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Samsung SDI posts earnings surprise in Q1

April 28, 2022 - 15:35 By Lee Ji-yoon
Attendees look at a Samsung SDI battery pack for electric vehicles displayed at the InterBattery exhibition in Seoul in March. (Bloomberg)
South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI on Thursday reported its best-ever quarterly earnings for the January-March period, with sales exceeding 4 trillion won ($3.1 billion) for the first time.

In the first three months of this year, revenue surged 36.7 percent from a year prior to 4.04 trillion won, while operating profits more than doubled to 322.3 billion won.

Despite supply chain disruptions and rising materials costs, the company said it could offset the impact by selling more value-added products such as its high-performance Gen.5 battery for electric vehicles whose production started in the third quarter last year.

“When it comes to EV batteries, the Gen.5 battery drove up sales. Sales of ESS (energy storage systems) slowed down somewhat due to seasonal factors, but those for households and UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) with higher profitability helped elevate overall sales,” said Michael Son, senior vice president for Samsung SDI’s strategic marketing team, during a conference call earlier in the day.

Son offered a positive outlook for the second quarter, saying electric vehicle battery sales will continue to grow on strong demand in key markets. He added the firm is also starting to secure orders for the upcoming Gen.6 battery whose production will start from 2024.

“The Gen.6 with a 10 percent higher energy density than the Gen.5 will drastically reduce the charging time,” he said. “We are in talks with several carmakers to supply the battery for their planned high-performance EVs.”

The firm is also ramping up efforts to speed along the mass-market debut of solid-state batteries for EVs that are considered to be the next generation of batteries -- cheaper and more powerful -- which would greatly reduce the electric vehicle prices ultimately.

“We plan to start operating the pilot production line within the first half of next year, advancing the timing of the mass-production earlier than market estimates,” Son said.