South Korean EV battery makers agree to end a $1.8bn row

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The leading South Korean producers of batteries for electric vehicles SK Innovation and LG Chem announced they had reached an agreement to end a $1.8bn worth painful dispute, Reuters reported. The deal will facilitate the efforts of the two firms t stay on top of battery developments. LG Energy Solution, a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Chem, and SK Innovation also agreed to drop all litigation in the United States and South Korea and not to sue each other for 10 years, after the core dispute had threatened the EV plans of Ford and Volkswagen.

“This agreement has resolved uncertainties about the growth of the battery business and our pursuit of the US market,” SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun said in a message to employees seen by Reuters. “It will enable us to accelerate the construction of the Georgia, US plant and actively promote additional investment and cooperation in line with the development of the US and global EV industry.” Ford said in a statement that it was pleased the battery makers had settled their differences, and that the agreement allowed Ford to focus on delivering EVs for retail and fleet customers. However, analysts said the companies’ lawsuit-free future partly depended on how they responded to Volkswagen’s decision last month to move the bulk of its cars to a new unified prismatic battery and away from the pouch-style manufactured by LG and SK - although Volkswagen’s shift doesn’t mean other automakers will follow.

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