Belgian government acquires five per cent share in Umicore

The Belgian government has acquired a five per cent stake in the materials specialist Umicore through the Federal Holding and Investment Company (SFPIM). The company reported this in a statement on Monday.

According to Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo (Open VLD), the investment "is part of a broader strategy of participations with a view to employment, innovation and geopolitics. We must not be naive and must safeguard our interests."

The company is betting on battery production to play an essential role in the global electric car market. "It is crucial that we keep that in Belgium," said the De Croo.

Umicore has a recycling plant in Hoboken and is planning a billion-dollar investment in a new battery recycling plant. Because of its proximity to Hoboken and the port, Antwerp is a logical choice, however, the French government has been lobbying for the plant to be placed in the northern part of their country. As a shareholder, the Belgian government may be able to weigh in on the decision. The entry of SFPIM also makes the group less vulnerable to a takeover, according to analysts.


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