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Volkswagen in talks with pre-IPO investors for battery unit - sources

FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen logo is pictured in a production line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg

By Emma-Victoria Farr and Jan Schwartz

FRANKFURT/HAMBURG (Reuters) - German carmaker Volkswagen is holding discussions with investors to join its battery division ahead of a possible partial initial public offering (IPO) of the subsidiary, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The idea is to bring in investors pre-IPO so Volkswagen can gauge how the division - named PowerCo - might be valued in a potential flotation, the sources said, adding that Volkswagen is working with advisers on a potential deal structure.

Initial ideas are being exchanged but deliberations are not yet concrete, one of the sources said.

Volkswagen declined to comment.

Due to the proceeds it received from the successful IPO of its sports carmaker Porsche, Volkswagen does not feel under pressure to raise additional funds for its transformation to electrification, the second source said.

During Porsche's first day of trading Volkswagen CFO Arno Antlitz said the carmaker was considering forming strategic partnerships in the next one to two years as a step towards a possible listing of its PowerCo batteries operation.

Volkswagen has set aside 20 billion euros ($21 billion) for investment in its battery cell business, with the PowerCo unit managing its battery production and research from mining to recycling and projects including energy storage systems.

Former Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess floated the idea of a listing in May last year as a means of funding the carmaker's battery expansion plans.

Volkswagen's US charging station network Electrify America, in which Siemens has invested a low three-digit million amount, could serve as a model for investor participation, the second source said.

In September, Volkswagen announced a joint venture between PowerCo and Belgian circular materials technology group Umicore to establish a large-scale supply chain for sustainable battery materials.

The partnership will invest three billion euros into new production capacities, with the aim of producing battery materials for over two million fully electric cars per year by the end of the decade.

($1 = 0.9653 euros)

(Reporting by Emma-Victoria Farr in Frankfurt and Jan Schwartz in Hamburg, editing by Christoph Steitz and Elaine Hardcastle)