Mining and metals conglomerate, Vedanta Limited has acquired Nicomet Industries limited, a leading Nickel and Cobalt producer in Goa, for an undisclosed amount.
With this acquisition, Vedanta is now India’s sole producer of Nickel. Nicomet assets acquired by Vedanta were under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) therefore CCI (Competition Commission of India) approval was not required.
Importance of Nickel & Cobalt for Battery Manufacturing
Nickel is an important metal for manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and Stainless Steel. Similarly, Cobalt is a key element for lithium-ion batteries for EVs and energy storage systems, besides other use cases such as a superalloy for Steel-making.
India’s demand for Nickel is around 45 KTPA (Kilo Ton Per Annum) which is entirely met through imports. Nicomet at present has a capacity to produce 7.5 KTPA Nickel and Cobalt cumulatively but has been out of operations since 2018.
Vedanta’s Vision Behind Nicomet Acquisition
With rapid adoption of electric vehicles in recent years Nickel and Cobalt have witnessed a surge in demand for battery manufacturing. Increase in the Global Stainless-Steel production in recent years is also contributing to demand for Nickel.
Vedanta in its release said it will start operations at Nicomet’s Goa plant from March 2022. It also said that it has growth plans to meet 50% of India’s Nickel demand in the coming years.
Vedanta’s Chairman Mr. Anil Agarwal said “…Nickel and Cobalt are a metal of great strategic importance, especially for our transition towards clean energy and electric mobility. Currently, India imports 100 percent of its Nickel requirements and our focus will be to boost domestic production that would fuel India’s transition to a net zero economy…“.
Nicomet acquisition for Vedanta is also strategically important as it is expected to strengthen its Iron and Steel business portfolio specially after acquisition of 90% stakes in ESL Steel Limited (ESL) in June 2018.
About Nicomet’s Closed Manufacturing Facility
Nicomet, before closure was a certified producer of high-quality battery-grade Nickel Sulphate crystals used for manufacturing EV batteries. It was also certified with ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) for quality in its Nickel and Cobalt production process. Nicomet currently has no headcount and fresh hiring will take place in order to commence operations at the plant.