The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) has bought convertible notes worth US$400 million in European lithium-ion gigafactory firm Northvolt.
IMCO’s investment was announced today (20 June) and sees the pension fund become the latest in a long line of investors in Northvolt totalling over US$8 billion in debt and equity.
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The convertible note is a debt instrument that can convert to equity on pre-agreed terms. Northvolt raised a comparatively larger, US$1.1 billion one this time last year, talking of “cautious capital markets” in comments provided to Energy-Storage.news.
Northvolt is building numerous lithium-ion battery production facilities, including cell production, cathode production, recycling and an energy storage system (ESS) assembly facility. The company completed construction on the latter, in Poland, earlier this year, and started shipping its first battery cells from Sweden last year.
The company is targeting mainly the EV market as well as the ESS space, and has also been developing more niche solutions like large EVs (trucks etc) as well as aviation battery systems.
The announcement did not mention an IPO, but there are strong rumours the company has been in discussions this year about a public listing which could value it at more than US$20 billion.
There were also reports in May that Northvolt is eyeing Canada as a possible site for its first North American gigafactory, which Energy-Storage.news has asked the company to comment on and will update this article in due course.
The company’s management said in November communicated some doubts over whether its third gigafactory, Northvolt Drei in Germany, would go ahead, due to high energy prices. National subsidies agreed since have helped the company ultimately decide to press on according to reports.
This is within the context of the US’ Inflation Reduction Act drawing investment interest away from Europe’s lithium-ion ecosystem, as reported extensively by Energy-Storage.news. As of very recently, the US now has more planned production capacity than Europe, a far cry from the situation one year ago.
The Northvolt deal is not IMCO’s first foray into energy storage in Europe. It acquired UK developer Pulse Clean Energy (called Green Frog Power at the time), one of the most active in the country’s battery storage space, in 2021.