The plant will be three times the size of Krones’ plant in Debrecen.

The Municipality of Debrecen will soon be able to conclude a preliminary sale and purchase agreement with the South Korean company for the site of the plant.

Deputy Mayor of Debrecen Lajos Barcsa told Radio Europe that a preliminary sales contract for the land on which the company will build its plant in Debrecen could be signed soon. He pointed out that EcoPro BM increased its demand for land and will now purchase 44 hectares in the Southern Economic Zone, instead of the previously planned  34–36 hectares.

The deputy mayor said that the German Krones already has a factory operating in the Southern Economic Zone on 15 hectares.

As announced in December 2021, EcoPro BM, a manufacturer of cathodes for lithium batteries, is to set up its first factory outside South Korea in Debrecen, Hungary. The value of the investment is HUF 264 billion, and it will create 631 new jobs.  It was the second-largest investment in Hungary in 2021 after the investment of South Korea’s SK Innovation.

According to the previous ministry’s statement, 108,000 tons of cathodes will be produced in Debrecen each year, enough to make 1.35 million batteries for electric cars. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2024 and the second phase a year later. The plant is expected to reach full capacity in 37 months. EcoPro BM was the first company in the world to produce cathodes with an 80 percent nickel content, and the Debrecen plant will be the first of its kind in Europe.

Three German companies — Krones, Deufol and Vitesco Technologies — already operate on the nearly 600-hectare site of the Southern Industrial Park, which will soon be expanded. The new logistics center of BHS Trans Ltd. is also there, and Semcorp’s plant is under construction as well. The Chinese company is investing HUF 65 billion to set up a site to produce separator films for electric car batteries, creating 440 jobs. Lajos Barcsa also told Radio Europe that ITK Holding has also bought a site for its larger bus factory there. 

Mayor of Debrecen László Papp said recently that the industrial park could be filled by 2025 or 2026 on the basis of current investors’ interest. Negotiations are currently underway with 50 potential investors, he said. 

The government has allocated a total of HUF 95 billion in two decisions for the further development of the Southern Economic Zone in Debrecen, including the development of the electricity network, the construction of substations and their interconnection, the development of the distribution network, and the construction of the gas supply. Further works include the extension of the capacity of the water supply and sewerage system, stormwater drainage, the construction of a new roundabout junction on the southern bypass (road 481), and the construction of the north-western and north-eastern access roads. 

The Municipality of Debrecen is developing an SME park here too, and state aid will be used for the northern and southern access roads to the SME park, as well as for a road between the SME park and the new roundabout.

The mayor pointed out that the first round of the SME program had been decided. In the first round, 14 companies were selected; 11 will carry out manufacturing activities and 3 manufacturing services, creating 206 new jobs and HUF 10 billion worth of investments in the Southern Economic Zone. They will all have to buy the land from the city.