Ontario Minister Touts Interest From “More Than Half A Dozen” Battery Makers After Trade Mission

Ontario is currently in talks with at least six EV battery manufacturers as a result of a trade mission to Germany and Austria led by provincial minister Vic Fedeli.

“We have more than half a dozen battery makers looking at us right now,” says Fedeli. “Any manufacturer who is either making battery electric vehicles now or making batteries now, or, is looking to make batteries are all prospects for us.”

Fedeli did not disclose the names of the firms the ministry is supposedly in negotiations with. However, the government website highlighted in its update that the delegation did hold talks with with BMW Group, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Magna Stevr, Kapsch, and ElringKlinger.

The delegation of the provincial ministry of economic development, job creation and trade spent most of its time in Baden-Württemberg, Germany’s automotive powerhouse. The German state is the third-largest economy in the country, with a GDP of $750 billion.

In order to demonstrate continuing collaboration and support, the province renewed a memorandum of understanding with Baden-Württemberg during the trade mission.

While there were heightened interest from German and Austrian firms, Fedeli underscored that he cautioned interested investors not to delay their investment.

“It’s like a carousel going around and when it stops, not everybody is going to have a horse, so, you better get to Ontario,” quipped Fedeli. “Better do your deals with mineral producers, better do your deals with the refineries and let’s get you going here.”

Ontario vs. the US; Moody’s vs. ESG

The ministry’s delegation aimed to reaffirm Ontario’s commitment to firms already in business with the province but it was also to court automakers who haven’t.

“I think there was a monumental sound of shifting, backed up by our critical minerals and our ecosystem that companies know they can go into. I was very blunt in our comparisons with other jurisdictions,” said Fedeli. “Yes, there may be some attractions south of the border; I’ll call them shiny baubles. [But] I think we shifted a lot of companies to looking at Ontario versus the U.S.”

One of the key selling points of the province is the disruption in the supply chain amid the geopolitical struggle by the east and west.

“There’s a lot of pressure with the war in Ukraine and the sourcing of materials from China. Almost every company talked about the tumultuous world that we’re in right now and Ontario being a sea of calm — stable, reliable, predictable, certain,” added Fedeli. “We really found that was underlying an important factor.”

Fedeli also highlighted the firms’ interest on how the locations will help serve their environmental and sustainability goals, especially for firms in Germany, which is pivoting even further to become a world leader in emission reductions and emissions accountability.

“They all acknowledged somewhat that their ESG rating could become even more important in time than their Moody’s rating,” says Fedeli. “It was really a startling point.”

Over the previous two years, multinational automakers and EV battery manufacturers have invested $16 billion in Ontario. Ontario is now the only place in North America where vehicles are manufactured by five major automakers: Honda, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

In 2021, trade volume between Ontario and Germany totaled $12.7 billion while trade with Austria was valued at more than $1.1 billion. There are around 260 German companies and 32 Austrian companies operating in the province.

Information for this briefing was found via Electric Autonomy and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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