China’s Hailiang, Shinzoom to build auto battery plants in Morocco

By Thomson Reuters May 14, 2024 | 7:27 PM

By Ahmed Eljechtimi

RABAT (Reuters) – Chinese auto battery manufacturers Hailiang and Shinzoom will set up two separate plants in Morocco, as the country seeks to adapt its growing automotive sector to increasing demand for electric vehicles, Moroccan officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities in charge of developing the Moroccan northern industrial zone, Tanger Tech, said Hailiang plans to build a copper plant worth $450 million on an area of 30 hectares.

Shinzoom, part of Hunan Zhongke, will invest $460 million in an anodes plant spanning over 20 hectares, they said in a statement.

In April, the Moroccan government gave the green light for Chinese electric battery maker BTR New Material Group (835185.BJE) to build a factory near Tangier to produce key component cathodes.

Another Chinese manufacturer, CNGR Advanced Material (300919.SZ), is expected to build a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, 100 kilometres south of Casablanca, where the government has allocated 283 hectares to electric battery industries.

Last year, the Moroccan government and China’s Gotion agreed to look into setting up an electric vehicle battery plant in the kingdom with up to $6.3 billion in eventual investment.

Industry minister Ryad Mezzour told Reuters last month the Gotion project was advancing with discussions on the footprint and location.

Chinese firms are lured by Morocco’s geographic location on the Strait of Gibraltar, its free trade agreements with key EU and U.S. markets and its existing automotive industry cluster.

The automotive sector topped Morocco’s industrial exports at $14 billion in 2023, up 27%.

Morocco is home to production plants by Stellantis (STLAM.MI) and Renault (RENA.PA) with an annual combined production capacity of 700,000 cars as well as a cluster of local suppliers.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)