Masan Group seeks Germany's support for further development of high-tech materials

By Minh Huy   November 15, 2022 | 12:00 am PT
Masan Group CEO said he expected Germany government to facilitate investment in renewable technology at the Vietnam - Germany Business Roundtable on Nov. 13.

"As one of the leading private sector groups in Vietnam, Masan actively seeks and develops relationship with major partners worldwide in the fields we do business," said CEO Danny Le at the roundtable in the presence of Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Hanoi.

Le said Masan first established relationship with German businesses in 2013, when the group was seeking tungsten refining technology to fulfill commitment to the Vietnamese government on raising the value of Vietnam's industrial minerals.

Masan chose to partner with H.C. Starck GmbH (HCS) as the company was a leading business in Tungsten refining and recycling technology in Germany with over 100 years of experience, as well as one of the few companies in the world with a comprehensive and environment-friendly tungsten recycling platform.

In 2020, Masan acquired a full 100% stake in H.C. Starck’s global tungsten business. This €80 million transaction allows Masan to officially take over H.C. Starck's tungsten manufacturing plants in Germany, Canada, and China with a total capacity of about 13,300 tons of high-value products, making Vietnam the world's largest tungsten producer outside China.

The acquisition of H.C. Starck’s tungsten business has helped Masan expand its market and client base to more than 50 countries, affirmed Vietnam's competitiveness in the international tungsten market and uncovered possibilities to train and develop technical expertise in Vietnam's high-tech materials industry, Le said.

Masans manufacturing plants in Germany. Photo by Masan

Masan's manufacturing plants in Germany. Photo by Masan

Tungsten recycling plant

Germany is currently Vietnam's major trading partner in Europe, an important gateway for Vietnamese exports to other European markets. Annual bilateral trade reached an average of US$9-10 billion from 2017 to date, particularly $11.22 billion in 2021. Vietnamese firms have 36 valid investment projects in Germany as of October 2022, with a total adjusted investment capital of more than $283.3 million.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said German corporations and businesses are increasingly interested in Vietnam, particularly in the fields of renewable energy and manufacturing industry. He suggested that the two countries' businesses shake hands in order to collaborate and grow together to strengthen these fields.

Le of Masan said: "In light of the global trend of accelerating a circular economy to achieve sustainable development goals, and on the basis of the success of the tungsten refining project using high technology, Masan together with H.C. Starck go on to conduct research and planning for construction of the first tungsten recycling plant in Vietnam. The project aims to make Vietnam the region's leading technology center for recycling tungsten and precious metals, thereby reducing reliance on primary raw materials from mining activities."

At the business conference, Le also shared about the recent news of H.C. Starck’s investment of GBP 45 million in Nyobolt, a fast-charging Lithium-ion battery technology company in the United Kingdom. Nyobolt’s technology employs H.C.

manufacturing plants in Germany

Masan Group CEO, Danny Le. Photo by Masan

Starck's uses high-tech tungsten materials in the battery anode coating to produce batteries of superior quality. Tungsten-based lithium-ion batteries have super-fast charging speed - 90% in less than 5 minutes.

With up to 10 times higher power density, the battery has longer durability and saves cost of battery usage. Having less thermal stress than conventional graphite-based batteries, there is a reduced risk of fire and explosion, thus increasing safety for end-users.

"By 2027, Masan will not only be the world's leading supplier of high-tech materials, but also an innovation leader in the global consumer technology products, with high-efficiency rechargeable Li-ion battery being the first-to-market," Le said.

He proposed that the Germany hovernment consider an energy cost support scheme for energy intensive businesses like H.C. Starck and adopt a more flexible policy approach enabling greater accessibility to strategic raw materials sources critical to HCS’s Tungsten recycling technology in Germany.

Masan Group also seeks the Vietnamese government’s support in reviewing and approving of the import of tungsten scrap to ensure stable raw material supply for the tungsten recycling project - a key project that the group expects will turn Vietnam into the region's leading technology center for recycling tungsten and precious metals, thereby reducing reliance on primary raw materials from mining activities.

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