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BASF says its battery material plant will be running by year-end

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A logo is seen on the facade of the BASF plant in Schweizerhalle

(Reuters) - BASF's new battery materials site in Schwarzheide, eastern Germany, will start production towards the end of the year, it said on Tuesday, as the chemicals group seeks to cater to a growing European electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Under a push to build a global materials network serving the EV industry, BASF has been seeking a string of alliances with cobalt and nickel miners.

That included a 2018 partnership with Russia's Norilsk Nickel in Harjavalta, Finland, which will supply metals to the Schwarzheide site.

"We will ramp up the first facility here towards the end of the year," Chief Executive Martin Brudermueller told reporters after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the production site on Tuesday.

The CEO reiterated that the site will also recycle batteries from electric vehicles that go out of commission.

The battery materials business is one of two major investment projects at BASF. The other is the 10 billion euro ($9.9 billion) construction of a new chemicals complex in Zhanjiang, China.

The group, which plans to cut jobs at its headquarters in Germany, will compete in battery recycling mainly with Belgium's Umicore.

($1 = 1.0133 euros)

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt and Miranda Murray in Berlin; Editing by David Goodman)