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LG Group joins investment in EV battery startup SES

SES to go public by merging with Ivanhoe SPAC

By Jul 14, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo (right) set up LG Technology Ventures in 2018 when he took office.
LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo (right) set up LG Technology Ventures in 2018 when he took office.

South Korea’s LG Group invested in an electric vehicle battery startup SES Holdings Pte (SES) in a bid to secure future growth business.

LG Technology Ventures, the group’s venture capital, joined a private investment in public equity (PIPE), which SES carried out before a merger with Ivanhoe Capital Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The investors in the $200 million PIPE include General Motors (GM), Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Corp., Geely Holding Group, SAIC Motor, Foxconn, Fidelity Investments Canada ULC and Franklin Templeton, SES said on July 13 when it announced a timetable for its listing.

SES agreed to go public by merging with Ivanhoe in a deal that will value the combined company at about $3.6 billion. The shares of the combined company are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SES from mid-November since the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) usually spends four months to review application for a company listing.

The startup, formerly known as SolidEnergy Systems, proved its growth potential by securing investments from not only global automakers but also leading battery makers including LG and SK Group.

SK Group is SES’ second-largest shareholder with a 12.7% stake following its largest shareholder Qichao Hu, the founder and chief executive of SES.

Hyundai Motor was set to invest $100 million in the company to obtain next-generation technologies for its in-house battery development, according to investment banking industry sources earlier this month.

In May, SES already entered into its joint development agreement with Hyundai and Kia to develop "A-Sample" Li-Metal batteries for Hyundai's EVs. This followed the March announcing of a joint development agreement with GM, a supporter of SES since 2015, to deliver a high-performance "A-Sample" Li-Metal EV battery at a new pre-production manufacturing facility in the Boston, Massachusetts.

Write to Dong-Hui Park at donghuip@hankyung.com

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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