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Chinese battery firm CALB leads new foreign investment in Portugal

The massive 2-billion-euro factory being built by China Aviation Lithium Battery will be the company’s first in Europe.

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PUBLISHED

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ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

A planned lithium battery factory in the port of Sines leads a raft of new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects secured by Portugal in 2023. The 36 projects will net the country over 2.7 billion euros and are part of the largest influx of such investment in Portugal since 2016.

China Aviation Lithium Battery (CALB) will invest 2 billion euros in the state-of-the-art factory – its first in Europe. Set to begin production in early 2026 with an initial annual capacity of 15 GWh, it will expand in 2028 to 45 GWh, with the possibility of doubling capacity in a third phase. Although US and UK enterprises are investing in more projects, CALB’s factory accounts for nearly 75 percent of Portugal’s latest round of FDI.

CALB is the seventh largest supplier of electric car batteries in the world – according to 2022 data – and the new factory is an important part of its plan to become one of the top three, with a total global capacity of 1,000 GWh by 2030.

[See more: BYD holds talks with Brazilian lithium producer]

Filipe Santos Costa, head of Portugal’s investment and trade agency AICEP, said the CALB plant is an example of the “big investments” the country is pursuing, which “can have more impact and a greater multiplier effect” on the national economy.

The CALB factory is one of 14 industrial new projects expected to generate a total of 3,555 jobs, with another 3,255 jobs created at service centres. CALB alone expects to employ 1,800 people at its facility. 

Portugal, Santos Costa explained, is focusing on the development of three key sectors: automobiles (“with emphasis on electric mobility”), life sciences and agro-industry.

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