for €600-million debt support and French subsidies for an amount around €650 million, subject to final approval by the European Commission.

This financing will accelerate:

  • The construction of Verkor’s first gigafactory, in Dunkirk, and the manufacture of high performance low-carbon battery cells;
  • Ongoing technological developments at the Verkor Innovation Center (VIC) for new manufacturing technologies and new state-of-the-art product; and
  • Strategic investments across the battery value chain, thereby generating thousands of direct and indirect long-term jobs.

Verkor’s gigafactory will have an initial production capacity of 16 GWh/year. Situated in the Port of Dunkirk, the gigafactory is expected to be operational by 2025 and will create around 1,200 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs.

The largest equity raise for a French start-up. Macquarie Asset Management, via its Energy Transition Solutions Fund, becomes lead investor in Verkor’s Series C funding round. With the recent addition of cornerstone investor Meridiam , they join forces to finance Verkor’s first gigafactory, in Dunkirk, new technological development programs and investments across the low carbon battery value chain.

Macquarie Asset Management, the world’s largest infrastructure manager and a leading energy transition investor, will invest via its specialist Green Investment team. Meridiam, an independent investment Benefit Corporation and asset manager is taking a significant stake in the round and will also play an active role in supporting the development of Verkor’s first Gigafactory.

Also joining in the round are Verkor’s original key industrial and financial partners such as Renault Group, EQT Ventures, EIT InnoEnergy and Sibanye-Stillwater.

The SPI investment fund (Société de projets industriels) which is operated by Bpifrance (the French public investment bank) is increasing its investment in this round, as part of the “Invest for the Future” program. This equity round also benefits from the French insurance ecosystem’s strong support for green reindustrialization, with significant investment from Crédit Agricole Assurances and the Fonds Stratégique de Participations (FSP), operated by ISALT.

Crédit Agricole Assurances, France’s largest insurance group, is a leading institutional investor in renewable sources of energy with 11.8 GW of installed capacity in Europe at the end of 2022. The FSP aims to help the development and transition of French strategic industries by providing significant long-term investment. The Fund is supported by seven leading French insurance companies which will contribute to strengthen Verkor’s growth through their vast ecosystem.

PULSE, the CMA CGM Energy Fund, contributed to the fundraising as part of a broader partnership with Verkor around the supply chain and decarbonization of the transport and logistics industries. Also participating is Netherlands-based Airbridge Investments, a strong supporter of building better and more environmentally conscious businesses. The round size, which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, is a minimum of €850 million and could increase in the following weeks.

National and local authorities fully engaged. Verkor will also receive around €650 million in subsidies primarily from the French State under the “France 2030” plan, including the support of the Hauts-de-France region and the Dunkirk urban community, which will issue €60 million and €30 million in subsidies respectively.

Their support will be subject to final approval by the European Commission within the Framework for State aid for Research and Development and Innovation. It enables an ambitious innovation program performed by Verkor and its partners in advanced manufacturing techniques using digital and recycling technologies. These technologies are being developed at the Verkor Innovation Center in Grenoble and will be scaled up in Verkor’s gigafactory.

Strong support from European public players. This Series C funding comes just after the board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a €600-million support package through project finance debt and intermediated funding lines. This initial support is part of a broader project finance debt currently in progress with commercial banks alongside the EIB.

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