SK Innovation to issue $1bn ‘green bond’ for US battery plant

SK Innovation Co., a South Korean refinery-to-battery company, plans to issue a green bond worth 1.09 trillion won ($1 billion) to expand its electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing capacity in the US, officials said on Wednesday.

SK battery America Inc., the Korean firm’s U.S. subsidiary, will issue the green bond, a type of financing for eco-friendly projects, later this month to build its second EV battery plant in Georgia, a company spokesperson said.

The new fund will be an extension of $670 million of green financing injected in SK battery America last year, reports Yonhap news agency.

In March 2019, SK Innovation broke ground on its first EV battery production line in Georgia with a $1.67 billion investment.

To handle rising demand for EV batteries, SK Innovation in July started building a second factory at the complex with an additional investment of $940 million, with a goal of starting manufacturing in 2023.

SK Innovation said its first plant in Georgia is 90 per cent complete and ready for pilot production in the first half of this year.

The two plants in the US are expected to have a total annual capacity of 21.5 gigawatt hours, which is enough to power more than 300,000 electric vehicles, it noted.

SK Innovation shipped 6.5 GWh equivalents of EV batteries in the first 11 months of 2020, accounting for 5.5 percent of the global market and taking fifth place, according to SNE Research.