SK may gamble on chip plant in gateway Turkey

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SK may gamble on chip plant in gateway Turkey

SK Group is considering setting up a semiconductor factory in Turkey at the request of Dogus Group, the nation’s top conglomerate.
An SK official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the news to JoongAng Ilbo but said the details have not been finalized.
Turkey has been making efforts to strengthen its chip manufacturing industry since the 1980s but has not achieved significant progress.
According to the official, Dogus Group Chairman Ferit F. Sahenk urged SK Chairman Chey Tae-won to cooperate in the semiconductor business during Chey’s visit to Istanbul from May 30 through Tuesday.
Korea’s third-ranked conglomerate by assets has recently been increasing ties with Dogus. The two signed an MOU last week to raise a private equity fund (PEF) worth $100 million.
Dogus Group owns 126 subsidiaries across seven business sectors: financing, automobiles, construction, media, tourism, real estate and energy.
If the plan comes to fruition, SK Hynix, the group’s new semiconductor unit, will gain an advantage in advancing into the European market, with Turkey as a gateway. The subsidiary does not operate a plant in Europe.
SK and Dogus agreed to invest $50 million each in a PEF, which will invest in various businesses ranging from communications to energy infrastructure.
“The two agreed on a PEF as these are easier to handle than other funds,” the official said.
The two groups also inked a deal to create an e-commerce venture after they agreed to collaboration on an Internet business at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
“We hope SK and Dogus build a sincere partnership for a win-win situation,” Chey said.
Sahenk said the agreement will also bolster bilateral ties between Korea and Turkey.
SK is also ramping up investments in its development of overseas resources. The group announced yesterday that it signed a contract to acquire a 37.5 percent stake in the Barossa-Caldita gas field in the Australia’s Northern Territory for $310 million. The price could reach $520 million if SK buys another 12 percent stake after test drills are conducted. This would represent the biggest investment in a single gas field in the group’s history.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics said yesterday it will spend 2.25 trillion won ($1.9 billion) building a production line for system semiconductors. This will be the first investment among Korean chipmakers in the non-memory chip sector in seven years and the first in two years in Korea’s chip-making industry.
Including costs for facilities, the total investment is estimated to reach 4 trillion won.
The new production line is expected to produce 30-millimeter (1.18-inch) wafers and mobile application processors using 20- and 14-nanometer processing methods.

By Lee Soo-ki, Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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