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German company to join Panasonic mega development in De Soto with $110M battery plant

Kansas City Star
A German company is joining the massive Panasonic development in De Soto, to work on site producing containers for the company’s electric vehicle batteries.

H&T Recharge leaders say the company will be a supplier for Panasonic’s battery plant, working in De Soto through a “factory-in-factory approach.” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced the development this week, saying the company is expected to invest $110 million and create 180 new jobs in De Soto.

“My administration is dedicated to making Kansas the best place for businesses to start or grow,” Kelly said in a news release. “H&T’s decision to co-locate with Panasonic is proof that the work we are doing to attract business is paying off.”

Panasonic recently signed a long-term agreement with H&T to supply lithium-ion battery cans. In De Soto, the company will install four production lines on site at the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, just south of Kansas 10 Highway.

Japanese electronics company Panasonic’s 4-million-square-foot battery plant is under construction, on 300 acres. Officials have said the $4 billion project could result in as many as 4,000 new jobs.

“We’re always happy to see more good jobs coming to De Soto,” De Soto Mayor Rick Walker said in the release. “We’re also excited about the work being done to bring electric vehicle battery suppliers to our area. Keeping the supply chain local not only produces more jobs in the region, it reduces the overall carbon footprint.”

Panasonic received an unprecedented tax incentive package for the project. Kansas officials awarded Panasonic $829 million in incentives from a new program designed for the firm. The state later handed over the Kansas Bioscience Authority building in Olathe, valued at nearly $5 million, to Panasonic for free.

The city of De Soto added another $200 million in local property tax breaks. Johnson County committed $15 million, half for a new fire station near the plant and half for road improvements. And the state transportation department is spending $26 million for infrastructure work.

H&T’s production is expected to begin by the end of March 2025, officials said in the release.

The company has a similar agreement with Panasonic at its battery plant in Nevada.

“We are honored to engage with Panasonic Energy to support the battery cell production in De Soto,” H&T Recharge President Tobias Ott said in the release. “Panasonic Energy is a great partner for H&T, which has over 40 years of experience in the mass production of cylindrical battery cans.”

In addition to Panasonic, development of the former ammunition plant, now dubbed Astra Enterprise Park, is underway. A representative of the development team, Kansas City real estate firm Kessinger Hunter said earlier this month that about 600 acres of land are under final negotiations.

Kansas City-based Savion, LLC, is developing a large solar power facility on more than 2,800 of the acres, which could be completed in 2028.

And the developer is donating nearly 3,000 acres for public benefit, including 2,000 acres to be preserved as park land, with other space going to the new fire station and for De Soto to build a water tower.

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