SK is now the No. 2 chaebol by market capSK Group has cemented its status as the No. 2 market-cap conglomerate in Korea on a surge in prices of shares in its recently listed biopharmaceutical unit, a market tracker said Tuesday.
The combined market capitalization of SK's listed subsidiaries came to 120 trillion won ($100.3 billion) as of Friday, up 136 percent from the end of 2011, according to FnGuide.
SK follows Samsung Group, whose total market value soared 115.2 percent to 480 trillion won over the cited period. Samsung's flagship is Samsung Electronics, the world's top memory chip and smartphone maker.
SK is expected to see its market value make another leap thanks to its bio units as it did after the takeover of SK hynix in 2012.
The market value of SK hynix has risen nearly three times to 62 trillion won from 13 trillion won over the cited period.
SK Group's market capitalization overtook LG Group's in 2013 thanks to SK hynix's steady growth. At the end of 2017, SK's market cap exceeded 100 trillion won, leapfrogging automobile giant Hyundai Motor Group to become the No. 2 market-cap group.
Market watchers said SK Group's biopharmaceutical units are likely to take a leaf from the book of SK hynix, boosting the conglomerate's total market capitalization.
At the vanguard of SK Group's sharp market-cap growth is SK Biopharmaceuticals, which made its debut on Korea's main bourse on July 2, becoming the largest initial public offering of the year.
As of Monday, SK Biopharmaceuticals' market cap reached as high as 15 trillion won as investors rushed to snap up its shares on news that the company has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell its new drug directly in America.
Vaccine maker SK Bioscience, SK's other bio unit, is also drawing attention from investors in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as it has been trying to develop a vaccine.
In particular, SK Bioscience has gotten a boost from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' mention of the company in his recent letter to President Moon Jae-in.