SK seeking partners to invest in Latin America

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SK seeking partners to invest in Latin America

SK Group is looking for partners with which to expand its energy and infrastructure investments in Latin America. Korea's third-largest industrial group is interested in the oil, coal-mining and telecommunications industries, Chairman Chey Tae-won said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro yesterday. The group is also looking to set up a semiconductors business in Brazil, he said.

"South America is our next area to target, this market has great potential," Chey said at an event on the sidelines of the Rio+20 conference. "We are pretty much open to any type of partnership or even M&A, but for Latin America, doing business alone, we are not 100 percent confident yet."

SK has businesses including oil exploration and refining, chemicals, telecoms and transportation. The group said in January that it will more than double its investment to 19 trillion won ($16.4 billion) this year from 2011 and hire 7,000 more workers.

In Brazil, SK paid $700 million in 2010 to buy a stake and become the third-largest shareholder in MMX Mineracao & Metalicos SA, the iron-ore unit of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista. In the same year SK Energy, the group's oil refiner unit, agreed to sell a Brazilian unit for $2.4 billion to Maersk Oil. "The pre-salt investment is too big and the returns too long-term," Chey said about the reason for the sale. Bloomberg

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