Batteries électriques : Verkor sécurise 2 milliards d’euros pour créer sa gigafactory de Dunkerque

Rarely has a French industrial project excited investors as much as Verkor, the Grenoble-based startup that develops and produces electric batteries. On Thursday, September 14th, the company announced that it has secured over two billion euros in funding for the construction of its electric battery gigafactory in Dunkirk (North), thanks in part to a capital increase marked by the participation of infrastructure funds and insurers.

Lire aussiFrance celebrates the opening of its first « gigafactory » for electric vehicle batteries, marking a significant step towards industrial revitalization.

These funds consist of 850 million euros in capital – the largest fundraising for a « French tech » startup, according to the Elysée – in addition to 600 million euros in loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and 650 million euros in French public grants, pending approval from the European Commission. In total, 2 billion euros are secured, a record amount for an industrial startup, and this completes the first round of financing for this project, estimated at 1.9 billion euros.

« I cannot reword. »

The Strategic Investment Fund (FSP), which includes seven French insurance companies (BNP Paribas, Groupama, Crédit Agricole, among others), will acquire a stake in Verkor’s capital, ranging from 5% to 10%, according to our sources.

Une mise en production en 2025

Au Fonds Stratégique de Participations, s’ajoutent d’autres entreprises privées dont certains, comme Renault, avaient déjà annoncé leur participation dans le projet un peu plus tôt dans l’année. Le fonds australien spécialisé dans les infrastructures Macquarie et son homologue français Meridiam entrent au capital et deviendront les deux principaux actionnaires de Verkor.

The operation is also marked by the arrival of the maritime transport group CMA CGM (owner of La Tribune). Renault, a supporter of Verkor from the group’s early stages, also participated in the fundraising, but will see its presence in the capital diluted in this new phase, going from 24% to 10%. The diamond-shaped group is expected to retain a seat on the battery manufacturer’s board of directors, according to a source close to the car manufacturer.

Créée en 2020, la startup grenobloise démarrera sa production de batteries électriques en 2025 avec une capacité de 16 GWh dans la gigafactory de Dunkerque. Les travaux de cette vaste usine devraient débuter en 2024 et les premières batteries sortiront de chaîne en 2025. Renault absorbera les trois-quarts de la production pour ses véhicules électriques, soit 12 des 16 GWh par an que produira le site.

Before the first bricks of the Dunkirk site, a pilot factory was inaugurated in Grenoble last June. It will supply the future Alpine brand SUV. The 15,000 square meter site was built for 250 million euros on a former Siemens factory, between the SNCF rails and the Isère river. Dunkirk will be a « 100 times larger replica (of the site) in Grenoble » on a 150-hectare land, according to Christophe Mille, Verkor’s technical director.

Lire aussiRenault unveils its electric Scenic, « made in France, » with SUV-like features.

1.200 emplois à la clé

Ce dernier investissement marque l’attrait des entreprises pour ce projet made in France. Le Directeur général du FSP a déclaré à La Tribune« Il souhaite donner la priorité à l’investissement dans des projets nationaux liés à la décarbonation. En revanche, le directeur général de Verkor a exprimé dans un communiqué : »

« The investment from the Strategic Investment Fund, managed by ISALT, strengthens Verkor’s long-term prospects. With the renewed commitment from our existing partners and the support of new investors like the Strategic Investment Fund, we are more than ever on track to become one of the European leaders in electric battery production. »

The gigafactory project in the North is in addition to those of Stellantis (Douvrin), Renault (Douai), and Taiwanese company Prologium in the Hauts-de-France region. The fundraising of two billion euros will enable the creation of 1,200 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs in Hauts-de-France.

The ecological bonus that will change in January for vehicles with the lowest carbon footprint will consider the place of production of electric batteries. The Verkor project is of great interest to manufacturers for their first lithium-ion battery vehicles made in France. A second gigafactory from the Grenoble-based startup will be established in 2028 and could produce solid batteries, which are touted as a revolution for electric cars.

Comments are closed.