SK Ecoplant, the infrastructure division in the South Korean energy conglomerate SK Group, has agreed to acquire 100% of the shares in the Singapore-based e-waste and battery recycling company TES. The total deal is worth $1 billion.
TES is one of the world's largest collector and recycler and refurbisher of electronic waste with operations in 43 locations in 21 countries in Asia, North America and Europe. The company has also invested in battery recycling, primarily in Europe and Asia.
SK Ecoplant was renamed in 2021 from SK Construction & Engineering and has historically had important role in the expansion of the groups different activities. Currently an important focus is battery materials, serving the group's battery manufacturer SK On, which is the 6th largest lithium-battery manufacturer in the world. SK Ecoplant, as well as SK On, has also, expressed a strong interest in battery recycling, to support its cell manufacturing and battery material business.
TES operate today a 5,000 tpa hydrometallurgical plant in Singapore, primarily for LCO batteries from portable electronics, the main feedstock from TES's collection activities. End products are cobalt hydroxide and lithium carbonate which are sold for further refining. The plant is partly based on technology from Recupyl, the French pioneer in lithium-ion battery recycling which TES acquired in 2019. In 2021 the company acquired a permitted facility in Rotterdam where a 10,000 tpa pre-processing plant now is the making. TES has also a facility for the disassembly of EV batteries in Germany and have invested in lifecycle management platform Circunomics and the battery recycling startup Green Lion. TES is also an co-owner of Genplus which is an energy storage company with capabilities and experience from re-utilization of second life batteries.
With TES the global reach and ability to move material from collection to final material recovery will increase significantly for SK. As South Korea is an OECD country it is possible to export and import electronics and e-waste as well as waste batteries and black mass. In the same time SK Ecoplant is building battery material plants in both Europe and the US which might be suitable locations for battery recycling.
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