Attero, India’s top e-recycler, will spend $1 billion to expand as EVs take off

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NEW DELHI: Attero Recycling, India’s largest electronics recycling company, will spend $1 billion over the next five years and add factories in Poland, Ohio and Indonesia from this year, said its CEO to Reuters, in a bid to capitalize on the global electric vehicle boom.

The World Bank-backed company, whose clients include Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, also plans to prepare for an IPO in about a year and to list in India or the United States in the next three years. said Nitin Gupta in an interview.

Attero’s goal is to increase its annual lithium-ion battery waste processing capacity to 300,000 tonnes by 2027 from the current 11,000 tonnes, he said, meeting 15% of the global demand for lithium, cobalt and graphite, down from less than 0.1% today.

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“Lithium-ion batteries are becoming ubiquitous in nature,” said Gupta, who founded Attero in 2008 with his brother and made it profitable over the past two years, in an interview.

By recycling these batteries, Gupta said they not only solve a waste problem, but also become “significant players in the materials supply chain by selling green metals without mining the land.”

He said half the cost of an electric vehicle is due to lithium-ion batteries, of which at least 35% of the cost then comes from cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite and manganese.

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Attero’s extraction rate is around 98% and it uses chemical methods instead of the more expensive smelting process that melts some metals beyond recovery, Gupta said. Some of the material it extracts goes to Tesla Inc through Swiss mining group Glencore Plc.

He said the Polish plant in Attero will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2022, in Ohio in the third quarter of 2023 and in Indonesia in the first quarter of 2024. Investments will mainly come from internal accrued liabilities, Gupta added.

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Rivals include Li-Cycle Holdings and Redwood Materials, but could also face competition from established automakers like Nissan that are planning their own battery recycling operations.

Attero employs around 150 people and plans to hire 100 more this year, particularly in Europe and the United States. Gupta said sales are expected to double this fiscal year to about 4.25 billion rupees ($55 million), but declined to share profit projections.

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