SEOUL (Reuters) - Robert Bosch and Samsung SDI have signed a contract to form a hybrid electric vehicle battery joint venture to boost their presence in the next-generation energy business, Samsung said on Monday.
The 50:50 joint venture in South Korea is named SB LiMotive and will be launched in September. It will start production in 2010 with initial capital of $20 million, according to a Samsung statement.
A Samsung spokesman said that a minimum of $500 million would be invested in the venture over the next 4-5 years.
Samsung SDI, which produces flat screens and lithium-ion batteries, has focused its energy business on components for mobile goods such as notebook computers, handsets and MP3 music players.
It has already been jointly developing hybrid electric vehicle batteries with a top auto maker and plans to expand its energy business in earnest with the establishment of the venture with Bosch, its statement said.
Samsung has been supplying batteries for electric tools to unlisted Bosch, the world's biggest automotive supplier.
Samsung said the hybrid electric vehicle market would grow sharply, backed by tightened environmental rules and soaring oil prices.
It plans to increase the portion of rechargeable batteries, including lithium-ion batteries, to more than a fifth of its sales by the end of 2008 from 18 percent in 2007.
(Reporting by Kim Yeon-hee; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)