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UPDATE 3-Sweden's Northvolt raises $2.8 bln to supercharge EV battery output

* Placement led by Swedish pension funds, Goldman, VW

* Northvolt has raised more than $6.5 bln in total

* CEO flags potential IPO plans in the future

* Battery makers seeking to keep up with growing demand

* Targets 150 GWh by 2030, with next plant in Germany (Adds CEO comment, background)

STOCKHOLM, June 9 (Reuters) - Lithium-ion battery maker Northvolt has raised $2.75 billion in equity to expand capacity at the factory it is building in northern Sweden to meet increasing demand for electric cars.

Northvolt said the private placement, one of the biggest in Europe, was led by four Swedish pension funds and OMERS Capital Markets, alongside existing investors Goldman Sachs and Volkswagen, with other shareholders also participating.

The latest fundraising values Northvolt at $11.75 billion, a source familiar with the matter said.

Chief Executive Peter Carlsson told Reuters that while a stock market listing to raise more cash could be on the cards, there was currently no timetable for an initial public offering.

“We now have sufficient firepower for some time but over time with our growth ambition or financing need, to be in the public market is going to be required,” he said in an interview.

Battery makers are scrambling to keep up with demand as carmakers switch to electric in order to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions. Global sales of electric vehicles are expected to rise by about 70% in 2021, after reaching nearly 2.5 million in 2020, research firm IHS Markit forecasts.

This has prompted been a rush among investors into the electric vehicle sector, driving up the valuations of pioneering companies such as Tesla and Lucid Motors.

TESLA CONTACT

Carlsson said Northvolt was in talks with companies across the auto industry about new partnerships, adding that it had been in contact with Tesla, but declined to give more details.

Northvolt plans to start production later this year at its factory in the city of Skelleftea. The new cash will be used to raise capacity to 60 gigawatt hours (GWh) from 40GWh.

“Northvolt has now raised more than $6.5 billion in equity and debt to enable an expansion plan leading up to and beyond 150 GWh of deployed annual production capacity in Europe by 2030,” Northvolt said.

Northvolt, which aims to take on Asian players such as CATL and LG Chem and targets a 25% market share in Europe by 2030, announced an order worth more than $14 billion from Volkswagen in March.

The German carmaker is Northvolt’s biggest shareholder, with a stake of around 20% stake in the Swedish firm.

Northvolt, which has secured more than $27 billion in contracts from customers such as BMW, Scania and Volkswagen, expects to build at least two more plants in Europe over the next decade, and is looking at locating the next one in Germany. (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Supantha Mukherjee; Editing by Niklas Pollard, Jan Harvey and Alexander Smith)

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