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Exclusive: GM, LG Chem to announce EV battery joint venture in Ohio - sources

Exclusive: GM, LG Chem to announce EV battery joint venture in Ohio - sources
FILE PHOTO: The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan October 26, 2015. Photo taken October 26. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook   -   Copyright  Rebecca Cook(Reuters)
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SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Motors <GM.N> and South Korea’s LG Chem <051910.KS> are set to announce on Thursday a 50:50 joint venture in Ohio to make electric vehicle batteries, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The facility, expected to be located in the Lordstown area, will see investment of more than $2 billion with GM and LG Chem expected to invest more than $1 billion (779 million pounds) each, one of the sources said. The venture is likely to be signed on Thursday, the sources said.

A GM spokeswoman declined to comment on a venture with LG.

“Talks occur on a regular basis in the auto industry between a variety of partners on different topics, but as a matter of policy we don’t discuss who, where or when those discussions might occur,” she said.

An LG Chem spokesman declined to comment, saying the company did not comment on matters related to customers.

The sources declined to be named because the investment had not been made public.

Sources previously said the battery plant would be a joint venture, where the workers are expected to be represented by the United Auto Workers union and earn in the range of $15 to $17 an hour.

A GM-LG plant could be the first unionised battery factory in the United States. Tesla’s factory and LG Chem’s battery factory in Michigan do not have unions.

Ohio has become a lightning rod in the 2020 presidential election after GM announced in November 2018 its plan to close a car manufacturing plant in Lordstown, drawing condemnation from U.S. President Donald Trump.

The plant’s closure was one issue during a lengthy strike by GM workers.

GM said in September it planned to bring battery cell production to the Lordstown area, which it said would create about 1,000 manufacturing jobs.

Reuters first reported in July that LG Chem was considering its second U.S. factory with production slated to start in 2022.

LG’s second plant would make modular batteries for multiple GM vehicles, including a future Cadillac EV, the second person said.

Last month, GM sold its shuttered Lordstown Assembly plant to a start-up that has an ambitious plan to begin building electric pickup trucks by the end of 2020.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang in Seoul; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Stephen Coates)

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