SK Innovation is ramping up investment in electrical vehicle (EV) battery production plants as it is determined to foster EV batteries as a new growth engine.
The company set up three overseas subsidiaries for battery production in the first quarter of this year. It established SK High-Tech Battery Materials Poland in January in order to build a battery separator plant in Poland. In the same month, it launched SK Battery America to build a battery plant in the United Sates. SK High-Tech Battery Materials Poland and SK Battery America are 51.2 billion won and 14.6 billion won in book value, respectively. When these two plants go into full operation, their book value figures are expected to surge.
In March, SK Innovation established SK Battery Manufacturing, a battery production company in Hungary. In April, SK Innovation spun off SK IE Technology that produces lithium-ion battery separators (LiBS) and flexible cover window (FCW) film for foldable displays. The move was designed to sharpen its competitiveness in the battery business.
SK Innovation is also accelerating its move to secure human resources to operate these factories. SK Innovation's workforce totaled 1,965 employees in the first quarter, up 270 from a year ago. Industry watchers say that SK Innovation recruited many workers in the electric car battery sector.
SK Innovation is employing a “win-order-first-and-expand-plants-later” strategy. Battery supply volume by SK Innovation will expand as well. SK Innovation is currently operating only the Seosan plant in Korea whose production capacity is 4.7 GWh. In 2022, the company will be able to supply 60 GWh batteries per year by starting the operation of its plants in Changzhou in China, Komarom in Hungary and Georgia in the United States.
SNE Research said SK Innovation placed ninth in global battery supply volume in the first quarter of 2019 and would break into the global top five in 2022 if its plant expansion is completed. "SK Innovation is rapidly transforming itself from an oil refining and petrochemical company to an electric car battery company," said an official in the electric car battery industry