SK Innovation plans Hungary plant

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SK Innovation plans Hungary plant

SK Innovation is investing nearly 1 trillion won ($894 million) to build a new battery plant in Hungary and will spin off its materials business as a new company in a move to reposition itself from its established refining business.

The SK affiliate announced Wednesday that it will spend 945.2 billion won on a second electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Komarom, Hungary.

Construction is expected to start in March, with mass production to begin in early 2022. The new plan adds on to SK’s ongoing construction of a 7.5-gigawatt-hour battery plant in the area.

The company explained in a statement that the new plant will strengthen its position in the European auto market, which has an edge in the auto industry’s move toward electric vehicles.

SK Innovation also said that it plans to create a new subsidiary for its electronic materials business. The company produces parts essential for electronic devices such as lithium ion battery separators and transparent polyimide films, used in flexible mobile phone displays and expected to roll out en masse this year with the large-scale introduction of foldable phones.

The decision for the spinoff will be finalized at a shareholder’s meeting in March.

If approved, the new company will join five others under SK Innovation, such as SK Energy and SK Global Chemical, which represent its petroleum and chemical businesses.

“The additional investment into the battery business in Europe and independent operation of the materials business … will lead the company to capture industrial competitiveness and improve its value,” said SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun.

The refiner’s latest move follows announcements earlier this year that it will focus on new businesses.

Last month, the company outlined plans to reach 60-gigawatt-hour battery production capacity by 2022 at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show held in Las Vegas.

SK Innovation also signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. Georgia State Gov. Brian Kemp on Jan. 4 to build a 9.8-gigawatt-hour battery plant in the state. Mass production for the factory is planned to start from 2022.

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